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Archive for April 17th, 2017

(1) Fund for Educational Excellence. (2) Foundation for Excellence in Education (or ExcelEd). (3) Alliance for Excellent Education, and (4) ConnectEd (Note the backers) and I just showed (5) Communities in Schools (Remember the subcontractors). Also Consider (6) Brown University’s AISR ~Smart Education Systems~ based on Ted [Yale, Harvard]+Nancy Sizer’s Coalition of Essential Schools. [Publ. April 17, 2017]

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published April 17, 2017 (the day after Easter) at 19,000 words.

Tags (there would be many!) to be added later.

This post,

(1) Fund for Educational Excellence. (2) Foundation for Excellence in Education (or ExcelEd).  (3) Alliance for Excellent Education, and (4) ConnectEd (Note the backers) and I just showed (5) Communities in Schools (Remember the subcontractors). Also Consider (6) Brown University’s AISR ~Smart Education Systems~ based on Ted [Yale, Harvard]+Nancy Sizer’s Coalition of Essential Schools. (case-sensitive short-link ending in “-6pr”),

continues from the bottom of

Three (or Four) Famous, Privately Controlled Nonprofits Who Just Wanna Transform Public Education (and Urban Populations to Practice On (case-sensitive short-link ends “-6iI”) (just published, with a long introduction, April 3, 2017 mid-day),

and represents where the writing started after deciding on that title and subject matter.

Among other questions, I first remind us (and I have the standing as a parent, former teacher across a variety of systems, and more recently, investigative blogger of nonprofits and public/private partnerships and their self-reporting of programming while concealing, withholding, or delaying until forced to, their books — i.e., holdings (cashflow, etc.) to say this with confidence):

Controlling the education (esp. public school system) = controlling the next generation = controlling the nation, including the revenue-producing options of those same generations.

By “controlling” I mean “restricting” in order to keep most of the nation in its assigned places in society — NOT in the top echelon who control the investments, and steer the systems, and train their own offspring, marrying into each others’ family, to continue doing the same generation after generation.

Look for the matching questions I have about this agenda in similar-styled box quote below.  There is a discussion and several paragraphs inbetween.

Along these topical lines, you’ll hear a lot about “closing the achievement gap.” It may come from groups pushing charter schools and more choice,* or those opposed to the same.

From generic (Google) search results, 1st and 2nd page, you can easily see the variety of domain names discussing this, from NEA (National Education Association), to PBS to Www2.ed.gov (federal Dept. of Education), to what would seem to be product-specific domain names, and others, state-specific.  I looked at several of them, and no matter where I looked, I found those so enthusiastic about closing it were operating either as tax-exempts backed by other tax-exempts — or public/private partnerships, and when debating the issue of charter schools (as I just said, above), on closer look whether those for or those against, both are recommending more investments for systems change, and typically involving digital learning platforms.

Again, this conversation also tends to be partisan, with progressives complaining about conservatives and vice-versa.  Everyone seems eager to discuss the “big bucks foundations” backing the OTHER side, or blast for-profit schools — but neither side is discussing the tax-exempt sector AS a networked sector, drawing both finances, sponsored voices, and collections of assets available for investment (wherever the privately controlled group chooses) towards that sector and away from the low-income, poor people.   [Example in this 2013 document focused on Massachusetts, [“Threat from the Right focused on Massachusetts”] but see its pp.76ff discussion of “Foundation for Excellence in Education” w/ references to Betsy DeVos and the DeVos family, Bush, Broad, Gates, and others].  From reading it, one would think there was no substantial sponsorship of education reform from progressive foundations — but I’ve seen and posted on it at the highest levels (Open Society Foundations, Omidyar Fund Network, etc.).

It seems to be off the radar to discuss that the tax-exempt status itself might be a contributing factor — as opposed to a solution — to poverty in the USA, which has now passed its 100th anniversary in taxing all individuals except those able to drastically reduce, legally evade, or illegally, dodge accountability and paying it. IF that discussion were ever to be held fairly, as I through this blog consistently have intended for it to be, whether court-connected, or gender-war-connected (both sides), or as we have here, public-education-reform-connected, the fingerpointing would be equally at both political parties.

~ ~ ~ I’ll talk more about the Achievement Gap-Closing Group Debates, reviewing some of the top-level search results on the phrase, separately. Some fascinating data on the sponsors continues to surface (well, after I dug into the Form 990s) ~ ~ ~ (link active now, but accurate only when it’s published: “Tax-Exempts Against the Achievement Gap (Accounting Details ALWAYS provide a fascinating backdrop to the Cause-connected and Controlled-Debates SPONSORED Rhetoric) with case-sensitive short-link ending “-6zO” as in “October” not as in the symbol for “zero”)“) ~ ~ ~


This “closing the achievement gap” talk does NOT refer primarily to the significant gap between the schooling of those of inherited or significant (entrepreneurially-acquired) wealth, typically private schooling from grade or high school forward and the public schools, BUT INSTEAD basically achievement gaps within and across public school systems, according to defined demographic (racial, gender) or geographic (i.e., urban/inner-city or not) sectors and with a view to eventual utilization across country lines, too.

In this sphere of discussion, schooling in USA inner-city, impoverished, disadvantaged, low-income (etc) urban areas is compared for potential program application for schooling in conflict-ridden, violent zones in other countries. Programs have been and still are being developed with a view of working internationally, not just in the USA. There is a profit and self-propagation motive, which pushes back against the actual intention to solve poverty in the USA.

What we tend to forget: public schools as fantastic market testing place (just like the family courts also have been — so many people getting divorced, forced-consumption-of services on an unprecedented scale also, just like welfare reform — it’s a remarkable market niche for those with their eyes on it.

The USA just happens to provide (to people of this mindset) an irresistably wonderful, and wonderfully large testing ground in its massive school system, and (unlike some other countries) significant public education funding too. Our compulsory education laws K-12 and our Department of Education (Federal and state levels) with corresponding budgets, and supportive, supplemental “education foundations” are already and for decades (over a century) established;  common practice.  And, we are a large country.

Having filled themselves up well here as corporate entities with wealth poured into tax-exempt foundations (family, private operating, or public charity) and through social and class connections, able to fly around for conferences and networking to (spawn) more nonprofits, many nonprofits and their backers (working closely with for-profits providing the digital or other platformed, often proprietary) are eager to spread the good news in countries where there’s less competition with educational choice [private incl. some legal forms of homeschooling; public, parochial or other religious] or savvy middle and professional classes who might over here see the profit motive involved in school-reform entities operating primarily tax-exempt.

FOR AN EXAMPLE (of US Schools being used as educational laboratories): I have recently been hunting for WestEd‘s comprehensive, annual financial reports (audited) covering ALL its activities and stating ALL is assets, liabilities, revenues and expenses to date, for a specific year as, being a Joint Powers Agency, it has to produceAnyone who can locate such a report more current than, let’s say 2010 (WestEd was formed in 1996), please submit a link in a comment!

WestEd (a JPA formed from two previously-existing JPAs under California’s Joint Powers Authority Act; roughly translated, it’s a government entity under which citizens have no direct rights, although it is public-funded, probably mostly public-funded). runs an REL (Research) Regional Education Laboratories).  (The image this time = the link, also).

WestEd has been subjected to at least two negative audits I found while looking for their CAFR.  One, from 1998 (USDOE OIG) I already posted.  Here’s another one from the NSF: Audit Report OI8-08-1-011:

Attached is the final audit report, prepared by Mayer Hoffman McCann P.C., an independent public accounting firm, on the audit of NSF award number ESI-0119790 awarded to WestEd. The audit covers NSF-funded costs claimed from September 1, 2001 to June 30, 2007, aggregating to approximately $11.05 million of NSF direct funded costs and $1.25 million of claimed cost sharing. NSF requested and OIG agreed to conduct an audit at WestEd because of findings in prior A-133 and other NSF audits that identified that the policies and procedures WestEd used were inadequate to monitor and track award activity for subawards, cost sharing, and participant support.

The auditors identified four significant compliance and internal control deficiencies in WestEd’s financial management practice that contributed to the questioned costs, of which we consider the first to be a material weakness. Additionally, the first three of these control weaknesses were previously identified and reported in NSF OIG and A-133 single audit reports. Given the systemic and continuing nature of these compliance and internal control deficiencies it is likely that NSF’s eleven other current awards amounting to $13.6 million, as well as future awards are impacted by the same weaknesses.

…In case there was any question whether the US public school system, at public cost, is being subjected to “R&D” monitored by government agencies who have questionable internal control (reporting weaknesses).  SO DO MANY OF THE NONPROFIT NETWORKS WISHING TO FIX THE SCHOOLS, but the only real auditor of this sector as a sector seems to be the IRS, and public who get around to figuring out it might be a good idea to research.

This all seems obvious to me, but readers who question this are welcome to submit comments.

For more indicators of school-reform as “development” in conflict-ridden places (USA, Mexico, or on other continents) — also resembling the Boston Consulting Group, as I call it, “Harvard/Bain/Bridgespan” philosophy (see recent post with that phrase in it) of being the first or among the first in some new field and so able to define the terms and dominate it, as well as employ the “LBO” (Leveraged Buy-Out) practice on public institutions (by getting on the decision-making groups — for a private corporation it’d be board of directors; but for public institutions, it would require having councils to steer those “public/private collaborations” (or if more official, “partnerships”)  —  please review some of my earlier posts (2016) on the International Institute for Peace at Rutgers (http://iip.rutgers.edu), which lists the Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative (or similar title) in Southern California associated with it.  Notice the language.
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Written by Let's Get Honest

April 17, 2017 at 11:45 am

martinplaut

Journalist specialising in the Horn of Africa and Southern Africa

Let's Get Honest! Blog: Absolutely Uncommon Analysis of Family & Conciliation Courts' Operations, Practices, & History

'A Different Kind of Attention Develops Sound Judgment' | 'Suppose I'm Right Here?...' (posted 3/23 & 3/5/2014). Over 680 posts, Public-Interest Investigative Blogging On These Matters Since 2009.

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