“FOR PROFIT” EDUCATION–A FAMILY AFFAIR?

The “Right” seems ready to “Privatize” everything. Remember that President George W. Bush stressed the importance of (partially) Privatizing Social Security, during his 2004 State of the Union Address–just a few years before the U.S. Economy started to slide into The Great Recession (2007 to 2009). Just think of the Panic that would have set-in if your 401(k), your home value, AND…your Social Security were all devastated in that Melt-Down? More recently, Republicans are espousing the privatization of Medicare, as cited in Congressman Paul R. Ryan’s (R-WI) last budget proposals.

More recently, many Republican Statehouses have been trying to spread privatization throughout local school systems, via charter schools The charters’ corporate management would make the decisions, set the agenda and basically control the syllabus. Also, a profit has to be carved-out of the funding to reward the shareholders. Much of the funding for charters comes from the local school systems.

NCLB directs states to: create accountability systems, both for the schools and students, and enable local systems to start Charter Schools. President Bush started working toward NCLB when he first entered office, and he signed into Law in 2001. Also, School Vouchers have been included in the For-Profit Education Mix.

After President Bush signed NCLB, which provided certain funding to better serve disadvantaged students, his brother, Neil Bush started Excite! Leaning, a company that marketed portable learning centers to school systems, http://www.commondreams.org/cgi-bin/print.cgi?file=/headlines06/1022-02.htm. Excite! is/was partially owned by President George H.W. and Barbara Bush. Neil is, perhaps, best-known as a former Director of the failed Siverado Savings, which cost the U.S. Government $1 Billion. (NOTE: I am uncertain as to whether Excite! Learning still exists since I could not find it on the Internet. Neil Bush, however, seems to be on to other pursuits.)

And, Former Governor Jeb Bush (R-FL) has established a nonprofit, Foundation for Excellence in Education (FEE), which some claim serves as a conduit for corporate cash to make education policy. Reputedly affiliated with A.L.E.C., FEE appears, on its own web site, http://excelined.org/, to be an advocate of Conservative Views on Education, and has Model Legislation in the works, apparently for implementing these programs in the various states.

A recent fact sheet from “Schools Matter” provides a somewhat negative viewpoint of FEE, http://www.schoolsmatter.info/2013/02/how-jeb-bush-fee-became-conduit-for.html. The basic assertion is that FEE acts as an advocate for the vendors, which help finance it, in its efforts to provide template legislation to States that are receptive to the products. Presumably, the resultant legislation would benefit FEE’s corporate donors.

NOTE: In a coming Blog Post, I will focus on the For-Profit Education Mix: standardized testing; charter schools and vouchers.

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