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NCLB Outrages

The Feds Say Innovation, I Say Profiteering

Ohanian Comment: This arrived in my mailbox from Office of Innovation and Improvement [oii.rsvp@ed.gov]. I tried to deconstruct it a bit [see below], but following all the links is both time-consuming and dispiriting.

I hope you read this and are suitably alarmed/disgusted/outraged. I hope it will spur you to fight back.

Hey, you can start by buying a CD.

Innovations in Education Exchange:

Lessons Learned from Education Service Providers

No Child Left Behind allows school districts to turn schools on restructuring lists into charter schools or to transfer their operations to education service providers. Please join the Office of Innovation and Improvement and experts from the field: Bryan Hassel, President, Public Impact; Anthony Jackson, Chief Administrator, Arts and Technology Academy; Octavio J. Visiedo, Member, National Council of Education Providers; and Kim Smith, Executive Director and CEO, NewSchools Venture Fund to discuss these important options.

Where: U.S. Department of Education 400 Maryland Ave., SW

When: Friday, January 28, 2005 from 9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.

To RSVP please e-mail OII.RSVP@ed.gov

with your name, title, organization address,

and phone number by January 20, 2005.

Please contact Courtney Philips at 202-205-4499 for additional information.

Note: All visitors must produce some official form of identification (unless under the age of 16), preferably a valid state driver's license or appropriate U.S. Government identification, which will be used to verify that person on the roster.


Public Impact, charter advocate and consulting firm based in Chapel Hill, North Carolina., works with New American Schools (NAS) "to help them review and offer technical assistance to comprehensive reform design teams." (New American Schools was developed under direction of David Kearns, Chairman Emeritus of the Xerox Corporation and Deputy Secretary of Education under George Bush I.)

Bryan Hassel, President, Public Impact, formerly worked for the Durham-based Center for Self-Help, one of the nation's largest community development organizations.

  • Arts and Technology Academy is a charter school in Washington, D. C.
  • This seems to be a show-case, with frequent media visits by U. S. Department of Education personnel.

  • NewSchools Venture Fund bills itself as a venture philanthropy firm working to transform public education through powerful ideas and passionate entrepreneurs so that all children –-especially those underserved-– have the opportunity to succeed in the 21st century. They trumpet that NewSchools Network is comprised of over 800 leaders from business, education, nonprofit and policy. These leaders start ventures, run our nation’s school systems, shape its policy, teach our children, research educational effectiveness, fund innovation, and contribute to the intellectual capital on which the field is based.

    Kim Smith, co-founder and CEO, was a founding team member of Teach For America (TFA)and then founding director of BAYAC AmeriCorps, a consortium of nonprofits in the San Francisco Bay Area. She has an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

    Jim Peyser, a Partner at NewSchools Venture Fund, leads NewSchools' East Coast initiatives, working with both Charter and Performance Accelerator Fund ventures. He also serves as Chairman of the Massachusetts Board of Education. He was executive director of Pioneer Institute for Public Policy Research. Before that, he held various positions at Teradyne, Inc. in Boston, an electronic test equipment manufacturer.

    Reed Hastings, one of the investment partners, who meet regularly to approve investments and provide advice to the organization, is President, California State Board of Education.

    One of the topics at their 2003 by-invitation-only summit plenary was Opportunities for Education Entrepreneurs Created by No Child Left Behind. "Where new rules are created, typically new entrepreneurial opportunities arise." In this session, top officials working at federal, state and district levels shared the challenges, the risks, and their visions of the opportunities.

    At the 2004 summit, two urban superintendents, billed as "forward-looking," addressed the group: two lawyers-turned-superintendent, Joel Klein from New York City and Alan D. Bersin from San Diego.

  • National Council of Education Providers is an outfit consisting of:

  • Charter Schools USA, Ft. Lauderdale, FL. Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Hage was a speech writer for the first President Bush, then worked for the conservative Heritage Foundation, where he researched Russia's transition to democracy. In his words, "It was first Jeb Bush's idea, not mine, to promote charters in Florida," Hage said. ". . . Quite honestly, I wasn't that familiar with charter schools."

    That's ok, education expertise isn't a qualification for heading a charter school operation.

  • Edison School Inc., New York, NY
  • manages 157 schools in 19 states. Founder and CEO Chris Whittle founder and chairman of Whittle Communications, one of America's largest student publishers. Then he launched the notorious Channel One. He was also chairman and publisher of Esquire Magazine for a few years.

    TheStreet.com calls Whittle "a smooth-talking media hustler. . . . Possessed of his own sense of visionary infallibility -- and the baloney-spouting skills of a Harold Hill -- Whittle soon had individuals ranging from Yale University President Benno Schmidt to President Jimmy Carter's top White House aide Hamilton Jordan to Fortune magazine editor William Rukeyser coming to work for him."

  • Imagine Schools, Arlington, VA
  • operates 60 schools in 8 states. Dennis W. Bakke, President and CEO was Co-Founder, President and CEO of the AES Corporation, a leading global power company.

    Chairman of Board, Octavio J. Visiedo,was appointed by President Bush to serve as a member of the President's Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans.

  • Mosaica Education, Inc., New York, NY operates 47 schools in 8 states. Michael J. Connelly, President and Chief Executive Officer, was formerly president of Lepercq Capital Management, the venture capital arm of New York City investment bank Lepercq, de Neuflize & Co. Before that he was Executive Vice President of Foster Management Company, a private business development and investment firm.

  • National Heritage Academies, Grand Rapids, MI

    J. C. Huizenga, owner, is a member of the George W. Bush $100,000 club. Here are his views on education:

    "I am a student of Milton Friedman’s view that free markets are needed if society is to prosper. When we began National Heritage, we were acutely aware of the lack of a free market within our system of public education here in the United States. We wanted to bring the benefits of competition to public education. Competition focuses any organization on its mission. If an organization does not have a viable mission, competition exposes it as defective rather quickly. Our mission statement of “challenging children to achieve their greatest potential” resulted from an understanding that parents ultimately make the decisions about their children’s education and that parents want their children to maximize the potential that God gave to them. So we set out to accomplish that mission, recognizing that it is competition that will keep us focused and help us succeed."

    Here is the opening of a Wall Street Journal article by Daniel Golden (1999):

    At one of America's fastest-growing school systems, 44 percent of the teachers come from Bible colleges. Mothers pray in the school buildings. Students learn about Adam and Eve in science class, and are asked not to wear costumes to school on Halloween, in deference to parents who believe the holiday glorifies the devil.

    Yet the National Heritage Academies aren't Christian private schools. Instead, they are a chain of state-funded charter schools offering back-to-basics education with a religious tinge --free of charge.

  • White Hat Management, Akron, OH. In case you missed the significance of the title, chairman David Brennan wears a 10-gallon white hat in his bio portrait on the organization website and tells reporters he wears it because he is "a good guy." In his book Victory for Kids: The Cleveland School Voucher Case, Brennan recounts his 10-year fight up to the U.S. Supreme Court to keep Ohio's voucher scholarship program--providing taxpayer-funded vouchers to students in private schools. Before founding White Hat, Brennan made his millions buying and selling manufacturing companies.

    He says, "Public schools have completely failed. Something needs to be done to change the system."

    Oh, and by the way, Brennan is a big contributor to the Republican Party.

    Prior to joining White Hat Mark F. Thimmig, CEO and President, was Prior to joining White Hat, Mr. Thimmig was the CEO, President and founder of Learning Pays.com, LLC, an education technology company. And before that he was vice president of AutoNation, Inc. and before that he was a General Motors dealer.
  • — U. S. Department of Education



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