Murdoch’s Wireless Gen. and EdisonLearning Donated Money to Tony Bennett

dirty handsThis is a guest post by B-town Errant contributor, Doug Martin. This post was originally published on Mr. Martin’s blog on Fire Dog Lake, and has been republished on B-Town Errant with his permission.

As the Indiana State Board of Education decides to hand over Indiana’s so-called “failing” schools to EdisonLearningCharter Schools USA, and Rupert Murdoch’s Wireless Generation today, it is important to note that both Edison and Wireless Generation have donated to Education Reform Idol Indiana supt. of public instruction Tony Bennett’s campaign chest. In fact, Wireless Gen. even lavished money on Mitch Daniels and Indiana Republicans, the month before Murdoch acquired the company.

Freshly clabbered by public school advocates like Leonie Haimson, Diane Ravitch, and others in New York City, and thus losing out on a $27 million contract with the schools, Wireless Gen. will now “partner” with the New Teacher Project (whose CEO is Ariela Rozman, who also sits on the board of Indy’s corporate reform group, the Mind Trust) to run Washington Community High School in Indianapolis. EdisonLearning is taking over a school in Gary.

For 2009-2010, Bennett’s donors are both local and national corporate school reform players, and many of them also funded him in 2008:

EdisonLearning: $2,000

Wireless Generation: $1,000

James Bopp, Jr.:  $250 (corporate lawyer of Citizens United; used his Terre Haute law firm’s mailbox tofunnel millions of Amway-Besty DeVos’ American Federation for Children money to “school reformers” in Indiana and throughout the country)

Bopp Coleson, and Bostrom: $2,500 (law firm of James Bopp, Jr.)

Therese Rooney: $10,000 (daughter of J. Patrick Rooney, the man who started the Educational CHOICE Charitable Trust and was a national leader in the voucher movement)

Patrick Byrne: $5,000 (

Luke Messer:  $175 (School Choice Indiana)

Heather Neal: $150 (works at IDOE)

David Shane: $150, (member of Indiana Board of Ed.  Wife Anne, now a trustee at Ivy Tech, worked for the Mind Trust)

Connections Academy: $2,000 (online school)

Education Networks of America: $2,000 (Tennessee network which connections Indiana public school corporations.  Operates in several states)

Hoosiers for Economic Growth: $5,000 (front group behind Indiana school “reform”)

McGraw-Hill: $3,000 (mega-book and testing company which oversees ISTEP+ testing in Indiana)

Apangea Learning: $1,000 (online tutoring company which has a contract with IDOE)

Education Services of America: $1,000 (has a contract with East Allen County Schools to use their Ombudsman Educational Services for at-risk students)

Robert Enlow: $500 (runs Milton Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice)

Rollin Dick: $150 (consultant with MH Equity Investors, a private equity investing group, formerly of Conseco, works for charter operator, the GEO Foundation)

Thanks to Jane Ruppel Nicholls for pointing me to this new Follow the Money list.

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