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

Saturday, November 07, 2009

CEO Pay in Charter School Chains

I happened to see a clip of a peppy-looking, sharp-dressing, blonde-hair-blue-eyed savior of public education, a woman known as Deborah Kenny, CEO of the Village Academies Network, Inc. Let's just say it sparked my ire, and I did a little peeking into Doctor Kenny's cash cow, her charter school network. Let's start in 2005-2006:
Not too bad for Dr. Kenny. Yes - thats $180,000 in pay and $14,533 in benefits. On to 2006-2007:
Cha-ching! Now there's some real dough - we're getting close to 400k. And 2007-2008:

Nearly 420k as CEO. Not too shabby, eh? What else happened in 2007-2008? According to the 990 forms filed by VAN, the non-profit began subcontracting:
Those are "independent contractors" hired by VAN. Civic Builders is a nonprofit "developer of charter school facilities," and they've taken money from, among others, the Gates/Broad/Walton/Fisher-backed NewSchools Venture Fund. School Choice Investment LLC is in the CMO game as well, I'm assuming as a for-profit, and they have a remarkably uninformative website. 4th Sector Solutions is a "business management organization," a title coined by the company's founder and CEO Joe Keeney, a former President of Edison Schools (he had other roles at Edison as well). Keeney had this to say about his former employer:
“Edison was and is a very successful company,” Keeney said. “They’ve been on the cutting edge of education reform.” [2theadvocate.com, June 1, 2008]
But Innovative Philanthropy LLC was the biggest winner of the Village Academies Network, pulling in nearly $100,000 in 2007-2008.
Here's the clip of Deborah selling her school while gettin' nice and rich off her "no excuses" bootcamp for poor kids. It's pretty sad when this is held up as a shining light of education reform. There's plenty of fearmongering, Bloobmberg/Klein a**-kissing, and praise for Obama "for saying all the right things."


  1. What a hoot. This is what passes for journalism at MSNBC. I particularly like Mica Bryzinski talking about no social promotion everybody can make it even if they don't have a connected daddy. I think she should have scored a big interview with her dad, the former secretary of state. A bunch of rich people talking about education who wouldn't think of ever going into a class if it wasn't a thirty second walk through. You can tell if the school is good just by walking through. Maybe in the future they'll be able to tell if the kids are getting a quality education by standing outside a building with a diving rod.

  2. The MSNBC video is hugely deceptive. It starts by showing headlines from the NY Times about NY State's lack of progress on the math NAEP – which calls into question the State's alleged progress on the state exams. Then Joe Scarborough goes on to say “but not all the news is bad". He describes how at this charter school, the Harlem village academy, all 8th grades scored proficient in math. At the same time, there is a graphic displayed with the name of the school pasted on a blackboard with the “the Nation’s report card” at the top, implying that these results were on the NAEP, stating that the students at this school scored at 100% proficiency in math compared to 34% in the nation . Yet the 100% mark for the charter school were the results on the NY state exam – which the Naep results had just been shown to be hugely inflated! And the 34% is the national average for proficiency on the NAEP.

    Whether this deception was promulgated by Kenny or was just sloppy reporting on the part of MSNBC, who knows. But at no time did Kenny try to correct the misimpression created by the remarks by Joe Scarborough.