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

Saturday, November 15, 2014

IPS, Marian, and the Free-Market Jesus

by Doug Martin

With the hedge fund Democrats for Educational Reform’s Mary Ann Sullivan, the Marian Academy for Teaching and Leadership-trained LaNier Echols, and others mentioned in my book Hoosier School Heist now on the IPS School Board, the profiteers are gearing up to cash in on even more tax money in Indianapolis.  On Tuesday, the IPS School Board will vote on placing Marian University –trained leaders in various schools in Indianapolis. 

Marian and IPS leaders plan a $2 million deal with Marian University’s Marian Academy for Teaching and Leadership to train up to 90 “school leaders” in three years for IPS.  IPS will pay $50,000 yearly to the program, which will run from January 2015 to December 2018,  The rest of the money will come from unnamed private investors.

Marian University’s Academy for Teaching and Leadership has been funded and supported by shady millionaire-sponsored school privatizing groups from day one.  The Kern Family Foundation started the funding for the Marian leadership program and worked hand-in-hand with the Sagamore Institute, a group promoting school privatization and religious work which used to be led by Mitch Daniels’ sister. 

I wrote about the Kern Family Foundation several years ago.  Based in Waukesha, Wisconsin, the Kern Family Foundation is the product of Robert and Patricia Kern, owners of Generac Power Systems, a generator company. The Kern Family Foundation has pumped money to the Black Alliance for Educational Options (BAEO), Betsy DeVos’ Alliance for School Choice (which, in turn, bought Indiana Republican lawmakers), and several other corporate school reform projects. It is also known for Friedmanite Greg Forster’s directed American History, Economics, and Religion grant program supporting free-market, religious indoctrination with the American Enterprise Institute.  In laymen terms, the Kern Family Foundation is a  right-wing Christian, free-market Jesus propaganda machine which has played a national role in in corporate/theocratic/work force training school reform movement for years.

And let's not forget:  Marian University is ran by Dan Elsener, a state board of education member, former employer of Tony Bennett's wife, and past worker for millionaire Christel DeHaan whose charter school's grade was changed by Tony Bennett. 

If all of this is not enough to send warning signals to IPS teachers, parents, and students, Marian Academy later picked up support from the George W. Bush Institute’s Alliance for Reform in Educational Leadership, which promotes the school privatization agenda nationally, as well. 

The IPS/Marian/private $2 million program is vague in the least.  Here are a few things the plan doesn’t answer:

1.  It does not say how student learning and achievement gains are going to be assessed.  Will this include more testing? 
2.  How is teacher effectiveness going to be assessed and what specific formula will be used in the IPS/Marian plan?   

3.  In the IPS/Marian document, discipline assessment is mentioned on several occasions, but there are no details on what specific discipline is going to be assessed and if the data will be broken down by race, sex and income.  

4.  With the tracking of new data which the IPS/Marian plan calls for, will students, parents, and teachers' personal information be protected?  Will parents be able to opt out of data collection on their children?

Cash-strapped IPS doesn’t need to join a Catholic university program supported by right-wing free-market millionaires.  If IPS leaders need trained, do it in-house.  IPS parents, students, and teachers should be outraged that IPS is even considering handing over money to a Catholic University ran by Dan Elsener, one of the main players behind the corporate/theocratic assault against public education in this state. 

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous5:18 PM

    It's a huge bed that these people share. Any district that sleeps with Daniel Elsner or Caitlin Hannon and their supposed LOVE of education is as blind as the Emperor without his clothes. The sham thrust upon the unknowing public by these people and the institutions they represent are mind-blowing to those who have watched them erode teaching and learning in Indiana over the past 8 years. The new IPS Board Members are following a path that those who believed in their pure desire to keep IPS from continuing to be a third-world school district, has been misplaced trust. So, so sad on all levels.