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July 7, 2011
Who's Responsible for the Government Schools Cheating Scandals?
Cheating scandals are multiplying as major school districts like Atlanta, Baltimore (see AT article) and Washington, DC (see AT article) are under the gun by corporate and non-profit school reformers like Eli Broad, Bill Gates and Arne Duncan to produce better grades for more dollars.
Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal "released a report...that names 178 teachers and principals -- 82 of whom confessed -- in what's likely the biggest cheating scandal in US history.
The problems in these school districts point to systemic corruption in public schools across the board. The fraud begins at the top with the DOE and spreads far and wide into a complex network of Obama administration officials, private foundations and independent school reformers.
Dissent Magazine offers a full disclosure of the intermingling of foundation money with the DOE. The article is a must read. This excerpt describes the scene:
The close relationship between the Broad Foundation and administration officials was made clear in their 2009/2010 Annual Report entitled Entrepreneurship for The Public Good in Education, Science, and the Arts.
Broad alumni and Gates' educational training outlets are across the country. The annual report boasts that four Broad residents have been placed at the Department of Education.
Also, in Atlanta there's Beverley Hall, the disgraced former superintendent who was a speaker in a 2003 Broad conference in Houston and Randolph Bynum, Broad Superintendents Academy Class of 2007, who is Associate Superintendent for High Schools. And in Baltimore, a former superintendent assisted Broad in his first year of operating the Broad Superintendents Academy. Carmen Russo left the school system with a $58 million deficit and "her three years in Baltimore were uneven, marked by impressive gains in student test scores."
In DC former School Chancellor and Broad alumna Michelle Rhee presided over a district of 50,000 students and 144 schools of which 103 have been cited for possible cheating on standardized tests. A 2008 Aspen Institute bio states that "Rhee partnered with schools districts, state education agencies, nonprofit organizations" and "her work has resulted in widespread reform in Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Miami, New York, Oakland and Philadelphia."
Secretary of Education Arne Duncan's Race to the Top initiative approaches student underachievement with the same methods as George W Bush's No Child Left Behind but in a more creatively financed, high-stakes game for school districts. The $4.5 billion program entices cash-strapped localities to compete for federal monies by placing test scores, teachers, principals and superintendents in the crosshairs, tying student achievement to cash.
The DOE, foundations, and non-profits have worked together to create a cash flow among themselves, while allowing funds tied to draconian restrictions to trickle-down to schools. With overwhelming pressure to produce, some educators decided cheating was better than losing their job or becoming a whistleblower.
Broad's plan to transform education involves deception as well. Speaking about the Teach for America organization he stated, "Instead of it [TFA] being viewed as a movement, we have to make it look like an institution." "One of the ways you do that is an endowment like a college or university has." The venture philanthropist does not explain why he must "make it look" like something else to pass muster. Whatever the reason, he and others like Bill Gates have made major inroads into the American education system with their money. The venture philanthropists' most visible endeavors are their support of TFA, KIPP charter schools, and the Broad Center for Superintendents.
This cartel of billionaires and non-profits along with the federal government has been effecting dramatic changes in the power structure of the public education system for the last 20 years. From an online union magazine, LaborNotes:
Do we really want to hand over control of our education system to global power elites like Eli Broad who said, "We don't know anything about how to teach or reading curriculum or any of that. But what we do know about is management and governance."
An oligarchy of high-powered individuals has been hard at work changing our country's public schools. The elite financiers are inextricably linked to Duncan's DOE and may have to answer for their part in the cheating scandals sweeping across the nation.
Read more Ann Kane and M. Catharine Evans at Potter Williams Report
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