The Crony Corruption of the Indiana Charter School Board: Mining Kids for Cash

photo by Andrew Kuznetsov photo by Andrew Kuznetsov
photo by Andrew Kuznetsov photo by Andrew Kuznetsov

photo by Andrew Kuznetsov

(The following is a letter Doug Martin recently sent to the Indiana Charter School Board, which is now taking comments concerning their corporate school reform agenda.  Take the opportunity to email them and let them know you do not approve of selling our kids off to the privatizers invading our state. Their email address is charter-applications@doe.in.gov.  It is perhaps no exaggeration to compare this “discovery” of the education market that state legislatures are opening up to a kind of gold rush.  Be advised that veins are tapped out and that mines have a tendency to subside when abandoned.)

Dear Public School Apostates:

I stand opposed to your board invading local communities with your Milton Friedman Foundation-produced propaganda and pseudoscience, attempting to dupe parents into selling their kids off to the corporate school reformers. Quite frankly, I find the Indiana Charter School Board unconstitutional, an offense to Hoosier common sense, and downright disgusting.

Your leadership is corrupt; a who’s who of crony minions undermining public control of schools only to open the doors of profit to your masters.

Bart Peterson crony Claire Fiddian-Green has sat on the board of KIPP Indy, a for-profit dropout factory once visited by hedge fund operator Whitney Tilson from the Democrats for Education Reform, a front group hoping to profit handsomely from charging interest on loans to charter schools and writing these loans off as tax deductions.

Fiddian-Green recently left the corporate school outfit and Jane Pauley-supported Mind Trust to direct your board. Since Eli Lilly has been donating to the destruction of our public schools in Indiana, Fiddian-Green’s previous position as a senior analyst in Eli Lilly’s Corporate Finance Investment Banking group is also troubling. What role does Lilly’s banking group expect to play in the charter school movement? Fiddian-Green’s work  as a grant officer for the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation, which gave then-Indy Mayor and Wall Street Democrat Bart Peterson’s charter school movement $1.6 million and now finances the Mind Trust, shows her total disrespect for Hoosier children.

M. Karega Rausch, from Stand for Children, has no place on any board in this state, after it become public knowledge that this front group’s national leader Jonah Edelman and a few hedge fund managers bought off the Illinois Democrats to pass their corporate school reform agenda and then had the arrogance to brag about it.

By representing the Bill Gates-Eli Lilly online learning outfit, WGU, Scott Jenkins has proven himself a traitor and must be replaced. Bill Gates has thrown millions of dollars into destroying and privatizing public schools, and even now has a plan with Fox News’s Rupert Murdoch’s Wireless Generation to do some more damage.

Funders of Tony Bennett’s campaign, Wireless Generation is now on-board at Kevin Teasley’s GEO charters. Besides the parent-protests and investigations into Teasley’s charter outfit, it’s important to point out that Teasley began his corporate school reform gig with Mark Block, Herman Cain’s embarrassing presidential campaign spokesperson and the smoker in Cain’s recent TV ad.  As I’ve detailed before, in 1997 Teasley—then American Education Reform Foundation president— and Indiana CHOICE voucher promoter J. Patrick Rooney were investigated by the Wisconsin election board for working with Block, the campaign manager for the re-election of school voucher supporting Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Jon Wilcox. Although Teasley was let off the hook, he supposedly raised over $10,000 for Wilcox’s campaign after he wrote letters to voucher backers.

Investigations and charter schools go hand-in-hand. The FBI’s recent probe nationally of the Daniels’ supported Gulen charter schools is just the tip of the iceberg.  How many new charters from the Gulen group does the Indiana Charter School Board plan to “approve?”

We don’t need Gulen, Kevin Teasley, Daniels’ buddy Dennis Bakke, Jeb Bush’s bedfellow Jonthan Hage, etc. in Indiana, and we don’t need Scott Jenkins.

William Shrewsberry’s activity with the corporate school reform Mind Trust board disqualifies him for public office.

Todd Huston profits from products sold to K-12  schools, and he, too, needs set out to pasture  before he makes products out of all of our children. His sitting on the board of  HoosierED.com, sponsored by the sellouts at the U of Indy’s CELL, also renders him unfit for speaking on behalf of anyone in this state. Not to mention he was employed by Bennett and the IDOE up until 2010 and once sat on Daniels’ uneducated state board of education, notorious for plagiarizers and prostitutes of the Business Roundtable’s school privatizing agenda.

And no bigger conflict of interest exists than having Jamie Garwood on your board, since she’s been behind the movement to wiggle more charter schools into Fort Wayne for several years now. As the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette pointed out, the only Indiana paper to do so, the State Ethics Commission recently ruled that since Garwood is also employed with the Urban League she cannot participate in discussions concerning their charter school scam in the city.  But this is not enough.  She needs deleted from this corporate charter school board altogether.

In 2008, a judge declared Jeb Bush’s charter school board as unconstitutional.  The whole scheme was filled with cronyism and handouts to freeloading corporate school reformers from the get-go.

Your board, redolent of Bush rot, is filled with too many friends of the groups out to wipe public education off the Indiana map. There is too much Florida in Indiana now, and Florida is a mess. This crony board needs dismantled and stripped of any and all legal right to operate in the Hoosier state.

Doug Martin

 

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A Walt Whitman scholar, Doug Martin is the author of the upcoming Hoosier School Heist to be published this year by Brooks Publications. His teaching experience has covered K-graduate school. His exposures of corporate education reform have appeared or been referenced in Diane Ravitch's Blog, Washington Post Answer Sheet blog, the Associated Press, Schools Matter, Parents Across America blog, Charter School Scandals, Susan Ohanian's Testing Atrocities and Outrages, @ The Chalk Face, The Huntington Teacher, KochWatch.org, Peg with Pen, the NPR/State Impact Florida, NPR/State Impact Indiana, the Pulp (Broward-Palm Beach New Times), Big Education Ape, School Matters (Indiana), A Teacher's Fight, Northeast Indiana Friends of Public Education blog, NUVO, the Indianapolis Star, Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, Scathing Purple Musings, Terre Haute's Tribune Star, the Times of Northwest Indiana, the Post-Tribune, HoosierEd.com, and Firedoglake, among others. Doug currently blogs at Jim Horn's Schools Matter (http://www.schoolsmatter.info/). You can find more of Doug's writings at: http://my.firedoglake.com/dougmartin

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