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

Sunday, June 24, 2018

A $100 Million “Secret, Bipartisan Political Plan” to Privatize the Public Sector


from Wrench in the Gears
June 24, 2018

I travelled to Washington, DC on Thursday June 21, 2018 with fellow activist Ismael Jimenez, an acclaimed teacher of African American history at Kensington CAPA High School in Philadelphia, PA. A week earlier the search engine gods had serendipitously delivered up an Eventbrite link for the launch of the Social Impact Partnerships to Pay for Results Act Fund (SIPPRA), “Pay for Success: Making the New $100 Million Fund Work to Improve Lives.” How could I not go?
SIPPRA was incorporated into the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, signed by Trump on February 9, 2018. The legislation allocates $100 million in federal funds to held by the Secretary of the Treasury for outcomes-based payments tied to Pay for Success contracts. It also establishes a Federal Interagency Council on Social Impact Partnerships and a Commission on Social Impact Partnerships.
I compiled a list of elected officials who sponsored or co-sponsored the federal legislation in the House and Senate here. Pennsylvanians should know that DFER (Democrats for Education Reform) Congressman Dwight Evans was a co-sponsor, as was former Congressman Patrick Meehan. I don’t think it is any coincidence that former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge’s merchant banking firm, Ridge-Lane, issued a press release touting their expansion less than a week later. The firm has positioned itself as offering advisory services in education, real estate, IT, and sustainability at the “apex of the public and private sectors.” Clearly they feel the Pay for Success, P3 era has arrived.
Tweets with the hash tags #PayForSuccess and #SIPPRA give a sense for how promoters viewed the event. I was grateful that Ismael, a powerful voice for racial justice in education, was able to come and be another set of eyes, because there was so much to absorb.
My goal for this post is to document how I experienced the event, so I can refer to it in the future. It’s long; so for those who prefer a summary, here are a some highlights:


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