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

Monday, May 04, 2009

KIPP Houston's Chief Corporate Welfare Schemer

There is something at KIPP for every oligarch, whether conservative or liberal. For neo-lib oligarchs like Gates and Broad, there is the minority melting pot angle, where children of the poor are stripped of their cultural connections to take on the uniform of corporate culture, grounded in the glassy-eyed and sunnyside optimism guaranteed by the Seligman happiness treatment. And then there's plenty, too, for the right-wing oligarchs like the Waltons and "chief growth architect" of the Houston KIPP Miracle, Leo Linbeck III, who see in KIPP the chance to train children away from their families and values, which they view as petri dishes for socio-cultural pathologies, all the while indoctrinating them in behavioral codes grounded in compliance and subjugation and guaranteed by, yes, the same Seligman happiness treatment.

Caroline Grannan has a piece on growth architect and wingnut, Leo Linbeck III. Charming:
. . . .In his spare time, Linbeck is an adjunct business prof at Stanford and Rice universities, along with his activities building the KIPP empire. From his bio: "Leo is also very involved with KIPP, one of the most successful public charter school programs in the U.S. He has been the "Chief Growth Architect" at KIPP: Houston, leading the development of a plan to grow to 42 KIPP:Houston schools in the next 8 years."

Jesse Alred, a veteran Houston teacher whose questions about Teach for America I posted a few days ago, told me about some of Linbeck's interesting nuggets of political wisdom.

"Mr. Linbeck co-founded the Free Enterprise Institute," Alred told me by e-mail. "This group holds well-funded conferences trying to bringing high school teachers together with conservative scholars. I attended one my second year of teaching for the free food, and they were promoting the idea that government intervention contributed to and prolonged the Great Depression."

Alred shared some Linbeck wit and wisdom with me -- commentary Linbeck has posted on the Belmont Club, an online discussion group of Houston conservatives. It's political commentary, it's free speech and I respect that. Some of it is eye-catching, though.

"Should Obama win and enter Washington as Napoleon entered Moscow, the question is how our nation will respond. If we leave our nation to the conquering hero, it will most assuredly burn - figuratively, and perhaps literally as well. ...

Most of us still believe that America truly is a shining city on a hill, and we work hard to preserve this vision in our hearts, our families, our local communities, and our nation.

Admittedly, Obama and his Democrat allies in the Congress can encourage us to abandon our dreams. They can attempt to tax, regulate, and muzzle dissent, hoping to gain more control over us. They can loosen the bindings that tie our fates together, hoping that when left to our own devices we will be too weak to respond to their challenges. They can divide us into castes, and pit one group against another, hoping that our energies will be expended upon each other instead of true reform.

Speaking only for myself, I am preparing not for abandonment, but for a siege. It is inevitable that Democrats, once in total control, will overreach and awaken the spirit of our Founders that lives within the hearts of all true conservatives. At that point, the pushback will come.

But this time, rather than pushing for a takeover of Washington to get our share of the spoils, we must use our power to eliminate the spoils."


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