Monthly Archives: May 2013

Big Money in Education Part III

by Anita

The issue of big money in education can be viewed in two ways: first, individuals and corporations use large contributions to legislators and other state officials to lobby for laws and statutes that will benefit themselves; and second, individuals and corporations find ways to take advantage of the large amounts of state and federal money tied up in education. The first post of this series on big money in education addressed the first issue, relationships between wealthy individuals, corporations and legislators. The second post, on charter schools, and this post on school vouchers examine the second type of money’s influence in education.

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Big Money in Education Part II

by Anita

Big money often means corruption or the appearance of corruption whether in elections, environmental policies, prisons, education or other areas of public life. The first post in our series on big money in education examined corruption that is derived from direct or nearly-direct relationships among corporations, nonprofits, and state and local education officials. This post will investigate charter schools, which privatize education, and the consequences of these plans.

Privatization of any governmental function is usually championed by business leaders who claim that performing that function – through privatization – “like a business” with free-market rules will provide better and cheaper results. Wealthy donors such as John Walton (Walmart), Dick DeVos (Amway), Richard Sharp (ex-CEO of Circuit City) and Don Fisher (founder of The Gap) have used their big bank accounts and other resources to determine the future of schools. They have bankrolled school voucher programs, scholarships to private schools, and charter schools. Continue reading