JamesGatz's blog

Well, You Asked . . .

What the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation Doesn't Want You to Know about Charter Schools, Hedge Funds, Tax Breaks, and Andy Smarick

by Kevin S. Wilson

For nearly two years, the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation has been a primary sponsor and promoter of the ED SESSIONS, a monthly speaker series featuring what the foundation bills as “national / international education reformers who are promoters of civil discourse about school improvement and wholesale reform.” Advertised at various times as “an invitation to begin a dialogue” and as “a conversation,” the ED SESSIONS are aimed at “parents, educators, policymakers, and everyone in Idaho”—unless, apparently, you are a parent, educator, policymaker, or an anyone in Idaho who asks inconvenient questions.

If you are, then you’re likely to find that your questions receive no answers, but elicit only the sound of chirping crickets. Ask enough inconvenient questions, and you may find yourself banned from the ED SESSIONS page on Facebook and find that all of your inconvenient questions have been deleted.

That’s what happened to me, after the social-networking social engineers at the ED SESSIONS solicited questions for an upcoming speaker, Andy Smarick, a partner at Bellwether Education Partners, Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the conservative think-tank the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, Adjunct Fellow at the equally conservative American Enterprise Institute, and CEO of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. Though he’s never taught and has no academic background in education, Mr. Smarick has emerged as one of what the Albertson Foundation describes as “thought leaders” in education reform, with his thoughts these days focused on tearing down so-called “failing” schools and replacing them with chains of public-funded charter schools, in a process described in his latest book, The Urban School System of the Future: Applying the Principles and Lessons of Chartering.  read more »

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