Aspen Institute Session on SB7... How the Ruling Class works against public schools and teacher unions...

Ohanian NOTE: Probably I should offer a prize to anybody who follows all the links here. Just think about what it took out of my hide to provide all the links. Back in 2008, I wrote an Eggplant spoof of the Aspen Institute. It is almost impossible now to spot any exaggeration—or off-the-wall claim.

(Then) Chicago Public Schools CEO Arne Duncan (left) with University of Chicago President John Michael Randle (center) and billionaire James Crown (right) at a March 6, 2003 press conference. Duncan's lack of qualification in public school teaching, experience, or training were actually considered a plus by Chicago's billionaires and rulers, of which the University of Chicago is one, in their choice of Duncan to head the public schools under Mayor Richard M. Daley from July 1, 2001, through December 31, 2008. The same lack of qualifications in public education made Duncan President Barack Obama's logical choice to head the U.S. Department of Education in 2009, since Duncan's job was to destroy as much of public education in the USA as possible, while engaging in massive teacher bashing, union busting, and privatization. Along the same lines, Annie wrote The Aspen Commission on NCLB and a Glossary of Terms.

And Aspen made Eggplant again with 4th grader Completes Last of High Stakes Exams, First in Nation To Take Tests in All 50 States.

Longtime teacher and passionate worker for justice, not to mention cartoonist for this site, Georgia Hedrick, called Aspen, trying to talk with them about the Aspen NCLB Commission.

It should come as no surprise that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation was a big funder of the Aspen NCLB Commission.

Aspen Institute Commission on No Child Left Behind National National Education Summit Agenda,Sept. 15, 2008.

And that was just for starters.

As George Schmidt indicates, I've been following the public school deformation work at the Aspen Institute for quite some time, starting with a 2003 roster of an American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy (AEI) get-together titled Nation at Risk: Twenty Years Later. Panelists included: Lynne V. Cheney, AEI

Michael Cohen, Achieve, Inc.

Chester E. Finn Jr., Fordham Foundation

Marc Tucker, National Center on Education and the Economy

Frederick M. Hess, AEI, moderated the event.

Achieve President Michael Cohen reminded his fellow panelists that before going to Achieve he was a senior fellow at the the Aspen Institute, working on aligning high school exit standards with admissions and placement standards for post secondary institutions.

In October 2005, I noted that Walter Isaacson, president of the Aspen Institute and chair of the national board of Teach For America, stood by Wendy Kopp's side to welcome people to the Teach for America 15th reunion. I don't know what Isaacson said there. It's just important to keep track of bedfellows. And this becomes impossible if one relies on institutional records. Note that the url for the Teach for America Reunion Program is now dead.

In August 2006,the Tampa Tribune used this quote from what Eugene Hickock, former U.S. deputy secretary of education and an architect of No Child Left Behind, said at a meeting of the Aspen Institute's Leave No Child Behind Commission, to justify test prep in 90 degree weather for the FCAT--looming six months ahead:

"Accountability is, all too often, in the eye of the beholder."

In February 2007, the Aspen Institute released a report, paid for in part by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, calling for increased regulation and standardization of American classrooms.

In August 2008, Senator Barack Obama announced his Campaign Education Advisers, including:

Christopher F. Edley-- Dean of the University of California, Berkeley, law school since 2004. He served as a special counsel to President Clinton, working on affirmative action issues, and was a member of the Aspen Institute's Commission on No Child Left Behind, which issued 75 recommendations for overhauling the federal education law. Those included tying teacher quality to student-achievement data and calling on the National Assessment Governing Board to craft voluntary national standards and tests.

In September 2008, the Aspen Institute held an Education Summit, with a roster of people to announce a crisis. McKenzie & Company , fierce cheerleaders for globalization, hold hands with Aspen. McKenzie issues a paper; Aspen holds a summit. And Jon Schnur will be around appearing on panels. Of late, he's showed up in connection with Aspen's paper on union-district collaboration.

Do you need a reminder of the institutional investors in the New School Venture Fund?

Don't miss the press release for

Wireless Generation Develops New Technology

That Matches Curriculum to Students' Learning Needs Throughout the School Year. Remember: Wireless Generation partners with DIBELS [Wireless software allowing teachers to score the test on a handheld computer is ubiquitous in schools receiving NCLB funds]. Wireless CEO and founder Larry Berger was 2007 inaugural Fellow for the Entrepreneurial Leaders for Public Education Program, created by The Aspen Institute and the New Schools Venture Fund.

Connect more dots here.

It's a small world among these cronies.

2009 brought the National Action Network Connection: Warning: following all the links on this page will make you dizzy.

Reminder: Rupert Murdoch bought 90% of Wireless Generation in 2009. And now he's put former New York City schools chancellor Joel Klein in charge of overseeing the phone hacking scandal. Here's the Daily News headline when Klein went to work for Murdoch: Joel Klein's job with Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. a sellout of everything he supposedly stood for">.

Joanne Weiss sounded more like an employee of Wireless Generation than part of the tax-payer funded U. S. Department of education in this outrageous Harvard Business Review piece.

AND the sickening Teachers as Human Capital project. Again, Aspen is right there promoting the corporate agenda.

In 2009 alone, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation alone the Aspen Institute $3,878,680.

Purpose: to continue support for Human Capital Framework, Senior Congressional Staff Network, and the Urban Superintendents Network to address common issues of teacher effectiveness, standards, and assessments

On the Gates website, AFT President Randi Weingarten offered the AFT congratulations for the Hillsborough, Memphis, Pittsburgh seduction: "These Gates Intensive Partnership grants will show that when dedicated adults engage in true collaboration, the real winners are the students."

Real, winners, indeed.

Of course Thomas Friedman shows up at Aspen. Harder to figure which is a more perfect spot for him: Davos or Aspen.

Russlyn Ali: Selected by Pres. Barack Obama as Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Ali was previously founding director Education Trust West. Before that Ali, an attorney, was employed by The Children's Defense Fund and before that as assistant director of policy and research at the Broad Foundation, for which she was also on loan as chief of staff to the president of the Los Angeles Unified School District's Board of Education. She has served on the Review Board for The Broad Prize for Urban Education. She was a fellow of the Aspen Institute's New Schools Entrepreneurial Leaders for Public Education Fellowship. Here are a couple of her notable remarks.

John Deasy is, of course an Aspen fellow. His title is Aspen-New School Fellow.

Early in 2011 the Tampa Tribune announced Hillsborough as the place where Common U.S. school standards debut. Give the reporter credit for mentioning that Hillsborough is one 15 districts operating under this plan--Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Charlotte-Mecklenburg, Denver, District of Columbia, Hillsborough County FL, Houston, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Memphis, Pittsburgh, Prince George’s County, Rochester, and Seattle. They operate under the aegis of the Gates-funded Aspen Urban Superintendents Network, which has been made possible by generous grants from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and the Spencer Foundation.

And then there are the Education Pioneers, an Oakland-based non-profit headed by Scott Morgan, who was a Fellow of the Aspen Institute-NewSchools Venture Fund Entrepreneurial Leaders for Public Education Class of 2010. Jean-Claude Brizard, Mayor Rahm Emanuel's pick to be new CEO of Chicago Schools, was a classmate, as was Tia Elena Martinez, Strategic Advisor, Office of Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education. In the Small World of Financial and Influence-Peddling Incest, please note that the Office of Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education is also a partner in Education Pioneers.

And so on and so on. There's plenty more but I imagine readers are already gasping for breath. I realize that this is undoubtedly more than you probably want to know about the Aspen Institute but even so, it's not more than you need to know. I would just say that subscribing to brings you the news in smaller increments.

Put Stand for Children into a search on this site. AND Jonah Edelman.

Session on SB7, Stand for Children, narrates the ruling class's triumph in Illinois

by George N. Schmidt

If there was ever and example of the ruling class dictating educational policy and then crowing about it, the recent Aspen Institute session on SB 7 and the work of Stand for Children during the past nine months in Illinois is it. The Aspen Institute, which has been exposed by many analysts (most notably for Substance readers, Susan Ohanian) as one of the key players in corporate rule, held a conference recently at which James Crown (one of the billionaires from the billionaire family that helped bankroll Stand for Children) and Jonah Edelman provided an hour of detail on how they foisted SB 7 on Illinois.

Picture Caption: Illinois Governor Pat Quinn (above left at podium) speaking at the June 13, 2011 signing of Senate Bill 7, which continued the attack on Chicago's public schools and the Chicago Teachers Union after a billionaires' financed attack by Stand for Children, Advance Illinois, and the Business Roundtable against unionized Chicago teachers succeeded. At the signing above, the bipartisan group that pushed through SB7 was hailed. Only Karen Lewis, the President of the Chicago Teachers Union, did not attend the signing.

All of the speakers and participants in the panel agree now: SB7 and how "Stand" brought it to Illinois is now a model that the ruling class is going to follow in the future to forge legislation based on the bipartisan consensus they are parading out as a key to the next phase of corporate "school reform."

Substance is working on getting a complete transcript of the Aspen Institute session, as well as interviewing leaders of the Illinois Education Association (IEA) about their personal and organizational role in creating and maintaining the Jim Crow "separate and not equal status" of the largest (mostly minority) school district in Illinois, Chicago, at the back of the bud legislatively. This story is just beginning to be told, and the role of the wealthy men and women who are creating phony "grass roots" organizations like "Stand for Children" and "Advance Illinois" will be studied and exposed as well.

For those who cannot get the hotlink above, the URL is:


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