Tom Ultican, retired teacher of advanced math and physics, has been reporting on the aggressive plans and spectacular failures of the Destroy Public Education Movement.

In this post, he details the explosion of funding to increase privatization of public assets in Texas, most notably carried out by the IDEA charter chain.

He begins:

“First it was KIPP, then it was YES Prep and now IDEA has become the point of the destroy public education (DPE) spear in Texas. KIPP flourished because GAP founders Don and Doris Fisher gave them big money. YES Prep so excited Oprah that she presented them with a million dollar check during a TV interview. Now, John Arnold has given IDEA $10 million to expand into Houston and the El Paso based Council on Regional Economic Expansion and Educational Development has pledged another $10 million for IDEA to expand into El Paso.

“The oddest DPE inspired plan of all comes from Austin, Texas. In 2016, the Austin American Statesman reported that the relatively small KLE foundation is committing $16 million to IDEA. Odd because that represents more than half of the foundation’s assets and is 20 times greater than any previous grant. The Statesman article says, “The financial gift … will more than double IDEA Austin’s previous expansion plans by 2022, and the charter school says the donation will help it boost enrollment to 20,000 students, more than 12 times as many as it has now.”

“A recent article in the Santa Fe New Mexican says about the IDEA growth initiative, “Those plans include expanding to 173 pre-K, elementary, middle and high schools from Texas to Louisiana and Florida by 2022 — a goal of serving 100,000 students compared to 35,595 today.”

“YES Prep, KIPP and IDEA have many similarities. All three charter school systems were started by Teach for America (TFA) alums. None of the founders had more than three years experience teaching, nor did they have any education training other than a five week TFA summer course. It is perplexing when industry leaders like Walton, Fisher, Broad and Gates lavish inexperienced and untrained school founders with millions of dollars.”

The IDEA chain won $29 Million from Arne Duncan’s Race to the Top.

Ultican reviews the research about IDEA, which features boasting, high attrition rates, and careful selection of students.

He details the finances of the IDEA chain, which includes a bevy of high-paid executives and a staggering asset value.

He writes:

“At the end of 2016, IDEA’s asset value climbed to $680,172,540 and their year’s income was $332,775,059.”

This is big business. It has mastered the art of gaming the system. It is leading the march to Destroy Public Education in Texas.