THE EDUCATION AGENDA

It is our belief there is a much larger agenda behind the education doors that is being played out for a much larger outcome. The belief is “It’s all about the money” and political power. Research has shown that for decades billionaire owners and large foundations have been trying to privatize the public school education system by a reform movement to change school leadership nationwide.  Some of these philanthropist are Eli and Edythe Broad – The Broad Foundation, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, The Walton Foundation, Koch Brothers, Teach For America, Advanced Ed now known as COGNIA and embraced by politicians and policymakers from all party's. The number one way of doing this is by creating a training institutes like the Broad Academy/Center where multiple unaccredited programs exists to to train superintendents, administrators, teachers... The ultimate goal being to end public education and turn them into public charters.

History shows they like very large struggling school districts. They then proceed with finding candidates within their academics or system to be placed in significant roles in a school system. These higher level roles could be superintendents, financial officers, and administration officers. We have learned that they tend to have backing of local government officials such as mayors and council members. Once in place, the damage usually begins within a year. These individuals will manipulate the system and quickly move to replace other employees with like-minded individuals. It will become obvious that money is no longer being spent on students, teachers and building maintenance but now on programs, training and outside consultants. 

The goal being to reform the public school system into more of a business or corporate minded institution. In order to achieve this they must transform the school board and superintendent to a governance and management. You must also have a means of consistently creating and training new, impressionable leaders to continue this mindset within the school system. Once they are in the school system, they will continue to hire other Broad type graduates. In order to get others on board with this new direction, it will be presented as "all about the students" and many promises to fix "equity issues in the schools" and change education to be more about "student-centered learning".

The purpose of privatizing the public schools is to apply taxpayer dollars to fund many different privatized studies, investment opportunities, charter schools, and online education. Creating a path to launder taxpayer dollars. It has become a very large business under the noses of several communities and created an equally huge political nightmare. All at the expense of our children's education.

Nashville BOE Member Letter

Posted. By a Nashville BOE member: Does anyone have a list of all the cities this is taking place?

Dear Nashville (and others),

Please pay attention to those with whom you choose to align yourself on education issues. If you are supporting anyone funded or trained by California billionaire Eli Broad, you can bet you'll end up on the wrong side of history.

Eli Broad created and funds a blog called Education Post. The folks who run it would like for you to believe they are just activists for low-income families and minority children- but in reality, they are dripping with dirty money. Education Post's first CEO, Peter Cunningham, was paid $1 million for 2 1/2 years of blogging. Board member Chris Stewart, known online as "Citizen Stewart," was paid $422,925 for 40 hours a week across 30 months as "outreach and external affairs director." As author/blogger Mercedes Schneider concludes, "In ed reform, blogging pays juicy salaries." (For the record, I have never earned a penny for any of my social media posts, of course.)  

 

Paid Education Post leaders regularly try to infiltrate online Nashville education discussions (Nashville is a national target for charter expansion), and Education Post also pays local bloggers to write posts. Local bloggers Zack Barnes and Vesia Hawkins are both listed as network members on the Education Post blog.

Many of the big players in Tennessee were "trained" by Eli Broad through his Broad Superintendents Academy, which recruits business leaders with no background in education to be superintendents- with the purpose of privatizing schools (closing existing schools and opening more charter schools). The current Tennessee Commissioner of Education, Penny Schwinn, is a "Broadie." Two former heads of Tennessee's failed Achievement School District (a ploy to expand charter schools without local approval) were Broadies: Chris Barbic and Malika Anderson. Former superintendents Jim McIntyre (of Knoxville) and Shawn Joseph (of Nashville) were also affiliated with Broad network. Shawn Joseph claimed both McIntyre and former Baltimore superintendent Dallas Dance, a member of Education Post's network, as his mentors.

The school "reforms" pushed by Broadies all center around profit-making through public education: standardized testing (money for private test companies), computer learning (money for IT companies and cost-savings on hiring teachers), charter schools, vouchers, scripted curriculum that can be monetized, etc. Broadies typically see teachers as expendable and believe teaching can be mechanized.

Since charters and vouchers have become an increasingly unpopular cause, the latest angle is for Broadies to increase the number of (sometimes rigged) vendor contracts for programs and services, as well as consultants, with school districts. Former Baltimore superintendent Dallas Dance went to federal prison for rigging no-bid contracts in a kick-back scheme. In a similar scheme, his mentee (Nashville superintendent) Shawn Joseph was caught inflating no-bid contract prices (in violation of state law) for vendors connected with the recruiter and Broadies who placed him in Nashville through a rigged superintendent search. (See comments for further information.)

Billionaires like Eli Broad who fund school profiteering efforts like to hire/fund people of color to act as front-men for their efforts. This provides the appearance that the push for "school choice" (i.e., charters and vouchers) is grassroots. When these folks are questioned or caught in the midst of wrong-doing, they are able to cry racism. Meanwhile, everyone has their hands in the cookie jar of funding meant to serve children.

The ploys used in school profiteering are particularly nasty- the worst of dirty politics. The goal is usually to smear, humiliate, shame and discredit anyone who is an effective critic of the school privatization agenda. Lots of money is spent on PR for this purpose. (I've even been attacked on this Facebook page by a paid "social media specialist" for my opposition to charter schools.)

You'll notice that the atmosphere tends to become particularly dysfunctional and circus-like when Broadies are in charge or involved. You'll also notice that Broadies like to push the narrative that locally-elected school boards are too dysfunctional to lead (even when the Broadie in charge is causing all the dysfunction!). This is because Eli Broad and those affiliated with him want no public oversight of public education spending.

So- when you witness education conversations on social media, be sure to figure out who is funding those claiming to promote "school choice" or to advocate for children in poverty. Follow the money, y'all. Always!

“The moral imperative to support deep and lasting change in urban communities and reclaim public schools cannot be driven by vouchers, for-profit charters, mayoral control, Teach for America, and other billionaire-funded schemes.” from the PDK poll report.

North Carolina Opportunity Scholarship

The North Carolina General Assembly created a voucher program called Opportunity Scholarships in 2013. The Opportunity Scholarship program awards up to $4,200 per year for qualifying students to attend participating nonpublic schools. The state issued tax money to private schools for the first time in the 2014-2015 school year.

 

After a lawsuit, the NC Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the program in July 2015. In 2016, the NCGA greatly expanded the program as part of the budget passed in the short session. The budget raised the percentage of funding available to K-1st grade students, and it established an Opportunity Scholarship reserve fund to be augmented by $10 million every year until 2027-28 when it will plateau at $144.8 million in annual funding.

 

Future legislatures cannot be compelled to provide this funding, yet it represents a commitment to dramatically expanding this program without reviewing academic outcomes for students or increasing accountability for the taxpayers who fund it.

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