"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Pioneering Privatizer to Mediate DC Teacher Talks

Michelle Rhee's choice to mediate negotiations in her ongoing campaign to to de-professionalize teaching in DC? Former Baltimore mayor (and Yalie), Kurt Schmoke, who pioneered mayoral autocracy and privatization of public schools during his 1990s tenure as Baltimore's mayor. With so many poverty-related problems facing Baltimore residents then and now, Schmoke focused on school privatization as the solution, preferring to bring in Education Alternatives, Inc. under a no-bid contract to manage nine Baltimore schools:
A University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) evaluation of the EAI experience found that "the management expertise that the private sector should be able to bring to bear on a public enterprise has not been sufficient for the expected level of transformation of the [EAI] schools in Baltimore City."

. . . .University researchers evaluated seven EAI-managed schools and seven "matched" public schools. Williams, L.C., and Leak, L.E. The University of Maryland Baltimore County evaluation of the Tesseract Program in Baltimore. Baltimore: Center for Education Research, University of Maryland Baltimore City, August 1995.
Yes, EAI could efficiently provide pencils and paint, but the only gains they could achieve were in the stock prices of EAI, Inc., whose stockholders made a killing during the 3 year experiment.

So now Mr. Schmoke is Dean Schmoke of Howard Law School, and he will be the "neutral" mediator in the DC teachers' union talks, which are holding up the current privatization plan that uses the Trojan horse charter schools to do exactly what Schmoke wanted to get done in Baltimore fifteen years ago: privatization.


  1. Unlike Edison Schools, which also achieved no academic success but also no financial success! Aside from that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the show...?

  2. Anonymous1:32 AM

    This is good information to know. Our Executive Board met with the AFT President about this mediation and a different point of view other than the one you shared was offered. This is why blogs are important and I love the diversity of opinion. I know teachers in Baltimore who also share your analysis of the situation. I am concerned as an officer, and wtu member what are the parameters of the Schmoke agreement, costs, timeframe, etc. I brought those issues to the forefront at the meeting. I will continue to press this matter. Your entry is extremely helpful.

    Nathan Saunders,
    General Vice President
    Washington Teachers' Union



    Last year, I was at Harvard law School graduating from the Harvard Trade Union Program. I fell in love with Cambridge. My apartment overlooked the peaceful and serene Charles River from 3rd Street. Your Cambridge address gave me some good flashbacks.