Friday, December 18, 2009

Rifts in the Ownership Society

"Greed is good" at Fordham, but...

Why are Checker Finn, Rick Hess and the right-wing "greedheads" over at Fordham Institute suddenly railing against "self-promoters" and "snake-oil salesmen" out to make a buck off of Duncan's Race To The Top?

After all, admit the duo:
We're veteran champions of entrepreneurs, for-hyphen profits, out-sourcing, competition, deregulation, and kindred efforts to open public education to providers other than government and operators other than bureaucrats.We've served on boards on some of these organizations, advised them and generally supported them.
In short, according to the pair, "in K-12 education, we submit, greed can be good, albeit ugly."

But now, say the two Fordham think-tankers,
...the whole "Race To The Top" enterprise has become a red light district for lusty charlatans and randy peddlers. Big firms full of wealthy MBA types--people who earn in a quarter what teachers make in a year--have gobbled up the $250,000 per state that the Gates Foundation offered as part of its own generous consultant stimulus act," along with additional dollars that states have tossed into the kitty. In return, they're readying cool power points, nifty white papers, and jargon-littered plans, all geared to helping states persuade Secretary Duncan that yes, they are ready and eager to do his bidding.
Could it be that the conservative ed hustlers who made a killing at Bush's Reading First feeding trough are now being frozen out by this new group of politically aligned "greedheads?"


  1. Wow, thanks for sharing this. I don't know these people personally, though of course I've been following them for years. I'm willing to accept that they truly, honestly believed in the power of the free market to raise the prospects of disadvantaged young people and eradicate social justice! If so, they're idiots, but that aside... perhaps they've come to truly recognize that their faith was misplaced. Could we just say "welcome to the fight!"?

  2. The greed stretches far and wide. Check out this one about the for-profit school vultures now feasting on unsuspecting members of the U.S. military.

    From “Marine Can’t Recall His Lessons at For-Profit College” (12/15/09) @ :

    "For-profit online colleges are taking over higher education of the U.S. military, lured by a Defense Department pledge of free schooling up to $4,500 a year for active members of the armed services, costing taxpayers more than $3 billion since 2000."

  3. Caroline,

    You don't have to know Finn personally to know what he stands for. He tells you right up front: "Greed can be good in K-12 education." What else do you need to know about him? And what do you mean, "welcome to the fight." What fight is that?

  4. Caroline,
    Why do you need to know Finn and Hess personally to know what they stand for? Read what they say: "We're veteran champions of entrepreneurs, for- profits, out-sourcing, competition, deregulation..." Is this what you mean by "the fight?" Which side are you on, anyway?

  5. Right, but my point is that if they have now decided that entrepreneurs, for-profits, out-sourcing, competition and deregulation aren't the solutions after all, I'm wondering if that shouldn't be applauded.


Agree? Disagree? Let me hear from you.