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

Friday, July 29, 2016


By Doug Martin 
In my book Hoosier School Heist, I expose the Mind Trust, formed by once Democratic mayor of Indianapolis Bart Peterson and his charter school director David Harris.  I have also written on the Mind Trust spin-off formerly known as CEE-Trust (and its ties to Bill Gates, George Bush, and Joe Klein), which now goes by the name Education Cities and is operating in at least 24 cities

Before doing a recent NAACP Indy panel on ALEC, the Mind Trust, and school privatization a few days ago, I decided to peek into what Education Cities has been up to. Here are just a few things I found. 

Besides having the Mind Trust’s David Harris and Earl Martin Phalen and corporate school grandfather Howard Fuller (a BAEO/Edison connected operative who played a role in school privatization in Indiana and Philly) as board members, the Mind Trust spin-off Education Cities is being funded by well-known school privatization billionaire organizations like the Walton Foundation, the Dell Foundation, the Gates Foundation, the Kauffman Foundation, and the foundation started by Eli Broad, the Broad Foundation. 

The Broad Foundation is noteworthy because of recent events. 

Started by Obama supporter Eli Broad, the Broad Foundation placed its members in Arne Duncan’s Dept. of Education.  Broad, as my book mentions, gave former Indiana supt. of public ed. Tony Bennett a $50,000 campaign gift back in the day.   

Broad is also funding Hillary Clinton’s campaign. As Nancy Bailey a short time ago wrote

Education Week recently compared the education platforms of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.  Under “choice,” they mention that Hillary Clinton upset some charter advocates last fall when she stated that they didn’t serve all students.

The Wall Street Journal reported that one education reformer troubled by her comments was Eli Broad. Broad is currently on the move to make all Los Angeles public schools charters. And it is stated that he threatened to withdraw campaign funding if Hillary Clinton didn’t retract her claim—which she did.

In fact, Eli Broad's cozy relationship with the Clintons goes way back, as Ken Derstine highly details is his excellent piece, "Eli Broad and the Clintons: Update of the Update.

Education Cities is in Massachusetts, too.  The Center for Collaborative Education, which is now carrying the corporate agenda’s water, announced a while back that it had “been designated as an ‘Emerging Harbormaster’ by the Next Generation Learning Challenge and Education Cities to launch a new Personalized Learning Network in Massachusetts.”

Next Gen.’s ultimate goal, which the Mind Trust with Bill Gates’ help has been pushing for years, is to turn schools into complete online learning hubs with a few teachers babysitting students. 

Along with the Gates Foundation and the Ford Foundation, the KnowledgeWorks Foundation—another online-school promoting group--funneled $31.5 million into Ohio in 2002.  

In Cincinnati, Education Cities is represented by Accelerate Great Schools, a private-public set-up which includes the KnowledgeWorks Foundation, the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, the Cincinnati Regional Business Committee,  the Cincinnati Public Schools, the Farmer Family Foundation, and the Haile U.S. Bank Foundation

The Cincinnati Regional Business Committee, in 2013, handed Teach for America, the temporary corporate-led teacher group, $300,000, with the Haile U.S. Bank Foundation adding another $20,000 in 2014 and $25,000 to TFA in 2015.

In 2014, Haile also gave the hedge fund-led DFER and Education Cities-affiliated Bellwether Education Partners (a group highlighted in my book Hoosier School Heist) $21,600 for its Cincinnati High Performing Schools Accelerator, which follows the corporate school model to a tee where, as my book shows, the fake progressives, Big Business, and the Catholics and often the Christian Right join hands to put a big dent in public education. 

Corporate school reformers like to swoop into poor cities, promise a moonshot, and set the neoliberal disaster capitalism dominos in place for complete privatization.   Cincinnati is a waiting victim, where 50% of the children live in poverty.

Who is heading the Cincinnati show?  Patrick Herrel, a former Teach for America recruiter and past vice president of recruitment for The Mind Trust, was picked by the corporate powers-that-be in 2015 to lead the Accelerate Great Schools.  (To see how Herrel supports Gates’ public money heist for online learning charter schools, see page 38 in my book.)  

One board member of the Accelerate Great Schools is Cintas’ Scott Farmer (the son of one of George Bush’s 15th largest fundraisers in 2000) , whose Cintas, according to Forbes, was being investigated by the U.S. Inspector General for violating in 2006 “the federal False Claims Act when it tacked millions of dollars in ‘environmental fees’ on uniforms, mops, mats and towels it cleaned for the [U.S.] postal service as part of a ten-year, $200 million contract.”  

The U.S. postal service “dropped its pursuit of recovering $816,733 in October” 2007 because the Justice Dept. decided not to file criminal charges.  

Forbes also notes that in 2001 an Alabama Circuit Court lawsuit claimed “similar charges on customer invoices were bogus. That suit, originally seeking $175 million, was settled for $14 million. Cintas has stopped imposing such fees.” 

Hoosier School Heist is filled with similar stories, the private-public nightmares you hardly ever read about in newspapers.  The kind the Mind Trust/Education Cities crowd hope you never catch wind of.

As the author of  Hoosier School Heist,  Doug Martin’s research has been used by or referenced in Salon, Alternet, the Washington Post, the Associated Press, PBS, and newspapers and radio shows across Indiana and America.  His newest book project deals with Big Pharma, Big Medicine, the Cancer Industry, hospital fraud, and nursing home and health care corruption in Indiana.


  1. Hillary Clinton has had a relationship with Eli Broad going back to when Bill Clinton was Governor of Arkansas. It has deepened over the years. See "Eli Broad and the Clintons" http://tinyurl.com/hfnagu4

    1. Thanks, Ken! Yes I was just thinking of your excellent piece. I am going to reference it in the article above now. Sorry I forgot to mention it the first time.

  2. Yuk Yuk Yuk on that long time relationship with Bad News Broad!

  3. Got it added above. Thanks, Ken! Excellent work.

  4. For background on Howard Fuller see: "Corporate Education Reform and Civil Rights"

    1. Thanks, Ken! I will add this link, too. I have a lot on Fuller in my book.

  5. I am late to your blog and comments, but thanks for unraveling the connections of Education Cities and unfolding events in Cincinnati so thoroughly and with superb research. I live in Cincinnati and have been doing research on the Phalen, Mind Trust, Fordham in working to make "any operator" eligible for funds that should be reserved for public schools, not private contractors. I am aware of the end game of the Accelerator, essentially a privately operated and parallel system of privatly managed contract schools that will not only suck money from the public schools but also undermine the authority of elected school boards in many matters. I especially appreciate your linking the names of the key players here to national election politics and bundling money. With your permission I would like to extend the circulation of this post.