Friday, August 13, 2010

Carpetbaggers and charlatans

Knowing that our State Department of Education spends hundreds of millions of dollars per year on contracts to various individuals and other vendors, this New York Times article by reporter Sam Dillon seems pertinent.

Despite the recession, there is a gold rush on in the field of education. It is fueled in part by the billions that state and federal governments are pouring into education reform, and in part by a cabal of business-oriented think tanks and lobbyists trying to cash in.

It resembles the early days of the Iraq occupation, when billions of dollars were scooped up by novice entrepreneurs who knew nothing about policy, but were expert in bilking the government.

Or, as former New York city schools chancellor Rudy Crew put it in the article, “This is like the aftermath of the Civil War, with all the carpetbaggers and charlatans.”

The Times article names a few of the egregious offenders in the school reform scam, but there are countless others, and they are robbing taxpayers and children of the resources that our schools desperately need.

As Jack Jennings, president of the non-partisan Center for Education Policy told the reporter, “Many of these companies clearly just smell the money.”

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