Thank you to Stan Karp and the Education Law Center for keeping a close watch on the liars and thieves who profit at the expense of the poorest children and communities in New Jersey. The privatizers and profiteers can no longer hide behind "no excuses" and "no child left behind" because thanks to the brave teachers in Chicago the conversation has changed and the genie is out of the bottle. I suppose they aren't privatizing in Philadelphia either where they just gave the Boston Consulting Group the green light to line up private vendors willing to replace the School District’s unionized blue-collar workforce at a $50 million discount.
At a rowdy community forum in Jersey City last night, parent and community activists challenged NJ education commissioner Chris Cerf over administration policies that promote the privatization of public education. Cerf said the charge is 'palpable, absolute nonsense,' but the record says otherwise.
“The notion that there is some group of corporate, you know, kingpins out there who are lurking in an effort to conspire to take over … is just nonsense,” Cerf said. “It is palpable, ridiculous nonsense that someone has sold you.” Cerf added: “I am embarrassed to the degree to which that has taken hold … it is just not so.”
Ten Ways Christie/Cerf have promoted privatization in NJ public education
Expansion of publicly funded but privately run charter schools
Private funding of public policy functions and agency services at NJDOE
Support of for-profit virtual charters
Support for vouchers, using public funds to pay private tuition.
Urban Hope Act to allow private firms to build and manage public schools
NCLB waiver proposal for commissioner takeover of individual schools with option for private management
Contracting out review of NJ charter applications to pro-charter advocates
Massive deregulation of NJ education code, including elimination of class size limits, equity mandates and increased deregulation of private schools.
Expanding the use of private funds to hire consultants and fund merit pay proposals in state takeover districts.
The policy context for privatization
N.J. hedge fund leaders create group to financially back education reforms supported by Gov. Christie
Joanne Barkan, Dissent
Valerie Strauss, Washington Post
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.