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

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Race to the Top and the Politics of Corruption

Arne Duncan became Secretary of Education because of his fealty to the corporate education reform agenda that he nurtured and learned under in Chicago. When it was time for Arne, as Secretary, to announce the leader for the $4.35 billion bribery fund known as Race to the Top, the Oligarchs chose Joanne Weiss, COO and Partner of the New Schools Venture Fund--a vast web of corporate and corporate foundation cash strategically invested in the cause of privatizing education, all the while collecting huge tax credits for all that generosity by these vulture philanthropists. Duncan said:
"Joanne will help us push a strong reform agenda that is entrepreneurial in spirit, providing carrots and sticks, to change the way we do business, and fundamentally turn around underperforming schools in ways that last for decades," Duncan said.
Now when tiny Delaware submitted its RTTT grant application, a Boston non-profit corporation, Mass Insight, was instrumental in helping Delaware to develop its school turnaround plans. Mass Insight's favorite turnaround model is the same one that Arne and Billionaire Boys' Club prefer:
The consequences for failing to reform test scores will have more bite. The state is going to create a team to oversee these schools, with leadership coming from Mass Insight Education & Research Institute, a Boston group that favors replacing the staff and leadership when overhauling a failing school. Mass Insight, which receives funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, among other corporations and educational reform partnerships, supports the type of reform model that led to the recent firing of the principal and teachers at Rhode Island's Central Falls High School.

The Rhode Island district's move also won praise from Duncan and Obama.

In the coming months and years in Delaware, there will be penalties -- including loss of funding -- for schools that fail to improve, according to the state's Race to the Top application.

Previous attempts at school reform in Delaware were unsuccessful because they focused on changing programs, said Justin Cohen, the president of Mass Insight. Research has shown that to make a change there needs to be far-reaching staffing changes, he said, but school leaders have historically chosen the "path of least resistance.
Now where do the geniuses at Mass Insight get their piles of non-profit to help states develop plans that the judges really like? Well, they happen to get their sponsorship from the same people who wrote the Race Rules and whose COO is, indeed, the Race Director:

Leadership Sponsors

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Barr Foundation

The Boston Foundation

National Math & Science Initiative

Nellie Mae Education Foundation

Just continue to follow the money. This race to the trough will make the Reading First crooks under Bush look like dopey Boy Scouts.

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