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Jonathan Pelto: Who Are the Billionaires Determined to Privatize Public Schools?

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Jonathan Pelto wrote an illuminating and informative post about the members of the “Billionaire Boys Club,” or should I say the “Billionaire Boys and Girls Club,” since Alice Walton, Laurene Powell Jobs, Penny Pritzker, and several other women belong.

Pelto writes:

The colossal and disastrous effort to privatize public education in the United States is alive and well thanks to a plethora of billionaires who, although they’d never send their own children to a public school, have decided that individually and collectively, they know what is best for the nation’s students, parents, teachers and public schools.

From New York City to Los Angeles and Washington State to Florida, the “billionaire boys club,” as Diane Ravitch, the country’s leading public education advocate, has dubbed them, are spending hundreds of millions of dollars via campaign contributions, Dark Money expenditures and their personal foundations to “fix” what they claim are the problems plaguing the country’s public schools.

These neo-gilded age philanthropists claim that the solution is for parents, teachers and education advocates to step aside so that the billionaires and their groupies can transform public education by creating privately owned and operated – but taxpayer funded – charter schools.

In addition, they pontificate that students learn best when schools are mandated to use the ill-conceived Common Core standards so classrooms become little more than Common Core testing factories and the teaching profession is opened up to those who haven’t been burdened by lengthy college based education programs designed to provide educators with the comprehensive skill sets necessary to work with and teach the broad range of children who attend the country’s public schools.

The billionaire’s proclaim that the solution to creating successful schools is really rather simple.

They say that public schools run best when they are run like a business…

Cut through their rhetoric and the billionaires want us to believe that by introducing competition and the concept of “profit” they can turnaround any school, no matter the challenges it or its students may face….

Privatization, they argue, will lead to greater efficiencies while opening up the public purse to those who have products that they seek to sell to our children and our public schools.

John Dewey famously wrote that what the best parent wants for his child is what we should want for all children, but the billionaires have flipped that sage advice on its head. They say, “My kids need small classes, experienced teachers, and beautiful schools, but your children don’t.”

Jon Pelto has an exhaustive list of the billionaires who are out to undermine public education.

He identifies them by name, by their net worth, and by their pet causes.

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