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

Monday, February 18, 2013

Corporate Welfare King, Reed Hastings, Offers Up Another Hollywood Propaganda Film Promoting Corporate Ed Deform

It's fronted by Reed Hastings and called House of Cards, which would a perfect title if it were about the underpinnings of corporate education reform, but, alas, it is not.  Clips from MinnPost:
. . . According to Ed Week, the fictional version is a cudgel with which Francis “Frank” Underwood pummels those who get in his way: “Denied a nomination to be secretary of state by the president-elect, Underwood channels his ambitions toward passing a major education bill, the Education Reform and Achievement Act.” 
Apparently the ERAA is indeed ripped from the headlines, albeit headlines most frequently published by scandal sheets like Ed Week. Underwood and his foes debate “testing frequency, teacher evaluation, seniority-based exemptions on value-added measurements, financing of non-public schools, and accountability for charter schools [and] an amendment that would strip federal school funding from any unionized districts.”. . . .Beau Willimon, the playwright who adapted “House of Cards” from a British show of the same name, apparently tweeted that he made education and its reform the show’s central polemic because the former affects everyone and the latter is “contentious.” 
A different hypothesis 
In the article’s comments thread, “Django” offers a different hypothesis: “Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix … is deeply invested (literally, lots of $$$) in education reform. Former chair of the California State Board of Education. Investor in Rocketship charter schools and Dreambox, their for-profit side. Donor to anti-teachers union causes. Investor in the New Schools Venture Fund, EdVoices. Founder of an elitist charter school in CA. Member of Obama's inner advisory circle on education issues.” 
(Is this true? You may decide for yourself.) 
Follows run of 'Won't Back Down' 
“House of Cards” was released just as “Won’t Back Down,” the movie about a mother and a teacher who team up to save the moppets in a gulag-like inner city school, mercifully disappeared from the local multiplex. The film’s promoters cagily created the impression that its breathless action was inspired a real-life turn of events in which parents take over the hellhole and turn it around. 
The real-life turn of events never happened, not even close. There are, however any number of politicos and groups that would like to see the passage of “parent-trigger” laws. One of the policy’s advocates bankrolled the film, in fact. 
I’m sure it’s available on Netflix. Stream at your own risk.

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