A few days ago, a news outlet in St. Louis received a copy of an e-mail sent by Imagine Schools CEO Dennis Bakke. The letter, addressed to the other high-level Imagine employees, detailed Dennis' take on the role of school boards. I received the same letter about a month ago, sent from an anonymous source, but couldn't get Imagine to confirm or deny the legitimacy of the piece. Mr. Bakke makes it quite clear that Imagine - not the community - owns the schools, and the various school boards can only vote "yes" for the for-profit CMO's proposals.
Here's the e-mail, with my bolds (full e-mail posted by St. Louis Post-Dispatch):
Turns out it's real. Very real, and very concerning. But there's more to this story than just an e-mail.
Imagine's CEO and founder Dennis Bakke, (he was founder and CEO of energy giant AES prior to his endeavor into education) is also the author of a book called, "Joy at Work," which claims to revolutionize the workplace. Bakke's philosophy goes something like this: people generally do not enjoy their jobs, employees are afraid to take risks at work, bosses are too controlling, and all this does not fit with the Biblical version of work. I'm serious.
Here is one clip from Mr. Bakke's website:
So, Dennis, the $230 million Imagine Schools made in profits this year was all about principles, not about the money? In another video from Mr. Bakke's site, you can hear the preacher - I mean CMO head - claim, "Every individual is supposed to be a decision-maker" - well, except when they're on one of Imagine's local school boards.