Education, Ohio, Public Schools, Schools

The Lie/The Reply

mandy's blog

Remember when I worked very hard to get people to a Town Hall with Dennis Kucinich so he could talk about how charter schools receive unfair funding? The meeting was basically taken over by charter school proponents, most notably, those from the Constellation Schools. They all came in expecting the meeting to be about us trying to close all charter schools. That was not true, but it is what they were told. While I do not know for sure if parents of kids in the Elyria Constellation Schools were given a letter like the one that was given to parents in Parma,

I know for sure that there were many parents at our meeting and they were mad. The letter that was sent to the Parma parents was sent to them by Richard Lukich who helped found the schools and is president of the board of directors. This man, aside from being rude to me personally and blocking people from the info I had on a table while he stood at the door like he owned the place, sat in that meeting and said over and over again that charter schools have to adhere to the same accountability and transparency standards as public schools. He also said that everyone there was free to ask him anything that they want and he will tell us.

So I took him up on his offer. A few weeks later I sent him a public records request asking for a long list of information including salaries of staff (including his and the rest of the board), how much they send to their management company, how much money they spend on operational costs, and a few other things. This letter was mailed to him May 11th.

I just received a response from their lawyers this afternoon. In what should be a surprise to no one, they denied my request for information. The letter stated that the schools are not a public entity so they do not have to give me any of the information that I requested. They also stated that since there is no list of the salaries of those I requested, they do not have to give me those or create a list for me. And even if such a list did exist, they are under no obligation to give it to me even if Constellation was a public office.

I know what the treasurer of the Elyria City Schools (where my son attends school) makes but I have no idea what the treasurer of the Constellation School that is three blocks from my house makes. He was also at this meeting and was talking about how the Constellation Schools have nothing to hide.

So now I am just flummoxed. If the Constellation Schools, and Richard Lukich in particular, are such an open book, then why did he pass my letter off to his lawyers who subsequently denied my request? I am sure all of the people that followed him to that meeting would love to know the truth about what he said too. I know I would not be too happy if I found out that the schools I sent my son to were trying to hide something from the public.

Here is the reply:

let 1let 2

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Education, Ohio, Public Schools, Schools

Expressing Gratitude for Judge French’s Ruling Regarding ECOT

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Ohio BATs, affiliated with Badass Teachers Association
October 4, 2016

The Honorable Jenifer French
Judge, Franklin County Court of Common Pleas
Common Pleas Courthouse, Courtroom 6A
345 South High Street, 6th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215

Dear Judge French:

We are writing to you today with our sincere gratitude on behalf of the students we serve in our learning environments every day. The ECOT decision handed down by you will have a rippling effect on the virtual school industry in Ohio.

For the past nearly twenty years, our state has operated all of its 614 school districts under an unconstitutional funding system. Further compounding this problem is the funding of charter schools, including virtual schools like ECOT. This is the crux of the real problem with our public schools. Many of our public schools are underfunded, especially the schools serving students who are living in poverty. Quite frankly, public schools serving students who live in poverty require more resources to ensure all students are successful (yet they continue to have those resources stripped). We do not define success by using test scores.
ECOT receives higher per pupil funding than most all public schools and they continue to fail our students . . . most often our most vulnerable students. We wonder what our public schools would look like if each of our students received the same amount without restrictions. We are quite confident we can do a much better job than ECOT. We already know we do a better job with less money.
Those of us who advocate on behalf of our students everyday oftentimes feel we are not heard and we feel helpless – not a good feeling! Then a decision from a judge reinforces our
determination to ensure our students are provided with everything necessary to be successful.

Again, thank you!

Ohio BAT Administrators

 

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Education, Ohio, Public Schools, Schools, Uncategorized

The Phantom of Phalen Learning Academies: Part 2, Working the Middle-Man-Game like Pros

The Phantom of Phalen Learning Academies: Part 2, Working the Middle-Man-Game like Pros

Temporary-jobs-Wanted

***Note: Links are bold and faintly underscored***

When chain-style charters come into a new area, such as the Phalen Leadership Academy (or Learning—I have seen it written both ways) who are trying to wheedle their way into Cincinnati, they bring along all of their transient and temporary employee plans.

It is not a new ‘think-tank’ like the reformers like to taut, but rather a crew that has been trained to puppet the reform talk. This is why I wrote such a harsh statement in the first piece of this 3-part series, insisting that they (these businesses) are “cult-like”. It might seem like a million different battles with thousands of different names, but in reality it is all one greedy game, and the foundational pieces are all the same. The selling points are part of the training programs in a brain-washing manner.

June 13th, was a crucial meeting
for the Cincinnati Board of Education to “explore” the possibilities of opening an expansion charter(s) from the cluster of the PLAs in Indianapolis. The vote should not have even gone forth because the charter(s) are too new. PLA was in operation for only one year prior (2015-2016). This ‘newness’ detail does not surprise me. Tom Vander Ark, who is the original visionary of all of these privatization and personalization takeovers, was considered an education expert after he happed into a position as a suburban school superintendent. Only one school, in only one area (Federal Way, Washington), for only one single time slot of five years with no prior education-related experience or degree and Bill Gates deemed newbie Tom Vander Ark worthy of having enough knowledge to completely redo all education premises in the United States. Billions upon billions of dollars and two decades later, and Tom Vander Ark (having left Gates’ Foundation to make the millions on his own),  is still turning tricks and selling his bullshit in all forms and forums. Oh, and he is still using Gates’ and others’ money pots. Phalen charters are a sickening example of all of this.

These type of charters are notorious for rough starts while they move and jostle their own people all around. Transient environments are the last thing these community members seek. Stability is a rare commodity that children and their families from socio-financially disadvantaged areas need. But they will not reap that as a benefit from PLAs. One month (July 2015) before Phalen Leadership Academy was to open in Indiana, their reform pick (to the tune of a $100,000 MindTrust fellowship grant), was suddenly and without explanation, out of the picture. ““Yes, Marlon [Llewellyn] has done a great job during his fellowship year but will not be leading us forward as the school leader next year,” Phalen said in an email Thursday. Phalen has not responded to requests for further clarification as to why Llewellyn was removed. Llewellyn did not respond to a request for comment.” This was not a one-time fluke. Such are the broad patterns of such dysfunctional happenings with charter business startups.

“Findings: Our analyses show that charter schools had a higher principal turnover rate than traditional schools and very different principal transition patterns.” (Yongmei Ni, Min Sun, and Andrea Rorrer, Principal Turnover: Upheaval and Uncertainty in Charter Schools? Educational Administration Quarterly August 2015 51: 409-437, first published on June 26, 2014)
A Hechinger Report article stated “…nearly 30 percent of principals who lead troubled schools quit every year. By Year 3, more than half of all principals leave their jobs.”  Add this in with the fact that turnover rate is much higher in charters and one spells ‘disaster’.

The article went on to say that “ Looking broadly at the effect of principal turnover on student learning, a researcher from Mount Holyoke College studied 12 years of data from North Carolina public schools. They found that when principals leave, student achievement generally declines for two years.” So these commonplace leadership attrition rates are a huge realistic risk for Cincinnati. It is a dangerous dance of one fancy faux step forward and several irreparable steps backwards.

Principals are not the only temporary hires of MindTrust. Teachers are pulled from TFA (Teach For America) and TNTP (The New Teacher Project). For more background see this article; the author, Doug Martin, has been fighting MindTrust’s ways and writing about such in Indiana for a long time.  A study out of Vanderbilt University lays teacher turnover out in a comprehensive manner: “Using multi-nomial logistic regression, we found the odds of a charter school teacher leaving the profession versus staying in the same school are 132% greater than those of a traditional public school teacher. The odds of a charter school teacher moving schools are 76% greater. Our analysis confirms that much of the explanation of this “turnover gap” lies in differences in the types of teachers that charter schools and traditional public schools hire.” (Italic emphasis mine)

This “type of teacher” is one who has had no previous classroom experience, with extremely abbreviated training times, and whom are promised yet other roles in reform if they meet the contingency of teaching in one of these startup urban situations. Ads are perpetually run. When we, the Badass Teachers Association, lobbied in DC in 2015, we were startled at how very many Representatives’ and Senators’ Education Aides were directly from TFA. Dr. Mitchell Robinson writes: “Teach for America uses its teaching program as a direct line into legislative assistant positions through the Capital Hill Fellows Program.” This is no coincidence on TFA & reformers’ parts. It is intentional through and through. For these fellowship teachers, entrance wages are ridiculously low, the newness pressures are exasperatingly high, and the non-union positions are precariously unprotected. The reward is that they can move on. Teaching is temporary. Never mind the tire tracks on the children’s backs.

Is this the environment that best serves America’s most vulnerable students?

Now, as a final consideration about the atrocious attrition rates associated with opening new charters, please consider the language in THIS CONTRACT. It is the EXECUTIVE SUMMARY OF PROPOSED INNOVATION NETWORK SCHOOL AGREEMENT BETWEEN PHALEN LEADERSHIP ACADEMY-INDIANA, INC. AND IPS [Indiana Public Schools] FOR OPERATION OF GEORGE FISHER AS INNOVATION NETWORK SCHOOL. This one sentence leapt out at me:

“In addition, given the importance of having staff experienced in implementing the Project: RESTORE model, if staff turnover exceeds 75 percent in any year, IPS may terminate the agreement.”

Am I the only one totally perturbed and disturbed by that number?? So, in actuality it is A-OKAY……for just shy of three-quarters of the entire school staff from top down and middle to middle, to turnover, creating chaos and churn. Never mind the time and energy resources to replace. Don’t worry about the training aspects, TFA and TNTP can carry that all off in five weeks. Don’t fret about the folks being from the community itself; they will be complete passers-by, stopping in for a brief stay and then headed out to the next time and place. Game board pieces with their marching orders.

FLIP THE TABLES!

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Education, Ohio, Public Schools, Schools

The Phantom of Phalen Learning Academies

The Phantom of Phalen Learning Academies: Part 1, Forming the Foundations

A-misty-phantom (1)

***Note: Links are in bold and faintly underlined***

Positioned atop of his self-made pinnacle of one of the most cult-like pyramiding schemes I have ever seen, is none other than Tom Vander Ark. But somehow he seems to go unnamed and unnoticed most of the time, misting about like a phantom in all aspects of ruinous reform.

phan·tomˈ fan(t)əm/ noun (Google definitions)
*a ghost. synonyms: ghost, apparition, spirit, specter, wraith
*a figment of the imagination.synonyms: delusion, figment of the imagination, hallucination, illusion, chimera, vision, mirage*denoting a financial arrangement or transaction that has been invented for fraudulent purposes but that does not really exist.modifier noun: phantom”he diverted an estimated $1,500,000 into “phantom” bank accounts”

In Ohio, I have more than learned, any time something related to education reform arises, that Tom and his profit-pointed poisons and, purposefully-packaged propaganda will be forming the fortunes in the foundation, working the middle-man-game like pros and gleaning the gold dust that seems to magically disappear into thin air.  His public school takeover plans or new charter start-ups are quite the practiced prescribed sales pitches. Through iNACOL and NACSA (and a score more of such groups), he uses heavily-lobbied-legislation which he templates and passes out like addictive-drug-laced-candy to the well-intentioned, the unaware, or the greedy.  A combination of these three sectors works the best for Tom’s charismatic churning up of yet another minefield of coffers for him and his collaborators. And, there are an extensive amount of the zombie-bitten ones on the public education deathship at this point. I know, I know, no one will wade through this (I certainly have not all the way, but rather have skimmed numerous times and I long for the time to go line by line through it and bring along all of the articles of related FAILURES, CHANGE-UPS and SCANDAL) but here is a 270 page paper that covers so much of Tom Vander Ark’s vision and the connections.

Through the scope of his financial engineering (Tom: “I’m an engineer by training, and moved into finance.”) Cincinnati has long been a target of Tom’s.  Yes, a long time, to answer Michelle Dillingham’s wonderings about how long they have been planning the takeover of taxpayers’ turf. Specifically, Mind Trust has been looking to set up their (scholarly-sounding) scheme for quite the while. In a manner similar to the buying and selling of fast-food chain restaurants, a formula has been finited and the exponential spread of the ‘brain-washed marching repeaters’ are ready to be strategically inserted into YOUR CHILD’s education world. They (Mind Trust and Tom Vander Ark) have been deviously developing this formula for privatization since 2006.

Tom Vander is the CEO of Getting Smart, and under that are all of his books, blogs, and hashtags by the same names: #SmartStates #SmartCities #SmartParents. This is one of the main ways he pumps his pompous unproven ideas. This is one of the hundreds upon hundreds of avenues from which he gets paid. It is all a huge hype for his one-man-show on how he (and all of his fortune-seeking followers) are going to set about to transform schools or get rich depending on which tongue Tom is using in the discussion.

Mind Trust and Cincinnati are discussed numerous times in the same articles in his tons of different blogs and tweets. Search it– you will immediately see.  I will give him this, he is OBSESSIVELY PROLIFIC and DETERMINED, but that does not make him any less WRONG, and at this point EVIL for all the irreparable demise that has come about in education realms.

His engineering degree was in mining. He writes about the barriers to completely overhauling education, and compares those barriers of experienced teachers, unions, local boards, legislation and so on as being “Gordian knots”. But he has bore through those barriers like he is using the largest mountain-tunneling machine ever built along with the similarities of using large amounts of dynamite to open up deep, dangerous shafts. Imagine the noise of such devices and the permanent scarring to the landscape. And yet, to my utter frustration and lack of understanding, he has done it all nearly as silently as though he were an apparition walking through walls. By this I mean there have been 100s of conferences leading into this current proposal push in Cincinnati, but we who are fighting to preserve PUBLIC education, seem to only hear about all of it when it is already a done deal. Most find it unbelieveable when I try to show all the areas Tom is haunting.

The next time I write about Vander Ark, I truly would like to really show in as full-blown of a manner as I can, how dastardly his omnipresence in Ohio has become. Each time I set out to write about how Tom is connected to and orchestrating so much of this reform, I become almost instantly overwhelmed with a sickening migraine. It is that much. It is that big. It is that nauseating. But, for the here and now, I am about to bombard the readers with as much as I can, as it will relate to the current Cincinnati cash clutch. Here is where it all is headed. This is what it will look and sound like. Not at all like the ‘MIND TWISTS’ they will paint for you as the future.   Just insert Cincinnati where you read Indianapolis.

“The Indianapolis Star tells us The Mind Trust is sticking its fingers in the affairs of our Indianapolis Public School system again. The nonprofit education group, which is nothing more than a front organization for wealthy education profiteers, is awarding two $50,000 grants to IPS to transform George Fisher School 93 and Cold Spring School into what is called “innovation network schools.” These schools are in fact charter schools operating for profit within the IPS district using our public school property and tax dollars to operate schools free from all of the burdens and regulations imposed on traditional public schools.”

“[IPS] to the Phalen Leadership Academy to operate its for-profit charter school using our public school property and tax dollars. You heard that right. As much as $3 million has been given to operate their for-profit charter school within the IPS network. Phalen’s hands aren’t tied by the collective bargaining agreement IPS has with its schools. Phalen pays nothing to use our public school building. The entire tab and then some is picked up by IPS. How’s that for driving a good bargain? Thanks to a state law passed by state lawmakers who accepted large campaign contributions from the very people who profit from charter schools, it’s all legal. Under an agreement IPS entered into with The Mind Trust, it will eventually convert 15%, or about nine schools altogether, into profit centers for these greedy bastards.”

“ All of the $100,000 paid to the two school in these grants will go to a group of consultants and attorneys who will work out the logistics of transitioning the schools into for-profit places of learning according to The Mind Trust’s spokesman, Steve Campbell, another political crony of former Mayor Bart Peterson. Naturally, there is no disclosure in advance to whom those consulting and legal fees will be paid. Don’t be surprised if it includes people listed on the campaign finance reports of the best school board money can buy. This IPS board doesn’t approve anything unless there’s something in it for their political cronies.” (taken from the comments section)

“With $1.19M in surplus revenue and an 84.7% margin in 2013, Phalen Leadership Academy-indiana Inc. was profitable.”

I could go on and on for great lengths of time establishing the FOR-PROFIT side of all of this. I want to wrap this piece up by shedding light in one or two more dark and dank dreads of going forward with this Cincinnati. So, please skim through this 24 page pdf: Boosting Impact: Why Foundations Should Invest in Education Venture Funds.” Getting Smart, March 2014.   It is Tom speaking in his non-child-concerned true voice. It is the language of the lust for money. It is mind mining. Written to those who have money and want more money. By the time it all gets to the public, it is donning a shimmery, sugary sheath of ‘save the children’.  But underneath is an ugly specter looking to suck the very souls from our schools. Enter the Eerie Era of Educational Entrepreneurships.
The Phalen Phantom strikes again and again.

The Phantom of Phalen Learning Academies: Part 2, Working the Middle-Man-Game Like Pros

The Phantom of Phalen Learning Academies: Part 3, Gleaning the Gold Dust that Seems to Magically Disappear Into Thin Air

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50 Days of Worth of Blogs about ‘Tornadic’ Tom Vander Ark: Day 3

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*links are in bold print (free blogs, it is hard to distinguish the links from regular text)

Yesterday I wrote about ‘virtual rabbit holes’. Here is a quote from Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass: ‘So I wasn’t dreaming, after all,’ she said to herself, ‘unless — unless we’re all part of the same dream. Only I do hope it’s my dream, and not the Red King’s! I don’t like belonging to another person’s dream,’ she went on in a rather complaining tone: ‘I’ve a great mind to go and wake him, and see what happens!’

I’ve no idea what Tom Vander Ark’s dream might be…but I don’t know how very much people are going to like being a part of his dream. I have a feeling that it has a number of dollar signs swirling all around in it.

When I was in college as a non-trad about 7 years back, I found it astounding that in 3 of my classes, they discussed Walmart. (For the record Walmarts have always gagged me out and now even all the more so with their overstepping interference in education). My history and micro-economics textbooks both had very significant entire sections devoted to the chain store; my geography professor loved using his own maps of growth patterns for the retail’s rampant growth. Read an interesting version of Walmart history here and view gif maps of the exponential spread of ‘SamSameness’ everywhere! All three classes spoke to the the unique concept of buying in huge, almost unheard of bulk (warehouses were built even before stores), and starting those stores in Arkansas. Priorly the West Coast or New York and the New England states were where retail chains would spawn from.

So, as I was thinking of the list I have to offer today, the question WHY nagged at me. Why would Tom Vander Ark belong to such a ridiculous amount of Boards. Why would there be such a vast amount of links to links and more links upon links. Why do I cringe the more I read and learn of him. It is an easy answer and one that will be explored throughout this journaling journey. Its ALL ABOUT THE MONEY! Period the end!

What if a person wanted to replicate that level of an entrepreneur’s dream?  What if he wanted a virtual TomMart (I made that name up) along with the billions in profit  for his family? He’d need connections right? Lots and lots of connections.
Sure that is what one would need. A COLLECTION OF CONNECTIONS. How about these ones? Let’s start at the top and work our way down, shall we?. It’ll never be complete here on these pages; not in 50 blogs – not in 500. And I will run it as a dry list for now…but will revisit many of the connections in their own blog sections.

Was the Executive Director of Education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation,
Jeb Bush,
FEE,
Sal Khan,
Previously he served as President of the X PRIZE Foundation,
he founded City Prep Academies- a for-profit organization intended to create and operate charter schools (Tom said the group was financed by $1.5 million from Revolution Learning ( a venture fund where Tom is a managing partner),
Vander Ark’s for-profit Open Education Solutions,
(and under that OpenPlan and OpenLearn),
treasurer for iNACOL (International Association of K-12 Online Learning),
partner in Vander Ark/Ratcliff ( an education public affairs firm),
Director for Edmodo,
National Association of Charter School Authorizer (NACSA),
on the Board of Directors for AdvancePath Academics,
CEO/Partner and founder of GettingSmart.com., / Founder & Executive Editor of GettingSmart.com
partner in Learn Capital (a venture capital firm investing in learning content, platforms, and services with the goal of transforming educational engagement, access, and effectivenes),
Board Chair for Charter Board Partners (helps great schools find great board members) ,
director of Digital Learning Institute,
Director of  Imagination Foundation,
Director of Strive for College,
Director of Bloomboard,
Boston Consulting Group (BCG),
national advisory board member for Communities In Schools,
national advisory board member WITH Wendy Kopp for New Classrooms Innovation Partners ,
Managing Partner Revolution Learning,
invests in Edu-entrepreneurs,
e2venture Education Entrepreneurs,
Partner at Learn Capital, LLC.,
board member of  EduInnovation, board of LA’s Promise,
edsurge.com,
Investment Partner in StudySync,
Advisory Board of Democrats for Education Reform,
recent speaker for Microsoft Global Education Partner Summit,
Jossey-Bass Education (he is their site author)
Founder of Internet Academy  (IA or iAcademy) is a public virtual school a part of Federal Way Public Schools
CityBridge NewSchools Education Innovation Foundation – Thought Partner (see other partners)
NewSchools Venture Fund
etc etc etc etc

So, I suppose the virtual furniture department of the TomMart  has enough chairs for this blog.
I am quite sure there are way more…..he is like an iconic Coca-Cola sign hanging on the Boards to which he lends his name and plays his game.

I DO NOT WANT TO BE A PART OF THIS MAN’S DREAMS.

I DO NOT WANT MY GRANDCHILDREN PART OF THIS MAN’S DREAMS.

I DO NOT EVEN KNOW YOU AND I DO NOT WANT YOU PART OF THIS MAN’S DREAMS.

Dreams…..shit…..this is the stuff nightmares are made of…….. we may as well go head and exchange out all public school desks for blue shopping carts… the TomMarts are being built everywhere.

‘I’ve a great mind to go and wake [OTHERS], and see what happens!’


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50 Days Worth of Blogs About ‘Tornadic’ Tom Vander Ark: Day 1

Tornadic

*Bolded words are hyperlinks!

All of this started benignly enough when I saw a Tweet from a PUBLIC SCHOOL that immediately reeked of reform. Its unpleasant perfume of profiteering and privatizing lept out at me and caused an immediate instinctual alarm. Here was the post on Twitter that set my research into overload mode:

RT @LisaDuty1: Five Trends Demand Smart States http://gettingsmart.com/…/…/five-trends-demand-smart-states/ … @tvanderark @Getting_Smart ‪#SmartCities‬ ‪#SmartStates

And here was what just typed right out of me in shock and earnest concern:

@ReynSchools @LisaDuty1 @tvanderark @Getting_Smart .whoooaaaa whoooaaa whooaaa why is Reyn PUBLIC schools pushing promoting PRIVATIZATION?

I had never heard of Tom Vander Ark. I am fairly new ( 2 1/2 years now) at advocating for our children in PUBLIC schools. But, as part of the leadership team for the Badass Teachers Association, I am blessed to be able to run to the 50 other wise folks who have been education activists for decades, and I can always get an answer. After quickly posting a hasty warning in the Reynoldsburg community group, and in Ohio BATs, I rushed into what we affectionately refer to as the “cave” and asked who was this TOM character. I think it was the first time it ever happened…not a single one had ever heard of him. I was shocked, because what I had initially pulled up on the internet about this fellow, showed me that he had been on the scene a longtime. As a matter of fact he can probably claim some kind of cheesy plastic pretend trophy award for being one of the first NON-EDUCATOR BUSINESS BARONs to storm the Gates (pun intended) of the public schools. This entrance as a superintendent of a school in Washington for five years was his ‘foot in the door’ and since that time he has run pell-mell all over education sectors in the United States and Europe, with Paul Bunyan-size clomping boots, leaving a twisted strewn path behind him. 

For a solid week now, I have been able to do nothing it seems but to put together an understanding of this self-designed door-to-door salesman. I have fifteen separate pages (topics) in One-note filled to the gills with lists and links. And, trust me it is tricky to wade through the swamp of Vander Ark’s prolific sales pitches. He claims to write 500 words a day in his many blog arenas. Its disturbing how much Tom Vander Ark writes about Tom Vander Ark and links everything to Tom Vander Ark’s partnerships upon the recommendation of Tom Vander Ark. He very purposely paints a virtual image of himself. He is very practiced and positioned as the perfect panderer. He has branded himself well and probably Googles himself several times a day. Seriously, while researching him, Carly Simon’s famous choral line kept popping into my mind— “You’re so vain, you probably think this song is about you, don’t you…”

I felt such a compelling burden to expose this man for what he truly is, that I could not wait to compress my research and write a blog piece that would have nearly every other word as a link. But anyone who knows me, knows I am far too long-winded to pop out a blurb. I relay information with full vivid details; the sensations, sights, sounds and smells if you will, matter to me as much as the facts. I decided to torque down the manic speed a bit, and to take the readers on a much lengthier tour of the Tom Vander Ark’s ensnaring egotistical empire. 

Mercedes Schneider called Tom Vander Ark an “opportunist” in her fact-filled fury-fueled pieceJeff Bryant called him an “Edu-business Poster Boy” in an articleRobert D. Skeels rattled off a couple of fitting descriptors in his rightful rant including “charlatan”, and “flimflammer.” A commenter by the name of ‘nitko’, on the same Schools Matter article, said: 

Vander Ark is proven self-serving bloodsucker, feeding off the taxpayer.


He is a human tick. 


Nothing more.

I will call him out as a conniving collector, an advantageous angle-worker, and as one hidden right out in the open—
thieving from our children in the bright of the day.

I will trounce as best as I am able on the Tail of this Trickster Tornado, TOM VANDER ARK!

Kelly Ann Braun ^0^

opportunist

 

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What About Students, Parents and Teachers?

brave-new-world-20_1406314i

Ohio BAT Greg Mild, who writes for PLUNDERBUND, is top-notch at presenting deep, connecting truths related to education in Ohio. Though this article about charter school millionaire William Lager, is a little over a year old, the information is still needing to reach many eyes and understanding. Bruce Knecht, also a BAT, commented under a thread where the ECOT article was posted. He had these truths and context connectors to share about the “for-profit”-charter-take-over-syndrome:

“The case of William Lager is typical of what has been occurring during the current era of “education reform.” Let me offer a view of the broader context in which this is occurring. The present version of education reform is the product of a convergence of forces, representing a conjunction of political and economic power, that have vested interests in seeing that the reform agenda (more charters, CCSS, more standardized tests, higher stakes attached to those tests, etc.) is implemented.

Budget allocations of state and federal departments of education must be protected.
Political and bureaucratic control must be exerted over public schools.
Elected politicians must raise large sums to contend in the next election cycle.
Corporate profits must keep growing, which entails that more and more taxpayer dollars intended for public schools are transferred into the coffers of corporate vendors (Pearson, ECOT, et. al.) even as funding for schools is cut.

This creates a network of symbiotic relationships (an education-industrial complex) among government bureaucrats, politicians, corporations, and the private investment community which serves the essential interests of all the players in the game. What about students, parents, and teachers? They are simply not counted as players in the game – until now they have been effectively shut out of the process.

This is a “reform” effort that is driven entirely by elites, the net effect of which is to create a system of perverse incentives. It is in the interests of the players in this game to maintain the problems of education, not to solve them! In so doing, they keep a mutually beneficial game going. Of course, they must create the appearance that solutions are being sought (involvement without efficacy). Thus, just as it is imperative to find (fabricate?) a clear and present national security threat in order to maintain the military-industrial complex, it is necessary to sustain the narrative of failing public schools in order to promote the growth of the education-industrial complex.

The concomitant weakening of the public school system can provide still further justification for the urgent pursuit of “education reform.”

Welcome to the Brave New World of American Education!”

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