Our reader and amazing researcher draws a map of the covert networks that promote school choice, privatization, high-stakes testing, and the rest of the corporate reform agenda.
Third Wave is a new marketing package for ideas forged at the Center on Reinventing Public Education (CRPE), aided by charter friendly Bellwether, field tested in Boston, New Orleans, and coming to other “Education Cities.” Third Wave is a planed tsunami intended to eliminate local school boards. Private foundations—the billionaire donor class—provides the impetus for the Third Wave. Themes in the pitch for donor-controlled education “seats” for kids, and nothing less than “great” schools.
Some remote links to this Third Wave brand can be traced to Alvin Toffler’s book with the same title, also “disruptive” narratives of many kinds in academe, with one example about “educational choice” in Great Britain: The ‘Third Wave’: Education and the Ideology of Parentocracy. Phillip Brown;Source: British Journal of Sociology of Education, Vol. 11, No. 1 (1990), pp. 65-85 Volume Information. (1990). British Journal of Sociology of Education, 11(1), 1-2. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/1392908
A key feature of the Third Wave brand is getting “cross-sector universal student enrollment” installed as a new norm for thinking about education, with an ever diminishing role for elected school boards in policy making.
Here is a Gates foundation launch in Massachusetts: Grant to Boston Private Industry Council Inc. Date: September 2014, Purpose: to support the design and launch of a cross-sector universal student enrollment system for the city of Boston, Amount: $100,000 Term: 34 months.
That is one small grant. But the big push for Third Wave comes from the Center on Reinventing Public Education (CRPE). This organization is really a multi-state policy/advocacy group funded by The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Carnegie Corporation of New York, Laura and John Arnold Foundation, Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, US Department of Education, Walton Family Foundation, and Anonymous. (Yes, USDE is a funder!).
The POLICY PARTNERS for the Center for Reinventing Pubic education are:
1. National Center for Special Education in Charter Schools funded by the Oak Foundation, Walton Family Foundation, Newark Charter School Fund, and Charter School Growth Fund.
2. Education Cities (100 of the largest cities, implicated in a rating scheme funded by the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation and connected to the GreatSchools rating and marketing website), and the
3. Policy Innovation Network (PIE). Let’s look at the connection of PIE to CRPE to Third Wave.
The PIE Network connects 48 “education reform groups” in 31 states and the District of Columbia. In addition to feeding information to these groups, PIE asks the groups to commit to policies formulated by its “policy partners” and work with “advocacy partners” including many national organizations “often active in state capitols, working in collaboration with network members or providing strategic advice and assistance as invited by network members.” Think Superpac.
Here are the MEMBERS of PIE by state: ALABAMA, A+ Education Partnership; ARIZONA, Expect More Arizona, Stand for Children Arizona; CALIFORNIA, The Education Trust- West, EdVoice; COLORADO, Colorado Succeeds, Stand for Children Colorado; CONNECTICUT, ConnCAN, Connecticut Council for Education Reform; DELAWARE, Rodel Foundation of Delaware; DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, DC School Reform Now; FLORIDA, Foundation for Florida’s Future, GEORGIA, Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education; IDAHO, Idaho Business for Education; ILLINOIS, Advance Illinois, Stand for Children Illinois; INDIANA, Stand for Children Indiana; KENTUCKY, Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence; LOUISIANA, Stand for Children Louisiana; MARYLAND, MarylandCAN; MASSACHUSETTS, Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education, Stand for Children Massachusetts; MICHIGAN, The Education Trust- Midwest; MINNESOTA, MinnCAN; MISSISSIPPI, Mississippi First; MISSOURI, Children’s Education Alliance of Missouri (CEAM); NEVADA, Nevada Succeeds; NEW JERSEY, JerseyCAN; NEW YORK, NYCAN, StudentsFirstNY; NORTH CAROLINA, BEST-NC, North Carolina Public School Forum; OHIO, KidsOhio!, Thomas B. Fordham Institute of Ohio; OKLAHOMA, Oklahoma Business and Education Coalition, Stand for Children Oklahoma; OREGON, Chalkboard Project, Stand for Children Oregon; PENNSYLVANIA, PennCAN; RHODE ISLAND, RI-CAN; TENNESSEE, State Collaborative on Reforming Education, Stand for Children Tennessee; TEXAS, Educate Texas, Stand for Children Texas, Texas Institute for Education Reform; WASHINGTON, League of Education Voters, Partnership for Learning, Stand for Children Washington. Surce: http://www.pie-network.org/who/network-members.
Then there are the POLICY PARTNERS for PIE—which is connected to CPRE— which is connected to Third Wave— with generous funding by with the mega-billionaire donor class behind the so-called Third Wave.
“Evidence and expertise play an essential role in forging public policy solutions to formidable institutional challenges; therefore, PIE Network partners with six leading national policy organizations that fuel reform on a national level, disseminate critical research, and offer guidance to network members.” These POLICY PARTNERS are: Center for American Progress, Center on Reinventing Public Education, Data Quality Campaign, Education Resource Strategies, National Council on Teacher Quality, and Thomas B. Fordham Institute. All are famous (infamous) for plots and policies and their obligations to the billionaire donor class. All are intent on eliminating elected school boards and pouring tax dollars into the coffers of private and religious schools.
Look again. Here are PIE’s ADVOCACY PARTNERS and what they do—The ”growing number of national reform organizations are also working at the state level to advance part of the network’s policy commitments. These organizations, which we recognize as advocacy partners, are often active in state capitols working in collaboration with network members or providing strategic advise and assistance as invited by network members. The current ADVOCACY PARTNERS include: 50CAN – national office, America Succeeds, Black Alliance for Educational Options, Democrats for Education Reform, Education Trust, Educators 4 Excellence, Families for Excellent Schools, Foundation for Excellence in Education, National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, Parent Revolution, StudentsFirst, Students for Education Reform – national office, Stand for Children – national office. You can learn more at
Now there is a bit more detail (if you can stand it) in how Bellwether aids and abets the Third Wave’s efforts to discredit and demolish elected school boards, silece teachers, parents, and citizens.
I live in Cincinnati. Local foundations with projects in education have been part of a STRIVE collaborative with the Cincinnati Public Schools, Some members in this group have become part of a foundation-led “Accelerator” with a recently hired CEO and a target of $48 million for eliminating every good school that is not a “great school.” The Accelerator is a pitch for cross-sector universal student enrollment for the metro area, and with a specific inclusion of Catholic schools.
Charter-friendly Bellwether handled the CEO recruitment. The Bellwether job description begins with the Gates mantra of college and career readiness for every child. It is filled with “business and charter speak”—the need for a talent pipeline to “create a total of 14,500 new high-performing seats in the city.”
Our local “Accelerator” is “committed to a three-part philosophy: 1. To focus on each school’s performance, not its operator; 2. To embrace and support all successful schools whether they’re District, public charter, or Catholic, and 3. To focus on the development and expansion of schools and school models that deliver outstanding results.”
Among other qualifications, the CEO of this Accelerator was to have: “political savvy, and instincts sharp enough to navigate and establish productive relationships across the Cincinnati educational, philanthropic and political landscape;” and the “ability to identify new sources of funding from foundations, corporations, investors, and/or individual donors, and the skills required to secure these resources through relationship-building.”
REPORTING STRUCTURE. This initiative “was founded with significant engagement and support from the local philanthropic community. Members of this community will play a key role on the Board of Directors.” Over the next three years, the Accelerator will build out the Board, including a focus on adding perspectives from one or more national funders and one or more local community leaders. The Board will not likely exceed nine members, will meet at least quarterly, and will focus specifically on providing strategic and financial guidance.“ See more at this ink, and note the long reach of CRPE. http://www.crpe.org/sites/default/files/csa_ceo_jd-final.pdf
The CEO of our Accelerator is Patrick Herrel. He seems to have held three prior jobs: a government and economics teacher in Charlotte, North Carolina; Teach for America manager of recruiters across the Midwest; and Vice President of The Mind Trust in Indianapolis, where he helped launch “autonomous schools,” and “in-district, empowered schools.” I guess he had the needed fast track tsunami stuff. In 2012, Herrel was named one of Forbes Magazine’s “30 under 30” in education.
I am not alone in questioning the Accelerator and presumptions of our local donor class, most of them speaking as if experts in education based on their great wealth accumulated from holding executive positions in corporations. They believe that the end—metrics for high performance” justify whatever means are necessary to get the intended outcomes. Operators of schools do not matter. What citizens and elected officials think is of no great importance. They think they can buy the “seats” for poor students in high performing schools and that will do the job. Sounds all too familiar.