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

Thursday, April 26, 2012

"Support Our Schools" Astroturf Group Rallies With Letter Writing Campaign to County Commissioners

The shenanigans going on this spring in Knoxville, TN, offer a powerful case study of corporate control of schools in action.

A few weeks before Eli Broad's East TN transplant, Jim McIntyre, delivered his State of the Schools speech in January of this year, a new grassroots astroturf group was formed to push the Broadie budget plan once it was presented by McIntyre.

The group, Support Our Schools, is headed by Virginia Babb, who is one of three paid staffers for a corporate foundation in Knoxville known as Great Schools Partnership, which has a disproportionate number of Pilot Oil surrogates (including Governor Haslam) and a short list of other Business Roundtable corporate mainstays on its partner list:

AHB Foundation
Bill and Crissy Haslam
B&W Y-12
Choice Data
Clayton Family Foundation
Clayton Homes
Cornerstone Foundation
Covenant Health
Elgin Foundation
First Tennessee Foundation
Haslam Family Foundation
Home Federal
Jimmy and Dee Haslam
Knoxville News Sentinel
Steve & Mary Ellen Brewington
Pilot Oil
Regal Entertainment
Rich Ray
Scripps Networks Interactive
Sherri Lee
Thompson Charitable Foundation
Tim Williams
The first public meeting of Support Our Corporations, er, Schools on January 11 was prominently covered, before and before and after by the Knoxville News-Sentinel, which is a Great Schools partner, too.  Imagine that!  In fact, the KN-S editor-in-chief, Jack McElroy, was in attendance on January 11.  

Now the astroturf Support our Schools is flooding Knox County Commissioners with form letters in support of the Broad budget plan sent over from LA and delivered by McIntyre.  The same astroturf group posted an op-ed on April 22 at, where else, the News-Sentinel, which enumerated all the potential beneficiaries of the requested budget increase.
However, the op-ed does not mention the fact that 27 of the 35 million dollars will go to pay for a bonus pay plan based on test scores, a plan that has a proven track record of failure in ChicagoNashville and New York

When will the real public start calling County Commission and the School Board?  

Has the School Board been bought with Broad money, too?

Contact the County Commission and let them know that the McIntyre plan is unacceptable until the $27 million dollar pay for test scores plan is stripped out and replaced with budget items that have a proven research record of success, rather than demonstrated records of failure.

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