By David Sirota @ School reformers give a lesson in corruption – Salon.com
When David Sirota writes about education, he writes with razor sharp acuity. Unpacking the recent Tony Bennett scandal, Sirota probes the depth of graft of the edreformers trying to privatize education. WHile the territory was covered earlier, SIrota paints with richer colors.
Grotesque as it is to shroud such self-enriching graft in the veneer of helping children, the self-dealing controversy wasn’t Bennett’s most revealing scandal. That distinction goes to recent news that Bennett changed the grades of privately run charter schools on behalf of his financial backers. Indeed, as the Associated Press reported, “When it appeared an Indianapolis charter school run by a prominent Republican donor might receive a poor grade, Bennett’s education team frantically overhauled his signature ‘A-F’ school grading system to improve the school’s marks.” Yet, the Associated Press also reported that just a year before, Bennett “declined to give two Indianapolis public schools (the) same flexibility.”
Fascinating what following the money will reveal. Yet, Bennett’s Indiana and Florida fiasco might just be the tip of the iceberg. Bennett could very well drag his patron Jeb Bush, one of the leading “edreformers,” into more trouble with the press. It looks more and more the real agenda of Bush’s sham Foundation for Excellence in Education is getting exposed, which amounts to shaping policies to benefit their corporate donors potential margins in the “education market.”
This is the same organization that has been able to push online coursework as a graduation requirement for high school in at least five state, including Florida – shockingly. Encouraging online courses in high school is one thing, demanding them is another. Additionally, it is highly likely that in those states high schools will need to contract with private online course providers, such as ALEC contributor K12 Inc. just to fulfill the online course requirement for students hoping to graduate.
Despite a growing litany of evidence that policies promoted by Bush, Bennett, and their “edreformer” cronies are, at best, simply harmful to students and teachers alike and, at worst, invitations for exploitation and corruption, the well-financed duplicity continues.
At least there are mainstream media voices like Sirota and a handful of others to shine the light of accountability on the very individuals demanding it of educators.