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

Friday, August 03, 2012

Christie Bows to the Billionaires: Public Schools to Go the Highest Bidder

Through filing of a FOIA request, the Education Law Center in Newark has obtained the Broad Plan for privatizing schools in New Jersey where least resistance will be offered--poor schools.  The plan is being passed around by Cerf's henchmen in the Ed Department, as they try to stay ahead of legislation that could put restrictions on this planned economic bonanza for Wall Street aspirants who are not smart enough to operate there, but not dumb enough to miss out on a feeding frenzy if the Christie/Broad alliance holds.  From NJPR: 

The New Jersey Department of Education is moving forward with a reform plan for the state’s lowest performing schools by using private money from a California-based foundation [Broad].
The proposed plan calls for school closures, state operation of failing schools and elimination of union representation in schools that do not improve after sustained efforts to raise student performance. . . .
The plan is very similar to the one being finalized in Tennessee and other states with legislators for sale, whereby the most vulnerable schools in the state will be gobbled up by the Achievement School District, an enterprise run at the state level for turning urban schools over to corporations.   Local pols can avoid the angry questions by parents, and the State can blame federal requirements under Race to the Top.  Duncan, in turn, can blame teachers, parents, and children for not accomplishing what poverty disallows.
Here is the beginning of a piece from Reuters today that examines the economic bonanza awaiting the billionaires and their yes men, the same ones now infiltrating school systems across New Jersey and paid for by tax dollars.  
Aug 1 (Reuters) - The investors gathered in a tony private club in Manhattan were eager to hear about the next big thing, and education consultant Rob Lytle was happy to oblige.
Think about the upcoming rollout of new national academic standards for public schools, he urged the crowd. If they're as rigorous as advertised, a huge number of schools will suddenly look really bad, their students testing way behind in reading and math. They'll want help, quick. And private, for-profit vendors selling lesson plans, educational software and student assessments will be right there to provide it.
"You start to see entire ecosystems of investment opportunity lining up," said Lytle, a partner at The Parthenon Group, a Boston consulting firm. "It could get really, really big."
Indeed, investors of all stripes are beginning to sense big profit potential in public education.
The K-12 market is tantalizingly huge: The U.S. spends more than $500 billion a year to educate kids from ages five through 18. The entire education sector, including college and mid-career training, represents nearly 9 percent of U.S. gross domestic product, more than the energy or technology sectors.
Traditionally, public education has been a tough market for private firms to break into -- fraught with politics, tangled in bureaucracy and fragmented into tens of thousands of individual schools and school districts from coast to coast.
Now investors are signaling optimism that a golden moment has arrived. They're pouring private equity and venture capital into scores of companies that aim to profit by taking over broad swaths of public education. . . .


  1. Anonymous9:23 PM

    This has been the plan since the beginning. #1. Denigrate teachers and blame them for the "failures" of public education. #2. Misrepresent the facts about public education. Make the public think that all public schools are failing. #3. Bust the unions. This is still going, but she be accomplished by Value-Added testing, etc. #4. Convert public schools to charter and sell these schools, etc...Get to that money! This is a pretty simple plan, and it is sad that it has worked so well in America. This crap could never happen in country like Germany. The public over there is simply too smart for this corruption. Welcome to the new Dark Ages America! I suggest that the younger teachers move to countries more based on logic and reason. Things aren't going to get better over here any time in their lifetimes.

  2. Let's not forget Cory Booker, whose Zuckerberg largess, which makes the "public" schools beholden to private interest, is part of the movement to foster unnatural and unintended connections between public education and private money, which answers to no one.