Laura Chapman writes here about the beast that wants to Destroy Public Education, which has many names:

Many of these schemes are part of the Education Cities initiative. I may have commented about this before.

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.”

“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 deep pockets in 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. You also 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.

“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.” These are MOUs (memoranda of understanding) designed to create a “make-nice-with-your-charter schools who want to have you for lunch.” The MOUs mean that districts agree to give central office resources to charters (e.g., deals on meals and transportation) with charters promising to share their “best practices” and other nonsense. The bait to districts included $100,000 up front with the promise of more money to the district if they met x, y, z, terms of the MOU. Only few districts got extra money. Many reasons, some obvious like the departure of the people who signed the MOUs.

“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 teachers 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.”

Get past the self-aggrandizing rhetoric and you see that 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 USDE administrations, Public Impact and Bellwether worked together to get federal support for charter schools.Both have political clout.

“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 fold public schools into a portfolio of contract schools that receive public funds but are privately operated. At one time the number of Education Cities was 30, then 28, now 25.

Albuquerque, NM, Excellent Schools New Mexico
Baton Rouge, LA New Schools for Baton Rouge
Boise, ID Bluum
Boston, MA Boston Schools Fund, Empower Schools
Chicago, IL, New Schools for Chicago
Cincinnati, OH, Accelerate Great Schools
Denver, CO, Gates Family Foundation, Donnell-Kay Foundation
Detroit, MI, The Skillman Foundation
Indianapolis, IN, The Mind Trust
Kansas City, MO, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation
Las Vegas, NV, Opportunity 180
Los Angeles, CA, Great Public Schools Now
Memphis, TN, Memphis Education Fund
Minneapolis, MN, Minnesota Comeback
Nashville, TN, Project Renaissance
New Orleans, LA, New Schools for New Orleans
Oakland, CA, Educate78, Great Oakland Public Schools Leadership Center, Rogers Family Foundation
Philadelphia, PA, Philadelphia School Partnership
Phoenix, AZ, New Schools for Phoenix
Richmond, CA, Chamberlin Family Foundation
Rochester, NY, E3 Rochester
San Jose, CA, Innovate Public Schools
Washington, DC, Education Forward DC, CityBridge Education

These cities have been targeted by national and local non-profits for capture by promoters of choice, charters, and tech. This is a national effort designed to make school “reform” look like it is a local initiative, inspired by generosity and driven by civic values and “partnerships” in combination with “forward thinking” associated with a chamber of commerce campaign. Look at the names of these initiatives; New Schools, Education Forward, Comeback, Renaissance, and so on. Marketing market-based and corporate managed education is the aim and it is sought by pushing the idea that established public schools are failures