Archives for category: For-Profit

While teachers across the nation have salaries lower than those of other professions and often need to take a second job to make ends meet, the executives at Michael Milken’s cyber charter chain K12, Inc. are faring very well indeed.

Their schools have high student turnover and low graduation rates, but it is a very profitable business.

The chairman of the board and CEO made $4.2 million last year.

The former CEO made $4 million.

The executive vice-president and chief financial officer made $824,000.

The president and chief operating officer made $5.5 million.

The executive Vice President, secretary, and chief counsel made $1.1 million.

The executive Vice President and manager of school services made $854,000.

Numbers are rounded.

Remember: It is all about the kids.

The Miami Herald reports that the leading candidates in both parties have accepted money from for-profit institutions of higher education, many of which have preyed on veterans and the poor.

Bill Clinton was paid $16 million to “as “honorary chancellor” of Laureate Education, the world’s largest for-profit college company. The firm is being sued by several online graduate students for allegedly dishonest practices, and a 2012 U.S Senate report found that more than half of Laureate’s online Walden University revenue went to marketing and profit.”

“The GOP field of 2016 presidential hopefuls is filled with candidates who have close ties to for-profit colleges. Marco Rubio listed two for-profit executives (and the industry’s former top Florida lobbyist) as “contributors” to his 2006 book, 100 Innovative Ideas for Florida’s Future. Jeb Bush gave a keynote speech at the for-profit industry’s Washington trade association last year, for which he was paid $51,000.”

Jeb Bush’s ties to the for-profit education industry are far more extensive than a single keynote speech. Jeb’s “Digital Learning NOW!” proposal was funded by the tech industry and recommended unregulated digital learning as the answer to every education problem. His FEE (Foundation for Educational Excellence) is a prime advocate for the expansion of online learning in every aspect of education.

“Republican front-runner Donald Trump is being sued by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman over his now-shuttered “Trump University” business school. Schneiderman has said Trump University used false promotional materials and “was a scam from top to bottom.”

Read more here:

The New York Times writes about the workplace and culture of

It is an unsparing portrait of a brutal, competitive, heartless work environment.

No excuses!

“At Amazon, workers are encouraged to tear apart one another’s ideas in meetings, toil long and late (emails arrive past midnight, followed by text messages asking why they were not answered), and held to standards that the company boasts are “unreasonably high.” The internal phone directory instructs colleagues on how to send secret feedback to one another’s bosses. Employees say it is frequently used to sabotage others. (The tool offers sample texts, including this: “I felt concerned about his inflexibility and openly complaining about minor tasks.”)”

“Many of the newcomers filing in on Mondays may not be there in a few years. The company’s winners dream up innovations that they roll out to a quarter-billion customers and accrue small fortunes in soaring stock. Losers leave or are fired in annual cullings of the staff — “purposeful Darwinism,” one former Amazon human resources director said. Some workers who suffered from cancer, miscarriages and other personal crises said they had been evaluated unfairly or edged out rather than given time to recover.

“Even as the company tests delivery by drone and ways to restock toilet paper at the push of a bathroom button, it is conducting a little-known experiment in how far it can push white-collar workers, redrawing the boundaries of what is acceptable. The company, founded and still run by Jeff Bezos, rejects many of the popular management bromides that other corporations at least pay lip service to and has instead designed what many workers call an intricate machine propelling them to achieve Mr. Bezos’ ever-expanding ambitions.”

Sound familiar?

A modern version of Fritz Lang’s “Metropolis,” a classic silent film?

The following comment was posted in response to Laura Chapman’s comment and critique of for-profit schools in Africa (see below):

My name is Josh Weinstein and another commenter, Laura Chapman, referenced a post that I wrote about my time working at Bridge International Academies. I am including the original post below, but I want to clarify some depictions of my views about for-profit education in developing countries and Bridge International Academies in particular.

For some background, I spent three years working in microfinance, agriculture, and education in Southeast Asia and East and West Africa. I came to Bridge in 2011 when it had 15 schools, and left in 2012 when it had 75 schools. Today it has over 400 schools and has grown considerably. I will address some of Ms. Chapman’s mischaracterizations of my views, and explain why I believe for-profit schools are, on balance, a positive trend to children born into extreme poverty.

First, Ms. Chapman says: “[Josh Weinstein says that] local people saw a contradiction between the Western idea of a liberal education with its emphasis on critical thinking versus the BIA practice of hiring high school graduates to teach from a prepared script. For this reason they automatically assumed that the quality of a Bridge education was poor, and “far below that of more expensive schools.” I did not say that, nor do I believe it. For people living on less than $2 a day, which is the target customer for Bridge schools, the concept of a liberal education is not a consideration. Rather, they evaluate BIA schools relative to public schools, which are underfunded, overcrowded, and serve a fraction of the eligible primary school population at a cost to parents, despite FPE (free primary education) in Kenya. The choice for parents is not between an education emphasizing critical thinking and one offering rote memorization, but fundamentally one that offers higher time-on-task and direct instruction of evidence-based teaching methodologies backed by rigorous testing.

Ms. Chapman quotes an organization called “Global Justice Now” in saying that BIA schools actually cost between $9 and $20 a month, or 68% of the income of someone in Uganda. That is also false – I’ve included the article she references below and the figure is unsourced. I performed the cost- and affordability analysis for BIA schools in 2012, which included detailed data gathering from teams of researchers in slums around Nairobi. In fact, BIA schools, at a cost of 400 Kenyan shillings (~$5) were considerably cheaper than the alternatives. Her statement about the cost of BIA schools is patently false.

Finally, I will make two points. First, BIA did not create the concept of a low-cost private school. It merely focused on streamlining operations to enable economies of scale that would allow it to focus on teacher training and curriculum development – the most important elements of an education. Many, if not most, of BIA students came from other private schools, run by churches, non-profits, or entrepreneurs. Students who could not get into public schools or whose parents did not feel the education was good enough also sent their kids to BIA schools. These parents are discerning consumers of education, and wanted the best for their children. They evaluated schools based on what skills students learn and how they perform on homework and how quickly they learn English and other skills. To assume that they do not what is best for them is paternalistic at best, and harmful at worst.

Second, criticisms in this and other articles ignore fundamental realities about life for the poorest of the poor. The conditions for people living in slums is dire, and the education systems of the countries mentioned in the article are rife with corruption (which is well-detailed). To make a blanket assumption that education is a public good and should be government-run refuses to acknowledges the harsh realities of life in the slums. If BIA succeeds, it will provide parents an alternative to education their children. Or, it will force governments to reconsider their own approach to public education. Either way, it is a good thing for children with few opportunities to escape the unfortunate circumstances into which they were born.

If you have any questions, please email me at

My article:

Further Reading:

“The Beautiful Tree” by James Tooley –

Randomized controlled trials of private education from Jameel Poverty Action Lab:

Josh Weinstein was responding to this comment by Laura Chapman:

I have been looking into Pearson’s second quarter 2015 report and the international marketplace for education.

Pearson has announced that it is in the process of selling many of its publications in order to concentrate on the education market. Although Pearson has lost big testing contracts in the United States it still has monopolies such as edTAP for teacher education and North America is still Pearson’s largest market.

In higher education, Pearson expects fairly stable college enrollments, less yearly churn in courseware, and growth in its online services and VUE (a platform for tests and 450 certifications).

For the pre-K-12 market, Pearson says “the possibility of further policy related disruption remains” but that they “expect greater stability in courseware and assessments with growth in virtual schools.”

Pearson has offices in more than 55 countries. It sees Growth markets in Brazil, China, and India, especially in English language learning and test preparation, almost all of this on-line. Overall, the company is “investing in courseware, assessment and qualifications (certifications), managed services, and schools and colleges. Pearson is planning for “a smaller number of global products and platforms for delivering infrastructure and “common systems and processes.”

Pearson is not the only international player and there are back-scratching relationships in reving up for international projects. For example, Pearson is one of the investors in Bridge International Academies (BIA) offering “Academy-in-a-Box programs from nursery school to grade 6 in over 400 schools. These schools are in Nigeria (world headquarters), Uganda, Kenya, and they are expanding to India. The World Bank has given $10 million to BIA in Africa. At least $30 million more has come from U.S. venture capitalists— Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Pierre Omidyar (founder of EBay) and also from Pearson.

Profits are made by offering a fully scripted curriculum in small schools. These schools are staffed by local instructors who are high school graduates, along with an Academy Manager who oversees and audits classroom instruction, recruits students, and communicates with parents and the local community.

According to BIA’s website, “Teacher scripts are delivered through data-enabled tablets, which seamlessly sync with our headquarters, giving us the ability to monitor lesson pacing in addition to providing the scripts themselves, recording attendance, and tracking assessments in real-time. We also create our own books, manipulatives, instructional songs, symbols for enforcing positive behavioral management, and more, which we are able to produce locally at an extremely low cost.”

Billing, payments, expense and payroll processing, prospective admissions, and the like are taken care of by “smartphone apps” tailored for the Academy Manager and for the Teachers’ tablet. The assessment platform in Kenya is called Tangerine:Class™ a mobile system for doing continuous, formative assessments with tracking of individual students.

Professional educators in each nation “managed by TFA alumni with master’s degrees” build the curriculum to meet national requirements. A video team films lessons for a version of field-testing the curriculum. Curriculum writers review the videos, looking for evidence of student engagement, comprehension, and retention of content. Student exams are used to identify weaknesses in the curriculum and review teacher performance.”

The curriculum explains what teachers should do and say during any given moment of a class, step-by-step. The marketing pitch is: “This allows us to bring best-in-class instruction, international and local research, and curriculum specialists into every one of our classrooms” and …”standardize our high-quality instruction across all of our academies.” …Because of our highly efficient delivery mechanism (marrying talented individuals from each community with technology, scripted instruction, rigorous training, and data-driven oversight), Bridge is able to bring some of the world’s greatest instruction and pedagogical thinking into every classroom in every village and slum in the world.”

BIA outcomes are currently tracked through products from RIT International, a US-based think tank in the process of commercializing some services and products. Bridge is using the Early Grade Reading Assessment (adapted for 40 countries in 60 languages) and the Early Grade Math Assessment (adapted for 10 countries and languages). Some school operations are monitored through Snapshop of School Management Effectiveness (adapted for 16 countries and 12 languages). RIT is a major contractor for almost every branch of the US government, foreign governments, foundations, and other groups.

According to Josh Weinstein who worked on data analytics for BIA in Nairobi, local people saw a contradiction between the Western idea of a liberal education with its emphasis on critical thinking versus the BIA practice of hiring high school graduates to teach from a prepared script. For this reason they automatically assumed that the quality of a Bridge education was poor, and “far below that of more expensive schools.”

Even so, Josh thought that Bridge was a fairly low-cost improvement over non-formal schools and government schools with little in-house teacher training. Josh was in charge of routine testing of 3,000 Bridge students matched with peers at government and other non-formal schools. So far, Josh says there are strong gains in basic reading relative to peers, and less strong, but still measurable, gains in math.

Josh (a global entrepeneur) was impressed that data is being used to improve the business model–profits, educational outcomes, efficiencies in ancillary services, the location of schools, and web-site performance. He said that policies can be examined on short notice and “changes can easily be rolled out across every single school.” He said that each school is profitable at a relatively small size, so more schools means revenue for scaling up.”

A group called “Global Justice Now” claimed that the real total cost of sending one child to a Bridge school is not the advertised $5 to $6 a month. It is $9 to $13 a month, and up to $20 a month with school meals. In Kenya, sending three children to BIA would represent 68% of the monthly income of half the population. In Uganda, sending three children to BIA would represent 75% of the monthly income of half the population.”

Anyone reasonably attuned to developments in American education will not find it difficult to see the scale of infiltration of TFA viewpoints and practices into the international marketplace. Moreover the same billionaires, corporate and international players are dominating the landscape.

Anyone with an eye to developments in American education can also see the pretense of representing ‘the world’s greatest instruction and pedagogical thinking” as scripted instruction, with data-driven oversight, apps for everything, and unacknowledged colonial values.

Pearson has sold two of its premier publications–the Financial Times and The Economist–to focus on education.

“The Financial Times and The Economist were sold to help Pearson’s push into education become “one of the great global growth stories of the next decade,” the company’s chief executive told CNBC.”

“Despite its lengthy ownership of the Financial Times and its stake in the Economist Group (owner of The Economist magazine), Pearson has focused on consolidating its place as the world’s leading education company in recent years. It offers a range of public school exams as well as online and traditional educational resources for schools, universities and professionals.

“We are tying our future to what I think is going to be one of the great global growth stories of the next decade,” John Fallon told CNBC on Friday.
“Parents in countries around the world, rich and poor, the single thing that matters to them most is equipping their kids with the skills and the knowledge to go to university, to learn English as a foreign language, because that’s what’s going to get them a better job and a better start in life and that’s what we’re lining Pearson up to and it’s a huge opportunity for us.”

Jeff Bryant has written an excellent in-depth investigative report on Jeb Bush’s boasts about the “Florida miracle.”

The alleged miracle is pure hogwash. The biggest beneficiaries are the profiteers and entrepreneurs who have opened 600 charter schools across the state.

As Jeff writes, Jeb got into the charter business to polish up his image after losing the 1994 race for governor. A defining moment occurred when asked in a debate what he would do for blacks, if he were elected. He answered, “Probably nothing.” When he learned about charter schools, he found the perfect vehicle to burnish his credentials in education and civil rights.

He worked hard to pass charter legislation, then opened the state’s first charter school in impoverished Liberty City in 1996. He still boasts about the school but forgets to add that it closed in 2008.

Bryant interviewed Florida State Senator Dwight Bullard, who represents the section of Miami that includes Liberty City.

Bullard denounced Bush’s A-F grading law “that perpetually traps schools serving the most struggling students with an “F” label, and opening up communities to unproven charter schools that compete with neighborhood schools for funding….

“According to Bullard, charter school expansion did more harm than good in Liberty City. As charter schools chipped away student population from the neighborhood schools, the local elementary school struggled to keep its enrollment up, and the middle school eventually closed as lower student populations drained the schools’ resources.

“In Bullard’s view, charter schools also help create an unhealthy revolving door, where kids cycle from public schools to charters, and then back into the public schools when charters close down. As schools open and close, the better-prepared students tend to find spots in other new charters, while the lowest performing kids get kicked back into struggling, underfunded public schools.”

Today, major charter chains dominate the Florida landscape, and most operate for profit.

“One person who has paid close attention to the spread of charter schools in Florida is Sue Legg. As a public school teacher, college professor and an administrator of state school assessment contracts at the University of Florida for over 30 years, Legg has had a ringside seat to the Florida charter school circus. In a series of reports produced for the Florida chapter of the League of Women Voters, Legg revealed the many ways charter schools in Florida spread political corruption and financial opportunism while doing little to improve the academic performance of their students.

“Her year-long 2014 study, conducted in 28 Florida counties, found a 20 percent closure rate for charters due to financial problems or poor academic performance — a closure rate that has now increased to over 40 percent. The charter schools studied generally did not perform better than public schools, and tended to be more racially segregated. A significant number of these charters operated for-profit and operated in church related facilities.

“In a phone conversation with Legg, she described how charter school expansions are being driven by a state legislature with numerous connections to the charter school industry. “States get around local control by using a statewide contract for charters,” she explained. And whenever a local board rejects a new charter school or threatens a charter school with closure, the school can appeal to the state. “The appeals process overturns about half of district denials of charter operation,” Legg contends.

“The conflicts of interest among charter schools and Florida state legislators was raised to national prominence by an article in Esquire written by Charlie Pierce. Pierce quoted from a 2013 Florida newspaper article:

“A growing number of lawmakers have personal ties to charter schools. Sen. John Legg [no relation to Sue Legg], who chairs the Senate Education Committee, is co-founder and business administrator of Dayspring Academy in Port Richey. Anne Corcoran, wife of future House Speaker Richard Corcoran, plans to open a classics-themed charter school in Pasco County. House Budget Chairman Seth McKeel is on the board of the McKeel Academy Schools in Polk County. In addition, the brother-in-law of House Education Appropriations Chairman Erik Fresen runs the state’s largest charter management firm, Academica Corp. And Sen. Anitere Flores, also of Miami, is the president of an Academica-managed charter college in Doral.”

Florida mainstream media have paid attention to the financial scandals and corruption in the charter sector. The Miami Herald’s Kathleen McGrory wrote an excellent series called “Cashing in on Kids.”

The Sun Sentinel has exposed scandal after scandal.

“In a more recent series of investigative articles, from 2014, the Sun Sentinel found, “Unchecked charter-school operators are exploiting South Florida’s public school system, collecting taxpayer dollars for schools that quickly shut down … virtually anyone can open or run a charter school and spend public education money with near impunity.”

“Examples cited in the series include a man who received $450,000 in tax dollars to open two new charter schools just months after his first one collapsed. The schools closed in seven weeks. Another example: A man with “a history of foreclosures, court-ordered payments, and bankruptcy received $100,000 to start a charter school.” It closed in two months.”

The charter industry in Florida is a textbook example of the squandering of taxpayer dollars to undermine public schools and satisfy private greed. It’s not about kids.

It is about privatization and profit. Don’t be hoaxed.

D.L. Paulson is a reader who has commented before on the entrepreneurs who are investing in privatization and disruption in public education. Here he comments again on GSV (Global Silicon Valley), a leading edge investment company in the education sector.

GSV is a syndicate of financial/investment companies. GSV Advisors is where some of the trouble lies, at least in terms of conflict of interest and self-dealing. The management team invests personally in charter schools which in turn buy the products of its other portfolio companies. GSV (Advisors or Capital, it’s not altogether clear) also supports, which serves as a faux-journalistic voice for this “reform” movement. And all this goes on while GSV Advisors dispenses its advice to its “sister company”, GSV Capital, which makes the big investments, including the bad ones in Coursera and Chegg. (The jury is still out on U2 and Declara.)

GSV Advisors operates in a way that probably makes its management team rich—and possibly at the expense of GSV Capital, because of the personal investments mentioned earlier. Why GSV Capital stockholders put up with this situation is baffling, because this publicly-traded company has never performed very well. It has made up for its bad decisions in the education market by smarter decisions with companies like Twitter and Dropbox. Apparently GSV’s very smart management team can’t quite grasp why its expertise in one area, growing high tech companies, doesn’t carry over to student learning. Nevertheless, its poor decisions in education substantially worsen the condition of our schools, because of all the propagandizing, “disruptive technologies”, and siphoning of taxpayer money.

You should look at this page which shows the management team for GSV Capital:

Notice anything? It’s hard to miss: no women, no color, not a hint of educational experience. Yet this small group, *unelected* and cloistered in a corporate boardroom, is making hugely important decisions about the education of our youth. Americans need to be aware of what’s happening here. We *all* need to rise up and reclaim our schools before it’s too late. And we need to understand this goes way beyond the false notions of “choice” and “student performance”. It’s not the government that’s doing something wrong here; it’s the corporations that are meddling where they don’t belong. Please, let’s not allow a 19th century-type oligopoly to destroy public education in America. It would be worse than railroads and oil; it would mean a diminished future for our children, our communities, our nation.

Susan Ochshorn of The ECE Policy Wirks notes an insidious trend: entrepreneurs have discovered Hart and Risley’s vocabulary gap between children who live in poverty and those who live in professional families.

“Reducing the gap of 30 million words between low- and high-income children has approached the level of national obsession. The Clinton Foundation got on board with its initiative Too Small to Fail. So did the University of Chicago medical school, which created a website to support the ongoing conversation.

Efforts reached a fevered pitch in the fall of 2014. The White House Office on Science and Technology, the Urban Institute, Too Small to Fail, the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the Institute for Museum and Library Services hosted a forum for policymakers, researchers, and early childhood advocates to discuss the gap–a matter, some might argue, of national security.”

It was only a matter of time until the “education industrial complex” began to produce new technologies to sell.

But before you buy the latest software or apps, writes Ochshorn, consider a better alternative.

She writes:

“Just today, Roberta Michnick Golinkoff and Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, the authors of ‘How Babies Talk’, and two of the nation’s foremost experts on language acquisition, published an op-ed in the Dallas Morning News. Our efforts are missing the mark, they say. Filling little ones’ brains with 30 million words is not the right approach. How we communicate is key, in that intimate sphere of adult and child:

“We must promote warm and caring relationships in which adults don’t just talk to children, but instead engage in a back-and-forth interaction. When parents keep the conversation going, rather than simply trying to get their children to hear as many words as possible, they are preparing their children for later language and school success.

“I’ll take that—along with economic security, paid family leave, high-quality child care, flexibility in the workplace, and a big reduction in the child poverty rate. It seems to me that all of the above would go a long way toward promoting those “positive experiences with language and reading, in a safe, nonjudgmental environment.”

The New York Times reported in June that hedge funds invested heavily in Puerto Rico, feeling sure that the Puerto Rican government could turn the economic crisis around.

Now that the debt crisis has worsened, hedge funds are advising the government of Puerto Rico to save money by closing some schools, laying off teachers, and cutting university budgets. Most people think of education as the seed corn of future growth, but not the hedge funds. They want their debts repaid. Maybe they will propose bringing the African model of cheap, for-profit schools to Puerto Rico, which will cut costs considerably while opening new investment opportunities. (See here.)

According to the Times:

Hedge funds like Appaloosa Management, Paulson & Company and Blue Mountain Capital gathered in a conference room at the Barclays offices in Midtown Manhattan last September to talk about what was then the hottest trade: Puerto Rico.

An hour into the conversation, however, it became clear that if things started going bad, not everyone in the room was going to get along. Some had wagered on real estate, while others had bought up the debts of the central government and its troubled electric utility.

Those divisions intensify an increasingly contentious battle the hedge funds are beginning to wage to salvage an investment that, less than a year ago, looked like a sure thing.

This week’s announcement by Gov. Alejandro García Padilla of Puerto Rico that the commonwealth may seek to delay debt payments has thrown the hedge funds’ investment strategies into turmoil.

The governor said that at the rate the debt is developing, every person in Puerto Rico would owe creditors $40,000 by 2025.The Bonds That Broke Puerto RicoJUNE 30, 2015
Puerto Rico is struggling with more than $70 billion in debt and a sluggish economy.Puerto Rico Debt Crisis Splits Congress on Party Lines and Draws Muted Response From White HouseJUNE 29, 2015
Gov. Alejandro García Padilla plans to discuss the island’s fiscal crisis on a televised broadcast on Monday night.Puerto Rico’s Governor Says Island’s Debts Are ‘Not Payable’JUNE 28, 2015
Even debts that appeared to be secure now seem in jeopardy, sending hedge funds and other investors scrambling to re-examine their legal rights and potential remedies should the government push for a restructuring.

The Commonwealth’s biggest cheerleader on Wall Street has been John Paulson:

For the hedge funds, the idea was to lend the money at high interest rates, then flip the bonds to traditional municipal bond investors, like mutual funds, once the fiscal crisis on the island had passed. As part of that strategy, some of the hedge funds circulated research last summer arguing that Puerto Rico’s problems were overstated.

But Governor García Padilla is now contending exactly the opposite, releasing a report by former officials at the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank that says that Puerto Rico’s deficit is worse than it appears and that the commonwealth cannot solve its problems without restructuring its debts, possibly even its general obligation bonds.

Still, Puerto Rico’s relationship with the hedge fund industry is complicated. At the same time the government is gearing up for a series of restructurings with hedge funds and other creditors, officials are courting investments in the broader economy.

Hedge funds have been among the few investors willing to take a chance that Puerto Rico can turn things around.

Puerto Rico’s biggest hedge fund cheerleader in New York has been the billionaire John A. Paulson. Mr. Paulson told investors at an investment conference in San Juan last year that Puerto Rico’s economy was turning a corner. He went as far as to predict it would be the Singapore of the Caribbean, referring to the Southeast Asian city-state that is considered the region’s biggest economic success story.

Mr. Paulson bought up some of the island’s most exclusive luxury hotels, including the St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort, the Condado Vanderbilt Hotel and the La Concha Renaissance hotel and tower.

And he has acted as a de facto liaison between the commonwealth and Wall Street.

Reader D.L. Paulson is not impressed with the entrepreneurial strategy of profiting from public education funding:

The track record of GSV Capital, in terms of educational investments, is not very good. Perhaps its biggest dud: Coursera. But that’s the corporate wing. There are also “personal investments” by GSC Advisors ( Besides the obvious conflict of interest with this investment strategy—which should be no surprise for anyone following Deborah Quazzo’s career—it’s striking how poorly most of the companies are doing. If not for Japanese-like keiretsu (for example, a GSV-funded company called Clever partnering with other GSV companies), most would falter. It’s like a 1999 tech bubble waiting to pop. Or worse, GSV is fleecing investors with a pyramid scheme, complete with its own market research firm and cheerleading press (, also GSV funded).

For more on this, see and Mercedes Schneider’s Chronicle of Echoes.

All investment talk aside, it’s sad to think that GSV compares its corporate mission to the American revolution (see There is no lack of irony here. The extraction of profits from public schools is not democratic. It’s the reverse. It’s more control by corporations and less control by individuals over their own lives. It’s meant to replace the human endeavors of teaching and learning with machines, solely for the purpose of efficiency and maximizing profit. “Reform” is just a pretense to pull in more investors. (When your fund under-performs, it helps to fall back on some notion of social responsibility.) GSV’s mission is totally antithetical to freedom and self-fulfillment, two key ideas behind the real American Revolution.

Please read the following sentence from And before you read the sentence, know that the report comes from a kindred spirit of GSV Advisors. The subtitle is, “How companies can create shared value by improving education while driving shareholder returns”. The authors swoon over these companies, saying:

“They are transforming the education pipeline by reimagining education as a dynamic ecosystem in which companies are fully engaged from cradle to career.”

Cradle to career? That should make us shudder.


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