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

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Broad's Lapdog, Steve Barr, Gets the Call to Start in Duncan's Billion Dollar No-Bid Game

Sharon Higgins has it at Perimeter Primate. Here's a clip, but don't stop with this:

The latest to come out is an article in The New Yorker about Green Dot Public Schools and its founder and chairman, Steve Barr. The piece was written by Douglas McGray of the New America Foundation, a D.C. based policy institute which includes education reform as one of its key issues. Green Dot was founded in 1999. In 2006, billionaire philanthropist Eli Broad gave Green Dot $10.5 million to open up 20 more schools. It currently operates 18 high schools, mostly in L.A.

Years ago, Barr became friends with Reed Hastings, the founder of Netflix.
Hastings funded Green Dot’s launch. Hastings also helped to start the New Schools Venture Fund, an organization which additionally received $22 million from the Gates Foundation in 2003 to “create systems of charter schools through nonprofit charter management organizations.”

Hastings and Don Shalvey are the co-authors of the California Charter School Initiative introduced to the legislature by Assemblyman Ted Lempert and signed into law in 1998. This repealed the 100-school limit of
California’s 1992 charter school legislation. With the cap raised for the number of charter schools in California, Hastings and Shalvey then co-founded Aspire Public Schools and started engaging in even more pro-charter activities.

Steve Barr calls Shalvey one of his “Most Influential People,” along with former California Governor Pat Brown. Incidentally, Barr named one of his dogs “Jerry Brown.” Other connections are that Broad and Hastings donated generously to State Superintendent Jack O’Connell’s campaign, and that Jerry Brown set up two charter schools in
Oakland early during his tenure as mayor, Oakland School for the Arts and the Oakland Military Institute. He continues to aggressively advocate for these two schools and keeps them pumped up with extras. I’ve heard enough at Brown's public appearances to know that he despises the form of Oakland's traditional public schools.

According to the McGray article, this past March,

… Barr got a call from the new Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan. He [Barr] flew to Washington, D.C., at the end of March, for what he expected to be a social visit. At the meeting, Duncan revealed that he was interested in committing several billion dollars of the education stimulus package to a Locke-style takeover and transformation of the lowest-performing one per cent of schools across the country, at least four thousand of them, in the next several years. The Department of Education would favor districts that agreed to partner with an outside group, like Green Dot. "You seem to have cracked the code," Duncan told Barr.

And according to the New Yorker’s abstract

This month, Barr expects to meet with Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers (A.F.T.), and her staff and outline plans for a Green Dot America, a national school-turnaround partnership between Green Dot and the A.F.T. Their first city would most likely be Washington, D.C.
But now let’s turn to basketball. . . .

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