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

Friday, January 22, 2010

Philanthrocapitalists Go Hollywood With Production of "Waiting for Superman"

As a not-so-subtle, though unconscious?, reference to the good ole' days that led up to the rise of national socialism, the new documentary, Waiting for Superman, features a number of Superman wannabes, including KIPP cult leaders Feinberg and Levin, Michelle Rhee, Bill Gates and Eli Broad's boy, Steve Barr. And how well the film's poster inadvertently captures the venture philanthropists' self-imposed blindness to America's urban devastation in favor of a more lucrative focus on producing white-like compliant children whose psychological bubbles are bathed in a sweet incandescence from above that is worthy of a Microsoft ad. Nothing can stop you, boys and girls, if we can find the right superman to inspire you and to get your mind right. Onward, positive psychology soldiers!

The film is executive produced and financed by Participant Media, which was founded by venture philanthropist and former Ebayist, Jeffrey Skoll. Participant Media's current CEO is Jim Berk. Who is Jim Berk? Well, his recent job history, anyway:

Prior to Participant, Jim was Chairman and CEO of Gryphon Colleges Corporation, where he was responsible for the formation, platform acquisition and establishment of a private company operating for-profit post education schools.

At the Waiting for Superman website, here are the ways that are bulleted for you, the wet-eyed movie watcher, to get involved to make it all better for the poor children in the penal pedagogy urban schools. The list ranges from giving pencils to the poor to book donations to joining the PTA (a favorite of Bill Gates who has given generously to PTA) to visiting Arne Duncan's propaganda site (#4):
  1. Join your local PTA

  2. Fund specific school activities and supplies

  3. Help donate books to kids

  4. Check out how the U.S. compares to other industrialized countries

  5. Text POSSIBLE to 44144 for campaign updates

There is nothing here about electing politicians whose education positions are not written by the Business Roundtable or about advocating for rebuilding our public education system, or for fighting to integrate our schools, or for rebuilding our rotting physical plants, or encouraging and rewarding our teachers, or for ending the genocide of testing and containment.

From PR Newswire:

. . . .The new film, developed, financed and executive produced by Participant Media, examines the crisis of public education in the United States through multiple interlocking stories – from a handful of students and their families whose futures hang in the balance, to the educators and reformers trying to find real and lasting solutions within a dysfunctional system.

The documentary features several leaders in the field of education, including philanthropist Bill Gates of The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; President and CEO of the Harlem Children's Zone in Harlem, New York Geoffrey Canada; Chancellor of the Washington, D.C. public schools Michelle Rhee; Knowledge is Power Program Founders (KIPP) David Levin and Mike Feinberg; and President and CEO of Manchester Bidwell Corporation Bill Strickland.

Six-time Grammy Award-winning recording artist, concert performer and philanthropist John Legend composed the end title song 'Shine'. Legend's own Show Me campaign uses education to break the cycle of poverty through sustainable development at the individual, family, and community levels.

Said Paramount's Goodman: "Our commitment to this movie and the issue of education is urgently important to all of us at Paramount. In collaboration with our partners, we hope to bring about a real solution."

Said Davis Guggenheim: "With these two great partners, Participant Media and Paramount Pictures, we have a chance to create public awareness around this issue, and this is the only way we can make real change in our children's schools."

Said Jim Berk, CEO, Participant Media: "The movie creates an emotional personal connection to an issue which underpins the very future of our country. . . .
Yes, the very future that is waiting for the children of the poor who make it through the testing and containment camps that the Supermen want to manage--at public expense, of course:

SAN FRANCISCO -- Gryphon Investors announced today that it has completed the acquisition of Delta Educational Systems (Delta) through Gryphon's post-secondary education platform, Gryphon Colleges Corporation (GCC). Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Delta operates 16 accredited career colleges located in Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. The schools offer students courses in allied health, business, cosmetology, information technology, legal, and vocational trades through five well-established regional brands, Career Technical College, The Creative Circus, McCann School of Business & Technology, Miami-Jacobs Career College and Miller-Motte Technical College. McCann, Miami-Jacobs and Miller-Motte have each been providing students with high quality education for over ninety years.

Gryphon Colleges Corporation was formed at the end of 2004 by Gryphon Investors through the acquisition of National Career Education (NCE), a four campus school company located in Arizona and California. . . .

1 comment:

  1. Paul A. Moore2:33 PM

    The US government has been hollowed out during the rise to absolute power of the corporations. Elections have become an elaborate “reality show” that plays out on corporate television for viewers entertainment. If you watch FOX, your reality is filtered through Rupert Murdoch’s Newscorp, NBC is General Electric news, CNN is Time/Warner news, ABC brings you into Disney’s world, and Viacom regularly checks the iconic CBS news department to make sure Edward R. Murrow is still dead. That is when Viacom is not preparing America’s youth for slavery and death through MTV and B.E.T.

    The actual counting of the American people’s votes is done by the corporations—giant defense contractor United Technologies recently moved to take the job off Diebold’s hands. Corporate sentinels, the lobbyists, roam the halls of government enforcing discipline among their hired hands, allowing the most servile to feed longest at the public trough. So the Congress has not passed legislation and the Supreme Court has not decided a case, in which significant wealth was involved, in favor of the people in thirty years. Each and every decision of US government now transfers wealth from the people to the corporate masters.

    The corporations now have in their sights the last remaining institutional pillars of American democracy. The Business Roundtable, the Gates Foundation and the Walton Family Foundation have been working mightily to crash the public schools. Wall Street was funding the effort to gain control of the Social Security trust fund for its investment bankers until they recently cut to the chase and just made the whole US Treasury their own. And the corporate gang is intent on “starving the beast” or killing state and local governments. Their success in this effort is probably best expressed in Hawaii where the number of days children spend in school has been paired from 180 to 163, and in Detroit where teachers will give $500 a pay period back to the state, and in New Orleans where there are only a handful of public schools left, and in the states from California to New York to Florida where public school budgets have been slashed to the bone.

    Then finally, there is the most ominous development of all. The corporations have begun forming their own Praetorian Guard. The massacre of Iraqi civilians and the patrolling of the hurricane ravaged streets of New Orleans have made Xe, formerly Blackwater Worldwide, formerly Blackwater USA, the most famous of the rising corporate armies. Contrary to any notion of cost effectiveness, mercenaries protect US State Department personnel in Iraq instead of the regular military. It seems not to make sense, unless the corporatocracy is looking ahead to a day when they can no longer trust the US military to carry out attacks on an American people’s resistance.

    Paul A. Moore