I will protect your pensions. Nothing about your pension is going to change when I am governor. - Chris Christie, "An Open Letter to the Teachers of NJ" October, 2009

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Why Are We Listening To Joel Klein?

If Ben and Jerry chaired a task force that concluded that American children needed more rich, chocolaty swirls in their diets, would anyone take them seriously?

So why does anyone care about what Joel Klein has to say about education? The man is paid millions to make Rupert Murdoch boatloads of money off of the privatization of American schools. Guess what his prescription for our made up eduction problems is?
The Klein-Rice report makes three broad recommendations to fix the stated problem.
It calls for:
* expanding the Common Core State Standard initiative to include subjects beyond math and English Language Arts;
* an expansion of charter schools and vouchers
* an annual “national security readiness audit” that would look at how schools are addressing the country’s needs through increased foreign language programs, technology curriculum and more.
The report cites lots of statistics that paint public schools in the worst possible light, and continues the trend of comparing America’s educational system with that of high-achieving countries — but doesn’t note that these countries generally don’t do the kinds of things these reformers endorse. Its recommendations would lead to further privatization of public schools and even more emphasis onstandardized testing. [emphasis mine]
In this post, Valerie Strauss rightly points out that Klein's vaunted "success" in New York City under Generalissimo Bloomberg was an illusion. He should be ashamed to show his face near a school; instead, he's putting out reports that offer America plans to buy more of the useless techie junk his company is going to spit out.

The political structure and corporate media in this country have been scarfing the corporate reform line like my wife ate Cherry Garcia when she was eight months pregnant. No one has challenged these people, so they grow increasingly brazen. In a rational world, Klein would have been embarrassed to put his name on a report that is so blatantly tilted toward his own interests.

Of course, in a rational world, no one would have ever put these people together in the same room and let them discuss schools:

Here’s the complete list of committee members. Five of the members have astericks by their names, indicating that they wrote dissents to the report.
Carole Artigiani*, Global Kids, Inc; Craig R. Barrett, Intel Corporation; Richard Barth, KIPP Foundation; Edith L. Bartley, United Negro College Fund; Gaston Caperton, The College Board; Linda Darling-Hammond*, Stanford University; Jonah M. Edelman, Stand for Children; Roland Fryer Jr., Harvard University; Ann M. Fudge; Ellen V. Futter*, American Museum of Natural History; Preston M. Geren, Sid W. Richardson Foundation; Louis V. Gerstner Jr.; Allan E. Goodman, Institute of International Education; Frederick M. Hess, American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research; Shirley Ann Jackson, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; Joel I. Klein, News Corporation; Wendy Kopp, Teach For America; Jeffrey T. Leeds, Leeds Equity Partners, LLC; Julia Levy, Culture Craver; Michael L. Lomax, United Negro College Fund; Eduardo J.PadrĂ³n, Miami Dade College; Matthew F. Pottinger, China Six LLC; Laurene Powell Jobs, Emerson Collective; Condoleezza Rice, Stanford University; Benno C. Schmidt, Avenues: The World School; Stanley S. Shuman, Allen& Company LLC; Leigh Morris Sloane, Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs; Margaret Spellings, Margaret Spellings and Company, Stephen M. Walt*, Harvard Kennedy School; Randi Weingarten*, American Federation of Teachers.
Good for Linda, Randi, and the three others; although maybe the better move would have been to shun this nonsense in the first place.


Anonymous said...

Excellent post. My husband was screaming with laughter over your Ben & Jerry analogy!

Anonymous said...

Why are we listening to Joel Klein? Because he is a millionaire (it's been reported that he gets 4 million a year for his current gig) and his employer is a billionaire robber baron oligarch. The media is largely knee-jerk pro charter schools and anti-union, anti-public schools. They are just way too uncritical of the Joel Kleins and Michelle Rhees.

Duke said...

Thx for that - glad I gave hubby a laugh!

Anon #2: funny how $ gives you instant credibility, ain't it?