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

Thursday, April 10, 2014

America's Top Corporate Education Welfare Queen, Joanne Weiss

Joanne Weiss is an active exemplar for corporate welfare exploitation in education.  Just a few years ago, she moved from a tech firm to become COO for the New Schools Venture Fund, which grew to be a massive slush fund for vulture philanthropists, following Bill Clinton's undercover operation that made it possible to earn really big bucks by backing charter schools and other ed industry bad ideas:

Thanks to a little discussed law passed in 2000, at the end of Bill Clinton’s presidency, banks and equity funds that invest in charter schools and other projects in underserved areas can take advantage of a very generous tax credit — as much as 39 percent — to help offset their expenditure in such projects. In essence, that credit amounts to doubling the amount of money they have invested within just seven years. Moreover, they are allowed to combine that tax credit with job creation credits and other types of credit, as well collect interest payments on the money they are lending out — all of which can add up to far more than double in returns. This is, no doubt, why many big banks and equity funds are so invested in the expansion of charter schools. There is big money being made here — because investment is nearly a sure thing.
Then in 2009 Weiss was named to oversee Team Obama/Gates Race to the Top, a REALLY big slush fund used to bribe states to adopt corporate education reform's agenda, which demanded state commitments to bigger data collection capacity and teacher evaluation schemes that be impossible to maintain without more tech toys to manage the the flood of surveillance data on kids and teachers.

And now with the path cleared away for a high tech assault on the weakened body of public education, Joanne has pivoted to take on a number of projects that will use her connections in and out of government to help corporate welfare investors find new prey, acting always as that great "vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money" (Taibbi, 2009).

One of Joanne's new projects will be with a new total surveillance educational data management startup, BloomBoard, where she will smooth the way for 1) Cloud based data collection and storage [all you need is PC and a Web connection], 2) professional development pieces and evaluation rubrics for charter CEOs who don't know what those words mean, and 3) lesson plans for corporate missionaries who have never taught.  And at BloomBoard they are hiring!:
If you want to invent what’s possible in the rapidly-growing EdTech sphere and be part of a transformative industry, we’d love to get to know you already. Scale systems and build a product that millions of educators the world over could benefit from. Work with a diverse team in a fast-paced environment, collaborating with colleagues who are professionals and thought leaders in the education, technology, and business spaces. We also have the support of premier education investors, including Learn Capital, Imagine K12, and Birchmere.

1 comment:

  1. In his book "The Art of Being Unreasonable" Eli Broad describes a close relationship with Bill Clinton. He says he knew him since he was Governor of Arkansas when Clinton helped Broad in a failed attempt to take over a financial services company called Baldwin United, talks about visiting the White House and talking all night with Clinton until dawn, and has been a participant in Clinton's Global Initiative since 2006. At Barack Obama's first Inauguration Ball in 2008 the Clintons shared a table with the Broads. http://tinyurl.com/msgqh87 (view all five slides)

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