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The Crony Capitalist War of greed against U.S. Public Education

14 Mar

There are several forms of Capitalism in use throughout the world. Economics Help.org defines them and reports that Crony Capitalism is what’s used in the United States. The Age of Crony Capitalism says, “For most of US history, crony capitalism has been in a struggle with free-market capitalism for the heart and soul of the American economy.  For the past half century, crony capitalism has been gaining the upper hand.”

In addition, Dr. Gary G. Kohls of Global Resaerch.ca says, “The 12 years of unrestrained crony capitalism during the anti-democracy mis-leadership of Republican presidents Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush tricked most of us into naively believing in their fraudulent ‘Trickle-down Economics’.”

Crony Capitalism is a term used to refer to the situation where business success is related to strategic influences with civil servants, politicians and those in authority. It could be used to refer to situations in early twentieth century U.S. where business leaders had to buy off politicians in return for favors (e.g. in popular media: Citizen Kane). Arguably a degree of crony capitalism occurs in countries like China, South Korea and Latin America. The power of the Mafia in Italy is also an example of crony capitalism.

The other forms of capitalism mentioned by Economics Help.org are: Turbo Capitalism (also known as unrestrained capitalism or free market capitalism), Responsible Capitalism, Popular Capitalism, Advanced Capitalism and State Capitalism. Visit the site to learn about the differences. I read them all and I think the two that are highlighted in this paragraph are the best choices for the most people.

Timeline for Crony Capitalist's War Against Public Education

In the corporate war against public education—known also as education reform leading to school choice, corporate charter schools and school vouchers—what reports do not support the Crony Capitalist reform movement?

The 1966 Coleman Report—Instead of proving that the quality of schools is the most important factor in a student’s academic success—as its sponsors had expected—the report written by the sociologist James S. Coleman of Johns Hopkins University found that a child’s family background and the school’s socioeconomic makeup are the best predictors. … A better summary of the findings, from Gordon M. Ambach’s perspective, is: Family and socioeconomic backgrounds are so important that it’s difficult for schools to overcome them.


In 1966, the Coleman Report highlighted the impact of poverty on student achievement. In this installment of the Mini-Moments with Big Thinkers series, policy faculty member Jeffrey Henig argues that it’s time to recognize that schools alone cannot ensure that all students succeed equally.

The 1983 report under the Reagan Administration known as A Nation at Risk was characterized by its authors as “an open letter to the American people.” The report called for elected officials, educators, parents, and students to reform a public school system it described as “in urgent need of improvement.” That need for improvement was based on numerous statistics listed in the report that the commission said showed the inadequate quality of American education. The authors ominously cautioned that the data showed the nation was at risk and expressed grave concern that our “once unchallenged pre-eminence in commerce, industry, science, and technological innovation is being overtaken by competitors throughout the world.

The 1990 Sandia Report proves that A Nation at Risk was wrong and reveals what was actually happening:

  • Between 1975 and 1988, average SAT scores went up or held steady for every student subgroup.
  • Between 1977 and 1988, math proficiency among seventeen-year-olds improved slightly for whites, notably for minorities.
  • Between 1971 and 1988, reading skills among all student subgroups held steady or improved.
  • Between 1977 and 1988, in science, the number of seventeen-year-olds at or above basic competency levels stayed the same or improved slightly.
  • Between 1970 and 1988, the number of twenty-two-year-old Americans with bachelor degrees increased every year; the United States led all developed nations in 1988.

Then in 2000, Pearson, the British publishing giant, spends $2.5 billion on an American testing company while spending millions aggressively lobbying the states and the U.S. Congress to make testing a vital element of school reform in the United States. – POLITICO Pro: No profit left behind

One year later, The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), based on the fraud of A Nation at Risk, and ignoring the results of the Coleman and Sandia Reports, becomes law.

NCLB required states, school districts, and schools to ensure all students (something that no country on the earth has ever achieved to this day) are proficient in grade-level math and reading by 2014. States define grade-level performance. Schools must make “adequate yearly progress” toward this goal, whereby proficiency rates increase in the years leading up to 2014. The rate of increase required is chosen by each state. In order for a school to make adequate yearly progress (AYP), it must meet its targets for student reading and math proficiency each year. A state’s total student proficiency rate and the rate achieved by student subgroups are all considered in the AYP determination.

Schools that fail to make adequate yearly progress for two consecutive years are identified for “school improvement,” and must draft a school improvement plan, devote at least 10 percent of federal funds provided under Title I of NCLB to teacher professional development. Schools that fail to make AYP for a third year are identified for corrective action, and must institute interventions designed to improve school performance from a list specified in the legislation. Schools that fail to make AYP for a fourth year are identified for restructuring, which requires more significant interventions. If schools fail to make AYP for a fifth year, they much implement a restructuring plan that includes reconstituting school staff and/or leadership, changing the school’s governance arrangement, converting the school to a charter, turning it over to a private management company, or some other major change.

School districts in which a high percentage of schools fail to make AYP for multiple years can also be identified for school improvement, corrective action, and restructuring.

The 2009 Race to the Top is a $4.35 billion United States Department of Education competitive grant created to spur and reward innovation and reforms in state and local district K-12 education. … Race to the Top is one contributing factor to 48 states that have adopted common standards for K-12. … Although the vast majority of states have competed to win the grants, Race to the Top has also been criticized by politicians, policy analysts, thought leaders and educators. Teachers’ unions argued that state tests are an inaccurate way to measure teacher impact, despite the fact that learning gains on assessments is only one component of the evaluation systems. Conservatives complained that it imposes federal overreach on state schools, and others argued that charter schools weaken public education.

From A Nation at Risk, No Child Left Behind and Race to the Topstill ignoring the 1966 Coleman Report and the 1990 Sandia Report, and the fact that no country has ever been successful with all children—comes the 2010 Common Core State Standards and the CCSS punishment based standardized testing used to rank teachers by student test scores and then fire teachers and close public schools turning our children over to the for profit, mostly corporate Charter private sector where Crony Capitalists profit off of our children.

You may find a Summary of the Common Core State Standards at Advocates for Academic Freedom.org

Who are the biggest financial supporters of the Common Core State Standards and the agenda to use standardized test results to rank, fire public school teachers and then close public schools while opening the door to Crony Capitalists who own the corporate Charters?

The Washington Post reveals How Bill Gates pulled off the swift Common Core revolution. “The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation didn’t just bankroll the development of what became known as the Common Core State Standards. With more than $200 million, the foundation also built political support across the country, persuading state governments to make systemic and costly changes.”

Dissent Magazine.org reported that “hundreds of private philanthropies together spend almost $4 billion annually to support or transform K–12 education, most of it directed to schools that serve low-income children (only religious organizations receive more money). But three funders—the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Eli and Edythe Broad (rhymes with road) Foundation, and the Walton Family Foundation—working in sync, command the field.

One last thought—The Economic Policy Institute (I urge you to click the link and read the rest) reported that “there is broad agreement among statisticians, psychometricians, and economists that student test scores alone are not sufficiently reliable and valid indicators of teacher effectiveness to be used in high-stakes personnel decisions, even when the most sophisticated statistical applications such as value-added modeling are employed.”

Who benefits? Who loses?

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

Runner Up in Biography/Autobiogrpahy
2015 Florida Book Festival

Crazy-is-Normal-a-classroom-expose-200x300

Honorable Mention in Biography/Autobiography
2015 Los Angeles Book Festival
2014 Southern California Book Festival
2014 New England Book Festival
2014 London Book Festival

His third book is Crazy is Normal, a classroom exposé, a memoir. “Lofthouse presents us with grungy classrooms, kids who don’t want to be in school, and the consequences of growing up in a hardscrabble world. While some parents support his efforts, many sabotage them—and isolated administrators make the work of Lofthouse and his peers even more difficult.” – Bruce Reeves

Lofthouse’s first novel was the award winning historical fiction My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. His second novel was the award winning thriller Running with the Enemy. His short story A Night at the “Well of Purity” was named a finalist of the 2007 Chicago Literary Awards. His wife is Anchee Min, the international, best-selling, award winning author of Red Azalea, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year (1992).

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17 responses to “The Crony Capitalist War of greed against U.S. Public Education

  1. philaken

    March 14, 2015 at 21:42

    Lloyd, I tweeted this. Some one sent a message questioning the chart statement that the Walton family owns 1600 charter schools. He said he believes they fund charters, not own them. Response?

     
    • Lloyd Lofthouse

      March 15, 2015 at 07:35

      I stand corrected and updated the chart to show the correction. “Luisa Kroll of Forbes explains that the Waltons have provided over $350 million to help start 1,600 charter schools. That means roughly a bit more than one out of four charter schools in the nation has received Walton money. Her husband, Greg Penner, recently appointed as vice chairman of Wal-Mart, believes that the free market competition of charter schools will force public schools to get better and force the moneys in public schools systems ‘to be more effectively spent.’ To help make the case for charter schools (and for vouchers for private schools), the Waltons have spent another $300 million toward charter school and parent advocacy groups.”

      https://nonprofitquarterly.org/philanthropy/25264-carrie-walton-penner-s-agenda-for-education-reform-through-walton-philanthropy.html

      The fact is that the Waltons are the biggest driving force behind corporate Charters and vouchers with help from Gates and Broad. I suggest you read the piece from Nonprofit Quarterly to see just how much damage the have done with the power their money buys them.

       
  2. VanessaVaile

    March 15, 2015 at 00:22

    super post! I’m definitely re-blogging — and sending to a friend who has been researching privatization. Since I’m at that pumpkin turning stage by now, this will get a closer reading in the morning.

     
    • Lloyd Lofthouse

      March 15, 2015 at 07:28

      Thank you. I’ve also updated the timeline to include Pearson and revised the post with an additional paragraph on Pearson that includes a link to Politico’s report of No Profit Left Behind.

       
      • VanessaVaile

        March 15, 2015 at 10:29

        I started an EdPrivatization collection on OneTab to help keep track ~ in addition to blogging, feed readers and bookmarking tools like Diigo expand curation/sharing options.

        Recently I noticed another noxious trend among education quislings: mocking and attacking curation and aggregation. I take that as a sign of how necessary and effective information sharing is

         
      • Lloyd Lofthouse

        March 15, 2015 at 13:58

        Keeping track of what’s going on in Social Media is what the Chinese Communist Party does in China. And when they see a trend they don’t want, they have thousands of people working for them who leave comments mocking and attacking the Chinese citizens who are targeted. If needed, they go after specific sites and shut them down.

        From the evidence so far, I’d say that is exactly what Pearson and other corporate reformers are attempting to do–there’s even a couple of books on China that compare the way the Chinese Communist Party rules China to the same business like methods global corporations use.

        Here’s one of those books:

        http://www.amazon.com/China-Inc-Superpower-Challenges-America/dp/0743257359

         
      • VanessaVaile

        March 15, 2015 at 14:03

        What I got came from a so-called activist colleague who bullies and tries to discredit anyone who disagrees with or questions him

         
  3. Jon Awbrey

    March 15, 2015 at 08:31

    I used to think it didn’t hurt to classify the forms of theoretical (imaginary) capitalism so long as we understood that Crony Capitalism is the only one that actually exists in practice for any length of time.

    But I have come to realize that Crony Capitalism always work by advertising one thing and delivering another, so hawking the illusion of imaginary brands is just another part of the con and it does positive harm to keep playing along with that game.

    Another illusion they sell is that Crony Capitalism — the contemporary style of Crown Corporate Mercantilism that our Founders fought to create this country — is that it has anything to do with Free Markets. Corporations love controlled markets and always fight to corner any bits of freedom that accidentally arise.

     
    • Lloyd Lofthouse

      March 15, 2015 at 09:08

      I have a neighbor who owns a business and when I attempted to explain what was happening in the war on public education and how wrong it was, he shrugged, dismissed me, and said, “Oh, that’s just business as usual,” as if it was normal for fraud and lies being okay and part of the process of getting rich.

      And he’s actually a nice guy as a neighbor—but maybe not when it comes to running his business and making money. I don’t know about that part of his life, because I’m not interested in the product he sells and I have no interest in owning a retail business other than finding readers for my books.

      Does this mean that if you swim with the sharks, you have to be willing to be as ruthless as all the other sharks and eat anything that comes along even other sharks?

       
      • Jon Awbrey

        March 15, 2015 at 09:18

        I know many people who own small businesses and run them honestly and who tend to feel an automatic allegiance with anyone who owns any business of any size, without ever realizing how vastly their ethics differs from the global gang of transnational corporate person hoods.

         
      • Lloyd Lofthouse

        March 15, 2015 at 09:31

        True. We’ve hired some really honest and hard working people to do work on our house and I’ve hired extremely honest subcontractors to edit my manuscripts and help design covers for some of them.

        But the virus of corruption seems to permeate most corporations—-as if what the individuals do to climb the corporate ladder and earn profits for the corporation are not the fault of the individual at all and if the corporation’s lawyers are good enough, not the fault of the corporation either.

         
  4. VanessaVaile

    March 17, 2015 at 13:02

    Reblogged this on As the Adjunctiverse Turns and commented:
    the assault is against all public education ~ that makes it an adjunct issue…all the more so for the reformers’ “college ready” hype and ongoing de-professionalization (Taylorization even) of teaching

     
    • Lloyd Lofthouse

      March 17, 2015 at 15:28

      Simply—More than a hundred million parents, about 50 million children, and 4 million teachers are at war with less than 50 – 100 corporate reformers who have the support of less than a dozen billionaire oligarchs, and this reform movement has nothing to do with improving education that could be done with more teacher training and support and a national early childhood education program. No, this reform movement is an economic one to move more money from the 99.9% to the 0.1%.

       
  5. aureliomontemayor

    March 25, 2015 at 18:15

    Reblogged this on aureliomontemayor and commented:
    ‘Greed destroying public education

     
    • Polly

      May 20, 2017 at 07:10

      This is way more helpful than anntihyg else I’ve looked at.

       
  6. kikathree@aol.com

    March 28, 2015 at 18:13

    Lloyd,

    Really good post. I remember that report, Nation at Risk. Sensationalism at its best.

    Also, your summary of the financial players behind the Common Core movement was revealing.

    Take care Lloyd.

    Neil

     
    • Lloyd Lofthouse

      March 28, 2015 at 18:34

      You are over the half-way hump and sliding into summer. Soon you will have a few weeks away from the grind.

       

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