Kevin Welner of the National Education Policy Center, which had been one of the most respected critics of corporate education reform, has announced its intention to cross over and join the reformers! This is terrible news for all those who counted on its ability to marshall first-rate scholars to debunk the claims and hoaxes of the “reform” movement.

Welner says that he is to doing it for the money. The big money, he claims, is with parents and teachers, not hedge fund managers or the Walton or Gates or Broad Foundations.

To quote the press release:

BOULDER, CO (April 1, 2015) – The National Education Policy Center today announced that it is changing its mission statement and renouncing the pursuit of strong, equitable public schools.

NEPC director Kevin Welner admitted that the whole enterprise had been a ruse, and that he and his colleagues were really only in it for the money and for the elation of constant policy victories.

The NEPC’s mission statement has been “to produce and disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed research to inform education policy discussions. … guided by the belief that the democratic governance of public education is strengthened when policies are based on sound evidence.”

Welner announced that the new mission statement would be “to promote policies that have a surface appeal, that are built on the whimsical magic of the free market, and that use schools to facilitate the reproduction of inequalities from generation to generation.” Research evidence, Welner added, would be created whenever necessary to prop up these goals.

“We know that by abandoning our past mission we’ll have to forgo the immense funding advantages that come from caring about high-quality evidence and equity and public schooling. But that was never really us. There comes a time when we must set aside our crass pursuit of financial support and dedicate ourselves to our true ideals. If this means trying to squeeze money from financially strapped hedge fund managers or ‘reform-focused’ foundations with tiny endowments, then that’s just what we will have to do,” said Welner.