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

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Turnaround Millions, Mass Insight, and Scrubbed Websites

When the corporate tutoring piece (Supplemental Services) was inserted into the NCLB legislation in 2001, Sen. Judd Gregg, who was Bush's chief water carrier, sought to rally the privatizers, who were distraught that school vouchers had finally been banished from the Bill:
Conservatives were angry and disappointed that school vouchers had once more been stripped out, but Gregg and others remained optimistic that in subsequent reauthorization of NCLB in 2007, vouchers would be an easier sell based on the private tutoring precedent and the anticipated failure rates on state assessments. The failure rates would provide the documentation to soften, and eventually eliminate, public resistance to school vouchers and private management companies. [Elizabeth] Debray quotes a Senate aide, who preferred to remain anonymous, on Gregg’s selling of the supplemental services compromise in March 2001:
“[Senator] Gregg was explaining why they [other Republican senators] should vote for the bill . . .and he said, ‘Well, the supplemental services are a foot under the door for vouchers. They’re going to show that these schools aren’t working properly, and we’ll finally be able to show that the schools aren’t doing well. The assessments are going to prove the same thing (p. 96).’”
A foot in the door for vouchers? Not quite. A foot in the door for segregated corporate charters? You bet. And now with reauthorization talk heating up on NCLB, the Duncan, Broad, Walton, and Gates team of insiders are lining up to take their millions for being experts in designing the grants, writing the grants, funding the grants, and implementing the grants from RTTT. This is setting up to make corporate tutoring and Reading First look like small potatoes when it comes to the education corruption derby.

A few days ago Russo had this:
Will turnarounds be the new supplemental services? I sure hope not. But there aren't a lot of folks out there who can do a turnaround (or want to), and meantime there's an awful lot of new money pouring in before much groundwork has been done in terms of proven models and reliable providers. On Tuesday, six states (Colorado, Delaware, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, and New York) signed onto a three-year, $75-million effort organized by the School Turnaround Group at Mass Insight Education & Research Institute. That's money in addition to the RTTT dollars, the i3 money, and the school improvement funding that's coming down the pike.
And when Sharon H checked out the Mass Insight website, she found this list of illustrious sponsors:

Leadership Sponsors of MassInsight:

1. Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

2. Barr Foundation

3. The Boston Foundation

4. National Math & Science Initiative: Exxon Mobil Corporation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Michael & Susan Dell Foundation

5. Nellie Mae Education Foundation

6. NewSchools Venture Fund

Mass Insight Board of Directors

1. Mr. Frederick Breimyer, Regional Economist, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation

2. Dr. Carole A. Cowan, President, Middlesex Community College

3. Mr. William Guenther, President, Mass Insight Education & Research Institute

4. Mr. R. Jeffrey Lyman, Esq., Partner, Goodwin Procter LLP ("At Goodwin Procter, you'll find a collective determination and an entrepreneurial spirit. We're business-oriented lawyers equally comfortable in the boardroom and the courtroom.")

5. Mr. Richard W. O’Neill, President & Founder, Renaissance School Services, Inc. (Renaissance School Services, "a leading service provider in school turnaround, charter school operations, and research" was founded in 2006 by Richard O'Neill, a former General Manager and Senior Vice President at Edison Schools, where he built, developed, and operated schools K-12 in the eastern half of the United States.) And we know how well that went.

My, my. What a small world of fat leeches. And in case you are checking, the Mass Insight website is down this morning--for early spring cleaning, no doubt.

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