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Laura Chapman, retired arts educator and diligent researcher, has created a partial portrait of the privatization movement.
My guess is that the privatization movement consists of a small but significant number of billionaires and several hundred of their lackeys, shills, and front groups. As you will see, it is almost impossible to tell the Republicans from the Democrats.
I have been building some spreadsheets on who is funding what. There are so many interconnected initiatives that Jeb Bush and friends are part of.
For example. Bush’s projects are connected with another big reform outfit: Partners for Innovation in Education (PIE) an outfit with at least 180 affiliates (in my spreadsheet) all connected to many others and all seeking national, state, and large metro area policies that favor charter school expansion (marketed as innovative), along with Teach for America (mostly on the job training), and active interference with teacher union contracts.
The PIE website still includes a guide for “Rabble Rousers” who were given quidance on how to work on legislated policy changes to favor charters, TFA and privatizers and how to enlist active support from civic and business organizations. It is a guide for lobbying and controlling narratives about education in the press.
The 47-page PIE Rabble Rousers handbook (2010 funded by the Joyce Foundation) includes this statement about the process of changing state policy:
“Most of the groups we spoke with (about shaping state polcies) declined to involve educators on their governing boards; if they did so, those groups do not make up a majority of the governing board. The rationale was clear enough: if the goal is to be a voice for the public’s interest, educator involvement confuses that message. As one group leader explained: “Educators already have the overwhelming voice in our state capital through their various associations. If we brought the interest lobby to our meetings, our discussion would get rutted in the same issues that already complicate the public debate. Our goal is to have a conversation that looks at the issues differently, considering only the students without the adult agendas.” An even blunter explanation was: “We tell our teacher associations that when they invite our leaders to vote on their boards, we will include union representation on ours (p. 32).” http://pie-network.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/rabble-rousers.pdf
Since that 2010 publication, PIE has shifted its strategy to include carefully selected educators. Most are working in charter schools or they have been willing to be indoctrinated into PIE’s agenda. Indocrination is the correct word.
In Oakland, CA, for example, the bait for PIE’s program has been a two-year “fellowship” with $1000 for the first year, and $2000 for the second year for attendance at two-hour meetings twice monthly plus readings and research. (I could not determine if the “year” was a calendar year nine month school year). In a series of tasks, the Oakland Fellows were given preferred data about their union to think about, along with model language for changes.
There are similar programs in multiple metro areas and states, with teachers working as if hired hands of PIE, token payments or emblems of prestige by virtue of becoming “fellows” or “ambassadors.”
Here is a list of organizations and financial supporters of “teacher voice” in the PIE Network–all recruiting teachers to advocate for policies favoring TFA, charters, and dismantlying unions and more under the banner of “innovation.”
Advance Illinois “Every Student World Ready”; Chalk Board Project; Ed Allies (Minnesota); Educators for High Standards; Go Public Schools (Oakland CA); Hope Street Group (multiple states); National Network of Teachers of the Year (NNSTOY, nominated by governors of states and celebrated by the Council of Chief State School Officers); Rodel Foundation of Delaware; State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE, Tennessee); Stand for Children Louisiana; Teach Strong (National, with one year “ambassadors” who lobby politicians), Educators for Excellence (in Boston, Chicago, Connecticut, Los Angeles , Minnesota, New York); Teach Plus (in California, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts); and Texas Aspires.
PIE Board members are powerbrokers. Many are veterans of reformy projects to undermine public education through draconian standard-setting, exemptions for and expansions of charter schools, and killing collective bargaining by teachers.
1. Derrell Bradford, Executive VP of 50CAN, recruits state executive directors, fellows, and YouCAN advocates; known for leadership of legislated tenure reform in New Jersey.
2. Rachael Canter, Executive Dir. and co-founder of Mississippi First. Two years Teach for America; successfully lobbied for Mississippi Charter Schools Act of 2013.
3. Jonah Edelman, co-founder and CEO of Stand for Children Leadership Center and Stand For Children with affiliates in 11 states (Edelman is son of civil rights activist and lawyer Marian Wright Edelman). A political scholar (Ph.D Oxford, Yale) with deep family connections to the Democratic Party. SFC works for privatization with major funding from the Gates and Walton foundations among others. Major promoter of Read-by-Grade-Three policy.
4. Chris Korsmo, CEO of the League of Education Voters, backed by The Broad Foundation and supporters of projects to undermine teacher unions.
5. Scott Laband, President of Colorado Succeeds, coalition of business executives for corporate friendly education, including school policies that subsidize workforce preparation.
6. Patricia Levesque, CEO Foundation for Excellence. Was Jeb Bush’s Chief of Staff for education promoting corporate friendly education, six years as Staff Director for education policy in the Florida.
7. Lillian M. Lowery, Ed.D. V.P. of Ed Trust’s PreK-12 Policy, Research, and Practice, former state superintendent of schools in Maryland and state secretary of education in Delaware.
8. Nina Rees, President and CEO of National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, first Deputy Under Secretary for Innovation and Improvement, U.S. Department of Education.
9. Aimee Rogstad Guidera, former president and CEO of the Gates-funded Data Quality Campaign for enganced surveillance of K-12 school and “teacher of record” performance, with a variant tracking workforce outcomes of pre-K to post-seconfary workforce outcomes.
10. Evan Stone, Co-CEO and Co-Founder in 2010 of Educators for Excellence. Yale University thesis on No Child Left Behind in urban school systems, Master degree in teaching, Pace University.
11. Suzanne Kubach, Executive Dir. PIE Network. Appointed to California State Board of Education, former Chair of Los Angeles Charter School Board. Ph.D. in Education Policy, University of Southern California.
12. Tim Taylor, co-founder and Executive Dir. America Succeeds, founder of Colorado Succeeds, seeking corporate friendly policies.
13. Jamie Woodson, Tennessee State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE), Former legislative leader for expansion of Tennessee’s public charter schools. J.D., the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
And that is just for starters. What “innovative policies” are being marketed in your state, by whom, and why?