Philanthrocapitalists Speak, Duncan ListensThere's more at the link.
Secretary of Education Arne Duncan recently announced his hope to see 5,000 schools turned around during the next five years. Increases in federal spending directly tied to school restructuring (firing entire staff; closing the school; turning the school over to charter operators; or new curriculum materials) will drive this intended reform. Duncan's plan for school turnarounds should not be a surprise given his tenure in Chicago, the current DOE's connections to various philanthrocapitalists, and the political climate in Washington.
Take, for example, this recent document put out by the Coalition for Student Achievement, a group funded by (among others): Business Roundtable, Center for American Progress, Democrats for Education Reform, NewSchools Venture Fund, Stupski Foundation, Gates Foundation, Business Coalition for Education Excellence, Commission on No Child Left Behind, Broad Foundation, Fordham Institute, and Center on Reinventing Public Education. The reform agenda pushed in "Smart Options: Investing the Recovery Funds in Student Success," was constructed during an early 2009 meeting in Washington, D.C (p. 2). Many notable education entrepreneurs, philanthropic foundations, think tanks representatives, and a number of the most noteworthy education reformers attended the meeting: TFA representatives, NewSchools Venture Fund CEO and California State Board of Education President Ted Mitchell, NewSchools Venture Fund partner Jonathan Schorr, Green Dot CEO Steve Barr, and New Teacher Project CEO Timothy Daly; four Gates Foundation representatives, two Broad representatives (although Andrew J. Rotherham is not listed as representing the Broad Foundation even though he serves on their board); Thomas B. Fordham's Chester Finn, and Education Sector's Chad Alderman and Rotherham; Michelle Rhee, NYC Chancellor Joel Klein and the NYC COO, and the Louisiana Superintendent Paul Pastorek. And don't forget to throw in two McKinsey & Co. representatives for a touch of global management flavor. Their cumulative thoughts were summarized in "Smart Options" and proposed as a blueprint for education reform.
The End Is Near For Public Education
I am afraid we are witnessing the privatization of public schools. I thought for sure, when I voted for Obama, this kind of thing would not happen, but instead we would address poverty, the only correlate of student achievement. But, as Schools Matter keeps pointing out, Obama's Duncan would rather toss up bricks.