Now here is a nasty job, but someone has to do it (if the price is right.) Even “reformers” agree that virtual charters are a disaster, a sector with horrible results that is populated by entrepreneurs and grifters. 

Peter Greene reviews an effort by “reformers” to salvage the rightly blemished record of this industry of scammers. 

Can it be done? Not really. 

First, he examines the connections of the writers of this report. Gold-plated reformers, for sure. Then he shows that their “insights” are either old hat, commonplace, or silly. 

The report was written by Public Impact, whose staff has few actual educators. 

Like most such groups, Public Impact likes to crank out “reports” that serve as slickly packaged advocacy for one reform thing or another. Two of their folk have just whipped together such a report for Bluum. Sigh. Yes, I know, but it’s important to mark all the wheels within wheels if for no other reason than A) it’s important to grasp just how many people are employed in the modern reformster biz and B) later, when these groups and people turn up again, you want to remember what they’ve been up to before.

What is Bluum? 

So Bluum. This Idaho-based is a “non-profit organization committed to ensuring Idaho’s children reach their fullest potential by cultivating great leaders and innovative schools.” Its 2016 990 form lists that mission, though it includes some more specific work. “Bluum assists the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Family Foundation determine where to make education investments that will result in the growth of high performing seats in Idaho.” (I will never not find the image of a high-performing seat” not funny.)Then they monitor the results. The Albertsons are Idaho grocery millionaires with an interest in education causes.

Blum’s CEO is Terry Ryan, who previously worked for the Thomas B. Fordham Institute in Ohio.

Bluum partners with Teach for America, NWEA. National School Choice Week, the PIE Network, and Education Cities, to name a few. And they are the project lead on the consortium that landed a big, juicy federal CSP grant to expand charters (that’s the program that turns out to have wasted at least a billion dollars).

Just so we’re clear– this report did not come from a place of unbiased inquiry. It came from a place of committed marketing.

Of “reform-style” mushrooms, the supply is endless, and the money is infinite. The results are consistently negative. Yet they keep trying.

The Albertson Foundation in Idaho is a rightwing foundation that shares the Betsy DeVos agenda.