2012-04-13 / Editorial/Opinion

Money Managers Seek To Hijack Education Bucks

The same money managers who destroyed the economy by giving mortgages they knew could not be repaid and then betting millions that they would fail now have turned their sights on the federal and state money flowing into the education marketplace. What happens when private enterprise and the profit motive take over the education of our children? We are about to find out. A new, high-powered and highly-financed advocacy group, StudentsFirstNY has formed, with a stated view of reforming education by expanding the number of charter schools, getting a merit pay system for the city’s teachers, firing those teachers whose students do not do well on standardized tests, doing away completely with teacher tenure and basing layoffs on test scores rather than seniority. In other words, they smell the money in the water and have to destabilize the teachers union and its political allies in order to attain the group’s agenda. It may very well succeed. Take a look at the “education experts” on its board. Joel Klein, who heads Rupert Murdoch’s educational company and seeks to make millions in DOE money and the man who cooked the books to make it look as if reading and math scores were going up and up, when, in fact, they were frozen in place. Paul Tudor Jones, chair of Tudor Investments. Peter D. Kiernan, CEO of Kiernan Ventures. Kenneth Langone, CEO of Invemed Investments. Ed Koch, former mayor and educational gadfly. Daniel Loeb, founder of Third Point LLC. Eva Moskowitz, former chair of the City Council’s education committee, a woman who has made millions on her charter school network with the help of Mayor Mike Bloomberg and his penchant for closing public schools so that she could have their buildings at no cost. Michelle Rhee, the former superintendent of the Washington D.C. schools, who did so badly there that she was forced to leave. You get the picture. Do you want these people educating your children? Do you want them making the decisions that will impact your children’s future? They smell the money, honey, and that is all that counts. Rockaway has two charter schools. One was ordered closed for not meeting its goals. What did it do? It is using your public tax money to fund a lawsuit against the city, money that was allocated by the city to educate its kids. When we asked them about the propriety of using public money meant for educational achievement to fund a lawsuit, the principal’s answer was, “We have a right to defend ourselves.” That answer would have pleased StudentsFirstNY, because it is not about students, but about profit, and that’s the bottom line.

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