Laura Chapman explains the nature of “Education Cities,” the latest plaything of the Billionaire Boys Club!

Here is the latest reformy initiative: Education Cities!

Our dear friend Laura Chapman has deciphered what this latest disruptive program is.

She writes:

“Here is some information about Education Cities.

“It is connected to the Education Entrepreneurship Trust (CEE-Trust) launched by The Mind Trust in Indianapolis.

“Both ventures have received Gates Foundation money to push “personalized learning.”

“About Education Cities:

“FUNDERS Laura and John Arnold foundation, Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, and Walton Family Foundation.


“Education Cities works with leading organizations to help our members achieve their missions.”

1. “Bellwether Education Partners works with Education Cities on research and capacity building projects. Bellwether is a nonprofit dedicated to helping education organizations—in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors—become more effective in their work and achieve dramatic results, especially for high-need students.”

“In Cincinnati, Bellwether was the recruiter for the “Accelerate Great Schools,” initiative that seemed to have appeared out of nowhere, pushed by high profile local foundations and the business community—all intent on marketing the need for “high quality seats” meaning you close and open schools based on the state’s weapon-ized system of rating schools, increase charter schools, and hire TFA. (We have a TFA alum on the school board). The CEO of Accelerate Great Schools recruited by Bellwether was a TFA manager from MindTrust in Indianapolis. He lasted about 18 months and accelerated himself to a new job.

2. “Center on Reinventing Public Education (CRPE) at the University of Washington partners with Education Cities to analyze and identify policies that create the conditions that allow great schools to thrive. Through research and policy analysis, CRPE seeks ways to make public education more effective, especially for America’s disadvantaged students.”

“CRPE should be regarded as an operational arm of the Gates Foundation. It marketed the Gates “Compacts,” a make-nice-with-your-charters MOU giving district resources to charters with charters promising to share their “best practices” and other nonsense. The bait included $100,000 up front with the promise of more money to the district if they met x, y, z, terms of the memorandum of understanding. Only few districts got extra money. Many reasons, some obvious like the departure of the people who signed the MOUs.

3. “Public Impact” partners with Education Cities (and Bellwether Education Partners) on research and capacity building projects. With a mission to dramatically improve learning outcomes for all children in the United States, Public Impact concentrates its work on creating the conditions in which great schools can thrive. The Opportunity Culture initiative aims to extend the reach of excellent teaches and their teams to more students, for more pay, within recurring budgets. Public Impact, a national research and consulting firm, launched the Opportunity Culture initiative’s implementation phase in 2011, with funding from The Joyce Foundation, Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.” Current work is funded by the Overdeck Family Foundation and the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation.”

“Public Impact is marketing 13 school turnaround models, almost all of these with reassignments of teachers and students to accommodate “personalized” something. One arm of the “opportunity culture” website is a job placement service for teachers. In prior administrations Public Impact and Bellwether worked together to get USDE support for charter schools.

4. “Thomas B. Fordham Institute partners with Education Cities to analyze and identify policies and practices that create the conditions that allow great schools to thrive. The Thomas B. Fordham Institute works to advance educational excellence for every child through research, analysis, and commentary, as well as on-the-ground action and advocacy in Ohio.”

“Well, we have a pretty good idea in Ohio of how all of that pontification worked out.

“Here are the cities in the foundation-led move to eliminate democratically elected school boards and substitute public schools with contract schools that receive public funds but usually privately operated. At one time the number of Education Cities was 30, then 28, now 25.

1. Albuquerque, NM, Excellent Schools New Mexico

2. Baton Rouge, LA New Schools for Baton Rouge

3. Boise, ID Bluum

4. Boston, MA Boston Schools Fund, Empower Schools

5. Chicago, IL, New Schools for Chicago

6. Cincinnati, OH, Accelerate Great Schools

7. Denver, CO, Gates Family Foundation, Donnell-Kay Foundation

8. Detroit, MI, The Skillman Foundation

9. Indianapolis, IN, The Mind Trust

10. Kansas City, MO, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation

11. Las Vegas, NV, Opportunity 180

12. Los Angeles, CA, Great Public Schools Now

15. Memphis, TN, Memphis Education Fund

16. Minneapolis, MN, Minnesota Comeback

17. Nashville, TN, Project Renaissance

18. New Orleans, LA, New Schools for New Orleans

19. Oakland, CA, Educate78, Great Oakland Public Schools Leadership Center, Rogers Family Foundation

20. Philadelphia, PA, Philadelphia School Partnership

21. Phoenix, AZ, New Schools for Phoenix

22. Richmond, CA, Chamberlin Family Foundation

23. Rochester, NY, E3 Rochester

24. San Jose, CA, Innovate Public Schools

25. Washington, DC, Education Forward DC, CityBridge Education

“These cities have been targeted for capture by promoters of choice, charters, tech, poaching talent and resources from public schools, and pushing the idea that established public schools are failures.”