JESSE SHARKEY

Monday, December 29, 2008

Looking back on '08

There’s not a hell of a lot to celebrate in the world of schooling beyond the collapse of the neocon/ownership-society school-stomping machine, including NCLB. As for news stories that still resonate, how about the farcical Ed in ’08 initiative where Gates and Broad promised to put up $60 million between them, to push education to the “top of the presidential campaign agenda?”

What they ended up pushing was the conservative business model of corporate reform, merit pay and NCLB testing madness. Of course both foundations would later renege on $30 million of their pledge Education reform, sadly was hardly even mentioned by any of the candidates throughout the course of the campaign. Another Gates/Broad big-money flop and Ed in ’08 became a running joke.

Remember the two guys Gates picked to run the operation? It was the fired, former do-nothing school superintendent from L.A., Roy Romer and the Republican political hack Marc Lampkin (he was Bush’s deputy campaign mgr. in 2000 and worked for Rove).

Lampkin still runs what’s left of the Ed in ’08 group—now called Strong American Schools—grrrr. Even though the initiative was supposed to be “non-partisan,” Lampkin uses his position to defend the badly discredited, punitive/testing approach to NCLB and to lob verbal grenades at Obama, for being “too friendly to teacher unions. “ He also used his Gates-funded position to pump a Klein/Rhee type for Sec. of Education. I guess that’s non-partisan in a way. Lampkin likes Republicans in both parties.


Quotables

“It is a good time to be me…”

This from John L. Douglas, a partner in Atlanta at the law firm Paul Hastings and a former lawyer for bank regulators who helped create the agency that administered the last federal bailout, the Resolution Trust Corporation. “Fortunes will be made here, no doubt about it,” said Gary J. Silversmith, one of more than a dozen former R.T.C. officials interviewed who now are involved in enterprises seeking to profit from bank bailouts. The Paul Hastings firm has been involved in insider-trading scandals and a member of the firm has just been charged in a multi-million-dollar scheme involving Lehman Bros.

Rudy Giuliani’s law firm Bracewell & Giuliani is also among the biggest of the bailout profiteers. Guess where else they cash-in? New York charter schools, of course. Giuliani was the most outspoken proponent of a federal school voucher program of any of the presidential candidates. The firm stood to make a fortune with voucher clients and negotiations. But they're still doing ok with charter contracts.

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