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Mon Oct 8, 2012, 11:07 AM

Education profiteering -Wall Street’s next big thing?



It is well known, although rarely acknowledged in the press, that the reform movement has been financed and led by the corporate class. For more than 20 years large business oriented foundations, such as Gates (Microsoft), Walton (Walmart) and Broad (Sun Life) have poured billions into charter school start-ups, sympathetic academics and pundits, media campaigns (including Hollywood movies) and sophisticated nurturing of the careers of privatization promoters who now dominate the education policy debate from local school boards to the U.S. Department of Education.

In recent years, hedge fund operators, leverage-buy-out artists and investment bankers have joined the crusade. They finance schools, sit on the boards of their associations and the management companies that run them, and—most important—have made support of charter schools one of the criteria for campaign giving in the post-Citizens United era. Since most Republicans are already on board for privatization, the political pressure has been mostly directed at Democrats.

Thus, for example, when Andrew Cuomo wanted to get the support of hedge fund managers for his run for governor of New York, he was told to talk to Joe Williams, director of Democrats for Education Reform, a group set up to lobby liberals on privatization. Cuomo is now a champion of charter schools. As Joanne Barkan noted in a Dissent Magazine report, privatizers are even targeting school board elections, in one case spending over $630,000 to elect two members in a local school board race last year in Colorado.

Wall Street’s involvement in the charter school movement—when the media acknowledges it—is presented as an act of philanthropy. Perhaps, as critics claim, hedge funders are meddling in an area they know nothing about. But their motives are worthy. Indeed, since they send their own children to the best private schools, their concern for other people’s children seems remarkably altruistic. “Wall Street has always put its money where its interests of beliefs lie,” observed this New York Times article, “But it is far less common that so many financial heavyweights would adopt a social cause like charter schools and advance it with a laser-like focus in the political realm.”


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Reply Education profiteering -Wall Street’s next big thing? (Original post)
Starry Messenger Oct 2012 OP
tama Oct 2012 #1
Starry Messenger Oct 2012 #2
tama Oct 2012 #3
Smarmie Doofus Oct 2012 #4
proud2BlibKansan Oct 2012 #5

Response to Starry Messenger (Original post)

Mon Oct 8, 2012, 11:28 AM

1. Popularity of MBA programmes in Europe has plummeted.


No longer the place to be
Data from The Economist’s latest ranking of MBA programmes show Europe’s charms waning. A poor economy and Britain’s ill-advised visa policy are to blame

NOT so long ago business students flocked to Europe. Compared with their American counterparts, European schools were cheaper and their student bodies more diverse, both attractive features—and the salaries of European MBA graduates were often higher, too. Some of these attractions remain undimmed. But they are no longer enough to bring in the punters. Data from The Economist’s latest ranking of full-time MBA programmes (see article) suggest the appeal of an Old World business education has gone into a rapid decline.

The intakes of many of Europe’s flagship full-time MBA programmes have plummeted (see chart). Enrolment on Aston Business School’s MBA, for example, more than halved in the past academic year, falling from 129 students to 59. By far the biggest drop was among Asian students. HEC School of Management in Paris enrolled 181 full-time MBAs in the past academic year compared with 233 the previous one. It is a similar story across Europe. Some smaller schools have been desperately scrabbling around to find the 30 students that some MBA rankings see as the minimum for a course in good standing.

One obvious reason why students might stay away is the dire economy. MBAs can look like a good way to sit out a short downturn. In a longer one they lose their charm. With no job-producing European recovery in sight, going there for an MBA seems not so much cleverly counter-cyclical as stubbornly contrarian.

Europe’s slide also reflects a problem specific to its most important MBA market. The average class size of the British MBA programmes ranked by The Economist has decreased by 11% over the past year. Schools blame Britain’s newly toughened visa requirements for non-EU students. Graduates used to have an automatic right to stay and work for two years. Now, they must find a sponsoring company and land a job which pays at least £20,000 ($32,000) a year. The number of visas available to students wanting to start their own business is piddling.


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Response to tama (Reply #1)

Mon Oct 8, 2012, 11:57 AM

2. That hasn't stemmed the flow of charter schools in Britain

I'm not sure if that has anything to do with the rate of people earning MBAs, as I'm not sure what part of the article you were responding to.

But Britain is pursuing a similar path to privatization of its K-12 schools. It parallels the US path in similar fashion.

Hedge fund charity plans city academies


Ark is promising "educational vision" for British schools, through its new director of education, Jay Altman, who has just arrived in the UK from the US. Mr Altman was the founding principal of the New Orleans charter middle school in Louisiana, set up in response to parental demand and now a highly successful school with a record of preparing students from the poorest backgrounds for entry to top selective schools.

The US charter school movement is likened to the British academy system - based on autonomy for the individual schools - but without the same degree of state support.

Academies are publicly funded independent schools which provide free education for pupils of all abilities. Teaching unions are highly sceptical about the programme, many seeing it as a form of privatisation of state schools. Ministers set up the initiative in an attempt to transform "failing" secondary schools in the most deprived urban areas.


Of the 17 academies in existence, 10 are in London. The government wants 200 academies up and running or in the pipeline by 2010.

Teachers' leader slams academy school plan


Government plans to replace state comprehensives in poor areas with more than 400 privately sponsored academy schools have been criticised by the new leader of Britain's biggest teachers' union.

Bill Greenshields, president of the National Union of Teachers (NUT), said the plan was a backdoor attempt to privatise state education.

'A simple message to the individually and corporately rich, who are backing the school privatisation programme: our communities do not want their schools sold off,' he told the NUT's annual conference in Manchester. 'If you really want to support education as you claim - try paying your taxes.'

Academies pay £200k salaries


Charities that run chains of academy schools are using public funds to pay senior staff six-figure salaries, with some on £240,000 or more.

The Guardian analysed the most recent annual reports of five major chains, each of which receives tens of millions of pounds from the government each year.

The reports, which are for the year ended 31 August 2010, show three chains – Ark Schools, Harris Federation and the United Learning Trust – awarded already high-earning staff performance-related bonuses, or increased their pension, salary and bonus packages from the previous year.

Brian Lightman, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said the figures were "astonishing in the current economic climate" and warned that public funds may be being channelled into the pockets of individuals and away from the needs of pupils.

There are now over 1000 charter schools (called academies in Britain) in existence. You don't need an MBA to start a charter school chain, just a wide and waiting pocket.

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Response to Starry Messenger (Reply #2)

Mon Oct 8, 2012, 01:12 PM

3. Just additional point of view


Interesting and IMO positive to notice that while business people (who know nothing about education) are pushing charter schools and privatizing education, the popularity of business education itself is plummeting.

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Response to Starry Messenger (Original post)

Tue Oct 9, 2012, 04:49 PM

4. Good read from beginning to end but the sum-up puts it all together.


As a good "last paragraph" should:

>>>Charter schools, for profit on-line universities and other forms of privatization may not in the end fulfill all the dreams of its Wall Street promoters. But there is clearly money to be made here. And where there is money to be made, we can be sure that there will be money to finance political campaigns, to support career ladders that move between government and business and to bribe the media into ignoring the data. So the war on public education will continue. All of course “for the sake of the children.”>>>.

And for exactly these reasons , it's going to be a long, drawn-out fight.

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Response to Starry Messenger (Original post)

Tue Oct 9, 2012, 09:00 PM

5. Follow. The. Money.

And read Shock Doctrine.

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