Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Tisch Family Connections to K12 Board and Charter School

K12’s board is headed by Andrew Tisch, co-chair of Loew’s Corp,  the brother in law of Merryl Tisch, who is in turn, the head of the NYS board of Regents. Meetings of the NY state education department are often held in the Loew’s headquarters, which is run by Merryl’s husband,  James.
The NYS Regents are currently considering eliminating all seat time requirements, and to allow the rapid and essentially unregulated expansion of online learning. In addition, K12 has submitted a charter application to the Regents/NYSED, called “NY Flex charter school” in D2, that has gone through the preliminary approval process by NYSED.  (EDNote: Pedro Noguera who is considered by many to be on the anti-ed deform side chairs the SUNY charter committee. There have been charges he approves every charter request.)
In  an earlier iteration/application, K12 was clearly running the school, now the application has been revised to indicate that the school will “contract” out with K12 for services, including curriculum, assessments, teacher training, and other support and services as requested by the Board and staff of the school.   
This recasting of the application is to avoid legal conflicts w/ the new NY state charter law which bars for-profit companies from operating charter schools. Here is an article about this controversial issue:
Great reporting by Idaho paper below on the financial ties between the new Gov. of Idaho and the online tech industry. 
The Milkens’ privately held Learning Group LLC is the largest shareholder of K12, owning 24 percent of the company. Another Milken employee, Nina Rees, gave Luna $500. Rees and Luna worked together in the Education Department, where Rees led innovation efforts. Rees also advised Vice President Dick Cheney and the Romney campaign. She now is a senior vice president at Knowledge Universe Education, a California-based holding company chaired by Milken, with stakes in more than 50 education companies, including K12.
How much difference this reformulation makes, legally, is something hard to discern, but people should keep their eyes on this application:
K12 Classroom LLC, (“K12”) a subsidiary of K12 Inc., will be collaborating with us. K12 Inc. is an education company with a ten year history of providing outstanding curriculum and educational services to students in grades K-12. K12 will provide most of the school’s curriculum. In the 2009-2010 school year, K12 served almost 70,000 public school students through collaborations with public entities in twenty-five states and the District of Columbia. Since their inception in 2000, they have developed over 21,000 lessons of engaging curriculum—lessons, video, assessment, learning games, labs, textbooks, workbooks, and digital instructional resources that promote mastery of core concepts and skills for students of all ability levels. Their approach combines cognitive science with individualized learning and is well-suited for New York Flex. In addition to curriculum, the Board will specifically contract with K12 for assessments, teacher training, and other support and services as requested by the Board and staff of the school. Consistent with law and best practice, the Board and staff will retain the final authority for all decision-making, management, and operations including curriculum and personnel issues.
Tom Luna's education reform plan was a long time in the making

How Tom Luna’s co-workers from the Bush administration — and the private education companies they now help run — positioned Idaho’s schools chief to make changes that the for-profit education industry may cash in on


Copyright: © 2011 Idaho Statesman

Published: 02/20/11



Anonymous said...

so sickening...follow the money...

education in the USA has become the NEW CASH COW

is it moo moo
or boo hoo

Michael Fiorillo said...

Don't be so mean: Ms. Tisch is simply offering a compassionate helping hand to convicted felon Michael Milken (the force behind the privately-owned Learning Group LLC), who served time in federal prison for insider trading. You know, financial criminals are people, too.

Don't you believe in rehabilitation? The man's a philanthropist now, and anyway, children should be taught the value of giving back!