Monday, February 18, 2008

A Web of Intrigue

UPDATED Tuesday, Feb. 19, 9 pm

Is there a vast neoliberal conspiracy to impose a market-based system on urban public schools in partnership with the business community leading to a move toward privatization, the weakening of teacher unions, and placing the focus of blame on the teachers (schools are looked at as failures because of poor teacher quality) and their contracts (seniority rules are worse than a tornado ripping through a school)?

Are we moving toward placing the control of public education into the hands of privateers and policy wonks whose basic knowledge of education comes from having once attended school (like letting someone who was once in the hospital with a sore throat perform operations)?

Are we seeing a further exacerbation of an already existing dual school system – one urban running under market forces that shut out parents and teachers; one suburban where elected school boards make decisions?

Has much of this agenda been driven by the neoliberal wing of the Democratic party? Research-based blogger Eduwonkette posted a web of connections between the various policy wonks backing the corporate takeover of urban school systems and has the Rotherham gang over at Eduwonk so worked up they are screaming for her head and trying to smoke her out of her anonymity. She fingers some members of Rotherham's Education Sector Board:

Jonathan Williams (Accelerated Charter School of Los Angeles); Bruno Manno (Vice Chair, Annie E. Casey Foundation); Ted Mitchell of the New Schools Venture Fund (NSVF).

So they all know each other, sniffs Rotherham.

I like Ed Trust West head Russlynn Ali, we've eaten together, had drinks, she's met my wife, seen my children, she used to work with Kevin Carey who now works with me, I think we share funders but I'm not sure...we both dislike the designated hitter rule...

Touchy, touchy, touchy. Our man doth protest too much. The last must be a subliminal reference to their being designated hitters gunning for the end of public oversight of public schools - but only for people in poorer, urban communities - wouldst they dare set foot with their market gimmicks in Scarsdale?

Rotherham, a major apologist for whatever mayhem BloomKlein perpetrates on the children, teachers and parents in the NYC school system says this in his bio:

Rotherham previously served at The White House as Special Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy during the Clinton administration. He managed education policy activities at the White House and advised President Clinton on a wide range of education issues including the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, charter schools and public school choice, and increasing accountability in federal policy. Rotherham also led the White House Domestic Policy Council education team...

We've run critiques of Obama's ed policy, but anyone doubt the Clinton connections to the attacks on public education? And of the slavish support of the UFT/AFT teachers union. (Explanation for their role in all this to come at a future date.)

Eduwonkette has clearly touched a nerve, with Rotherham shooting back with:

I'd also take it more seriously if she took a look at all the similar relationships around, just say, ed school accreditation, teacher certification, NCLB opposition, etc...etc...etc...

When you're caught with your pants down, attack. This looks like a nice project to keep him busy. While he's doing it, he should make sure to add up the dough each side has - maybe Bill Gates and Eli Broad will throw a few mil into the Educator Roundtable or Susan Ohanian for balance.

With some of the attacks on Eduwonkette being less than sophomoric ("she takes money like those girls we used to talk about in high school") one has to wonder if the ole boy policy wonks are just plain embarrassed that a girl can be so much smarter than them.

For your reading pleasure: The Corporate Surge Against Public Schools

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