Archives for category: Cincinnati

Laura H. Chapman was a devoted supporter of public education, the Network for Public Education, and this blog. I was honored to post her carefully researched and well documented comments on this blog. Although her health clearly was in decline, she faithfully attended every annual meeting of NPE.

Laura was a distinguished arts educator. Please read her obituary in The Cincinnati Enquirer. We have lost a treasured friend.

Laura shared my dislike of billionaire reformers who didn’t know much about education but imagined they could solve its problems with Big Data. She was opposed to privatization of public funds. She opposed the substitution of technology for real teachers. She was a fierce and eloquent supporter of a rounded liberal arts education. she never failed to inspire me with her wisdom.

 

Our reader Laura Chapman wrote about a newly elected member of the school board in Cincinnati. He is a local executive for TFA. The board on which he will serve pays TFA $100,000 to supply inexperienced teachers. He should resign his TFA position or resign from the board. At the very least, he should recuse himself from any discussions of contracts for his employer.

Chapman wrote:

Some details on Cincinnati Ohio elections.

Ben Lindy won a seat on the Cincinnati School Board. Lindy is CEO of Teach for America (TFA) in Southwestern Ohio. He will NOT step down as regional CEO of Teach for America (TFA) in Southwestern Ohio. He has at least one conflict of interest of course, because Cincinnati Public Schools has been co-opted into sending about $100,000 to Lindy’s operation to hire TFA’s.

Lindy got 20% of the vote. Local editorials supported Lindy and attacked the teacher union for not endorsing Lindy. Lindy also raised MORE money than all the other candidates, a whopping $165,398, all for a seat whose pay is capped at $5,000 annually.

TFA executives and staff in 21 states and 26 cities outside of Ohio contributed to his campaign. About $13,000, came from Leadership for Educational Equity or LEE. LEE trains and supports TFA alums (like Lindy) who run for local, state, and national public office. In these positions, they launch unjustified criticisms of public schools, teacher unions, and elected school boards. They aggrandize test scores and they market computers as if these devices offered more “personalized” learning than human teachers.

Lindy was also supported by funders of Accelerate Great Schools. Accelerate Great Schools is the local version of the “Education Cities” effort to put more districts into a portfolio model, managed like stocks in a portfolio. You add, keep, or close schools based on their outcomes, meaning the test scores of students (and other measures in Ohio’s Report Cards where schools are graded, A-F). The Accelerate Great Schools coalition includes: • Cincinnati Business Committee, • Cincinnati Regional Business Committee, • Farmer Family Foundation (wealth from Cintas services), • Haile U.S. Bank Foundation, • KnowledgeWorks Foundation (promoter of computers to replace teachers), and • Archdiocese of Cincinnati. https://www.accelerategreatschools.org/who-we-are/^

Accelerate Great Schools hopes to call the shots if they can get enough people on the school board who approve of TFA temps, the charter school test-em-til-they-drop philosophy, and a portfolio model of privately-managed schools. Lindy and local reporters did not report this factoid: Ben Lindy’s wife, Paige Elisha Lindy, is the Chief of Staff and Operations at Accelerate Great Schools. It is not surprising that Arthur Rock, founder of Intel, worth $340 million, contributed to $4000 to Lindy’s campaign or that KnowledgeWorks, promoter of computer- centric education is in the orbit of the Accelerator. https://www.followthemoney.org/entity-details?eid=37970366

This will not stop the the Cincinnati Education Justice Coalition, advocates for traditional public schools, from calling out the many efforts to undermine public education and deprofessionalize the work of teachers.

 

In this fall’s school board elections in Cincinnati, one of the candidates will be a TFA alum who is trying again after almost being kicked out of the Democratic Party three years ago.

Ben Lindy is the director of Teach for America in Cincinnati. He attended elite suburban schools, then graduated from Yale College and Yale Law School. After he taught in rural North Carolina, he tried to start his  political career by running for state representative in Ohio. He was nearly censured and booted from the Democratic Party at that time when union officials discovered that he had written a law journal article that was anti-union and that was cited in a Supreme Court case to hurt the cause of collective bargaining. In that paper, he argued that collective bargaining agreements raise the performance of high-achieving students and lower the performance of “poorly achieving students.” On the face of it, this claim is absurd, first, because there are many different variables that affect student performance, especially in the state he studied, New Mexico, which has one of the highest child poverty rates in the nation. Consider also that the highest performing states in the nation–Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Jersey–have strong teachers’ unions, while the lowest performing states in the nation (mainly in the South) do not.

The 2016 effort to oust him from the Democratic Party failed by 26-21. When he was questioned about this stance on organized labor, he claimed to be pro-union but claimed that he hadn’t give much though to union issues.

Lindy showed a lack of knowledge about some labor issues. When asked his stance on prevailing wage, he said: “This is an issue I’d like to know more about.”

“I’m not hearing how you’ve evolved,” said Pat Bruns, a committee member who sits on the state board of education.

Lindy is a prodigious fund-raiser, which is enough to recommend him to some party leaders.

But party leaders should check where Lindy’s campaign cash is coming from. If it is coming from “Democrats for Education Reform,” bear in mind that these are hedge fund managers who are anti-union and anti-public schools, who favor TFA and merit pay. If it is coming from “Leadership for Educational Equity,” that is TFA’s political arm, which is anti-union and pro-charter school.

Be informed before you vote.