Links are in bold type!
Today I have no cutesie songs or analogies. Today in writing this, I feel hurried and overwhelmed to try and make so much of this business takeover mindset known and understood; or at the minimum discussed where it perhaps has not been before. The reason for my anxiety is because 9 out of 10 threads posted in Ohio BATs (directly affiliated with the Badass Teachers Association) over the last two days, all dealt with charters and all the hell it has brought to Ohio. BILLIONS of PUBLIC education dollars (tax payers dollars) in Ohio have been lost to charters, never to be retrieved again. This flat-out angers me in the worst way. It taps into the same place it would if someone came into my home and stole food from my children. Here are SOME of those articles posted just in the last 24 hours (in no particular order):
1. Misspending 2. Subsidizing 3. Failing 4. Favoritism 5. Troubled 6. Lawsuits 7. New Orleans 8. 6-digit Salaries
Now all know why I am marathon blogging. It appears a compulsion for greed drives a man like Tom Vander Ark to Ohio and I am in hopes that the repulsion of theft runs any likes of him out of Ohio, or any other places he or others have chosen to ‘strip mine’ millions of dollars meant for our children!
I am not sure when the ‘billionaire-wanna-be-bug’ bit Vander Ark. But bit he is, I think, and well on his way, I am sure, to surpassing millions and seeing it become billions right in front of his dollar-signed eyes.
Let’s return to the ‘TomMart’ concept from yesterday’s blog. I referenced a gif map of the WalMart Expansion Efforts.
I think that Tom nightly dreams of a similar map for his ideas. I would not be surprised at all if Tom would have somewhere a similar map of all the places he has laid and will lay his tracks, via some fancy computer program. I do not know whether or not Tom developed his lust for billions in his childhood, and it cemented or emerged in his years of working so closely with Bill Gates or if it happened some other way. I do know, he has found his diamond mines, his retail markets, and his rivers of cash flow right in all of our communities. Our schools are his ripe, rich fields of opportunity to plant and harvest his bounty.
Tom Vander Ark: “Education is the only sector in America that has this strange bias and historical barriers to private sector involvement. Every other public delivery system—transportation, energy, health—all have active relationships with the private sector.” Ref Link
I should have probably said this in the very first blog, I am in wayyyyy over my head with some of all of this discussion, especially regarding the business jargon and financial terminology ends of it. I am NOT an advisor, or an expert by any measure. I am just a mom of five (a widow actually) with a strong set of feelings about how wrong all of this is. Tom Vander Ark is a financial engineer. A rather genius one at that. But for every bit of slick moves he pulls off he make me feel all that more sick for what he is destroying in education. That momentary disclaimer having been said… walk a few minutes with me down some oversimplifications of how I see it all from way down here.
So, Tom wants ‘TomMarts’; ‘TomMarts’ in every town Tom wants. How easy would it be to a pull a profit with such a broad sweeping idea? Well, there are roughly 100,000 public schools in the US. If Tom were able to get $1000 from each of those schools. Bam. A billion dollars. Or if he could get 1000 of those public schools to pay him $100,000 dollars each in consulting fees (a figure I heard recently for a consultant in an Ohio School). Bam. A billion dollars. There are gruffly 55 million students. If he could charge $20 per student for some ‘TomMart’ product. Bam. A billion dollars. What if he could get all three of those amounts every year? What if he could get a law instituted that made it so it was mandatory that ALL students had to buy one of the many TomMart products. Bam. Bam. Bam. Billions of dollars.
“In 2011, FEE’s two highest paid independent contractors were both firms affiliated with the former director of the Gates Foundation’s education programming, Thomas Vander Ark: Vander Ark Associates (which was paid $105,000) and Vander Ark/Ratcliff (which was paid $150,000 for digital learning consulting). Vander Ark/Ratcliff pulled in $216,774 in 2010 in FEE consulting fees as well.” Ref Link
Under the banner of high-tech progress, corporate lobbyists have rammed through legislation privatizing K-12 education across the country….A day before he opened his education reform conference to the media recently, Bush hosted another education meeting. This event, a private affair in the Palace Hotel, was a reconvening of investors and strategists to plan the next leg of the privatization campaign. Michael Moe, Susan Patrick, Tom Vander Ark and other major players were invited. Ref Link
“Mr. Vander Ark has been engaged as a consultant for EPISD. We don’t know for how long, but as for how much, it’s $125,000.” Ref Link
I had one more quote I wanted to use today, but I seem to have misplaced it. So for now I will paraphrase or generalize the idea and then if I find the link, I will come add it in. In one place I found a quote of his where he was talking about the future, and he stated in some form that he was not sure of the future but that he wanted to be able to be one step ahead of whatever it was that was coming. Horizons in the market type talk.
Even if we remove the guesses I have made (alright accusations) for TVA’s motives, the actions still remain. The destruction trail behind is still showing heavy-duty scars. And the map he has chartered out for education looks as though it too will forever be carved with unremovable gouges into these public places. Perhaps he calls that sustainability?
I am glad I set a goal of fifty blogs…there is much more territory to cover.
To glimpse some of the topics to come… here are some of the thought seeds (again not in any order):
Mixed Bag of Motives
Tom, Bill, Sam
Climb to the Top
The Great TomShip Enterprise
Blended Smoothies by Tom
TurnAround Bright Eyes
Top-down, Bottom-up, Inside-out, Outside-in
Chocolate Milk and Lemonade
All in the Family
Covering all bases
Toe, Foot, Leg in the Door
Vampirically Drinking Data
50 Ways to Leave Your Charters
All states All stakes
Market Morphing/Shape Changer
Tall Tom ThumbSore
Weather or Not – Whether or Not