And speaking of the "influentia", those movers and shakers who, because of their prominence, exert so much control over educational policy, let's not forget the malign influence on that policy of the mega-wealthy.
Bill Gates, for example.
San Francisco ed activist Caroline Grannan writes that former Republican insider, Diane Ravitch, has taken to calling Gates and his ilk the Billionaire's Boys Club. The former Assistant Secretary of Education under Bush 41 has concluded:
Ravitch writes from New York, so when Mayor Bloomberg
Ravitch assumes that such a pronouncement
And how do they know "what needs to be done"? Well, they have lots of money, don't they? And if they're wrong (as they most assuredly are), what does it matter? They'll lobby for their "reforms" heedless of any evidence to the contrary.
Gates, as Portlanders will recall, put up the money for the botched reconfiguration of Jefferson High School. And the superintendent at the time --Vicki Phillips-- now works for the Gates Foundation. So it goes.
While we're on the topic of charter schools and billionaires, over at change.org, teacher Clay Burell takes on Obama's embrace of charters. His main objection is that, for traditional public schools, the charter model is simply not replicable:
"...if we're going to say charters should still be supported in order to serve as those 'laboratories,' the missing link in all of this talk centers on this question: 'What's the mechanism that will allow for that "duplication of success" in traditional public schools?' ...
"...One dangerous answer to this is: Traditional public schools will have that 'flexibility' when they are able to break union-negotiated teacher protections - to be union-free - and when they submit to the meddling of Gates, Broad, and the other billionaires at the Business Roundtable when they dangle their strings-attached money."