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

Saturday, June 11, 2011

More Investment Opportunities in Education!

Charter schools are bringing in the big boys of both the banking and tennis worlds!
There are big ideas, and then there are Big Ideas.
Building a $40 million college-preparatory charter school from the ground up in less than a decade? That's a big idea.
Investing hundreds of millions in new schools for 40,000 students nationwide? That's a Big Idea -- one born of a partnership between tennis great and local charter-school developer Andre Agassi and Bobby Turner, chairman and chief executive of Canyon Capital Realty Advisors in Los Angeles.
Agassi and Turner will announce to day that they're launching the Canyon-Agassi Charter School Facilities Fund, an investment group designed to help some of the nation's 5,400 charter schools and their 1.7 million students find permanent school buildings.
The partners already have drawn investments from Citigroup and Intel, through its Intel Capital investment subsidiary. The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, a Kansas City-based entrepreneurship think tank, has signed on as well. Canyon-Agassi executives say they've received commitments that, combined with a "moderate amount of leverage," will finance $500 million in new building or retrofitted space for 75 top-performing charters and 40,000 students nationwide. Because of securities regulations, the partners declined to discuss specifics on investment time horizons, amounts and other details.
Pesky details...

Honestly, this is getting out of control. It's bad enough we have to have Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg and Oprah Winfrey setting education policy, but now we have to take our cues from this guy?

Understand something, folks: these people are looking to make money in a market that consists entirely of taxpayer dollars. They are the functional equivalent of defense contractors. They are driven by a profit motive, no matter how many platitudes they shovel out...

Wait a minute - they aren't even sugar-coating it anymore:
"It's a big learning curve from an operational perspective. We didn't really get it right until three years ago," Agassi said. "Operators have to go through so many hard lessons. I was fortunate enough to raise a lot of money to make up for my mistakes. The fact that I can take that experience and identify partners who know how to cure problems as opposed to treating them -- it's living a dream."
Turner has experienced his own charter school frustrations.
Turner is on the board of the Pacific Charter School Development Corp., a California charity that helps charter schools find and finance facilities. In Turner's six years with the corporation, the group has helped 37 charters serving 15,000 students find space. But with 30,000 youngsters sitting on charter school waiting lists in California, Turner "realized how big of a failure we were."
"Here I am, struggling after five or six years of building schools, and we hadn't done much to scale the issue," Turner said.
But Turner had an epiphany while reading Agassi's 2009 autobiography, "Open." The book charted Agassi's professional and personal life and included a discussion of his experiences with Agassi Prep. Turner, who has partnered with basketball great Earvin "Magic" Johnson since 2001 to invest nearly $2 billion in urban residential and commercial projects nationwide, thought Agassi might have a few good ideas.
"We were both dwelling on our failures, and it takes that kind of DNA to really be successful in this business," Turner said. "Whenever you deal with a novel business model, you have to educate traditional capital."
Silly me - I thought schools were about educating kids!!!!

Go through the entire loathsome article and find me any quote that remotely suggests that these people are putting the education of children first and foremost in their plans. Go ahead - I dare you. They aren't even pretending this is about anything other than money.

This is disgusting, and it has to be stopped.

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