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Hoosier School Heist: The Book with the Dirt on School Privatization

3:29 pm in Uncategorized by Doug Martin

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything here, but I want everyone who is interested to know that my book Hoosier School Heist is out, and I am currently travelling Indiana speaking.  If you haven’t heard of the book, here is a brief rundown and what people are saying about it.

Indiana State Capitol, Indianapolis, Indiana

Indiana State Capitol, Indianapolis, Indiana

From the book’s press release:

Doug Martin’s Hoosier School Heist: How Corporations and Theocrats Stole Democracy From Public Education is out!  While mentioning Philly, Chicago, DC, New Orleans, Boston, and other cities across America, the book focuses on the assault on Indiana public schools and gives the dirt on the billionaires, theocrats, and corporations who are really calling the shots from behind the scenes: Jeb Bush, ALEC, the Waltons of Walmart, Bill Gates, Eli Lilly, Overstock.com, the Bradley Foundation, the Friedman Foundation, Amway’s DeVos family, hedge fund managers, and many, many more. 

In Hoosier School Heist, Martin follows the scandals, the corruption, and the money, showing how friends of Mitch Daniels and charter school leaders (many who fund Indiana Republicans) are stealing millions of our tax dollars and putting public education in jeopardy.  Shockingly, Martin ties school vouchers to torture, shows people breaking Open Door Laws, describes felons, plagiarists, crony banksters, Wall Street Democrats, people who did time in prison (and many more who should have), liars, hypocrites, dictators, child abusers, Turkish Muslim charter schools raided by the FBI, and even two prostitutes. That is why Martin’s work has been or will soon be used by or featured in the Washington Post AnswerSheet, ABC’s Nightline, and the Associated Press. 

In her blurb to the book, Diane Ravitch, a New York University research professor of education, best-selling author, and former US Assistant Secretary of Education, says that Doug Martin’s Hoosier School Heist is “one of the most frightening works I have read about the corporate reform takeover of public education” ever.

 What a few other people are saying about Hoosier School Heist:

 This is one of the scariest books I have ever read. If only it were a work of fiction. I believe in public education. I cannot believe that in a country as great as ours, it has come to this.” Caelea Armstrong, Goodreads

“Warning! Hoosier School Heist will shock and make you angry. In an unbiased fashion, Doug Martin uncovers how the public education takeover crisis in Indiana was manufactured to benefit special interests and the politicians who serve them. This book will make you sick from what they have done and what they are doing to you and your children.” Daymon Brodhacker, Democratic candidate for District 60 of the Indiana House of Representatives

“Maybe it’s the legacy of Eugene V. Debs or the memory of coal-field union wars, but Western Indiana progressives say what they think. Martin’s give-‘em-hell approach reminds me of United Mine Workers members I met while writing about coal strikes 30 years ago.” Steve Hinnefeld, School Matters

Doug explains “games billionaires play” including joining with weird religious cults to program your little ones with propaganda. … Tea Party groups, education groups, voters, and candidates are welcome to invite Mr. Martin to meetings to explain the tricks planned to steal more of your wealth.  (I believe all elections are about these tricks of stealing wealth and freedom.  It’s about time we talked about them).” Ed Gluck, former Libertarian Party candidate for the Indiana statehouse

“Doug Martin’s work documents a horrendous corporate takeover of community schools and community values.  It shows how corporate interests often disguise themselves as foundation largesse.  It shows what’s likely coming to your community soon.”  Susan Ohanian, recipient of the George Orwell Award for Distinguished Contributions to Honesty and Clarity in Public Language and co-author of Why Is Corporate America Bashing Our Public Schools

“Doug Martin offers readers facts rather than just more opinions from one particular “side of the aisle,” he follows the money, and he names names: from the Indy Pharm giant Eli Lilly, to politicians like Mitch “Daniels and Tony Bennett, to the out in the open oligarchs at the Walton and Gates Foundations, and finally he names the lower level soldiers these groups plant on school boards and grant funding organizations and who write op-eds in local newspapers under the banner of independent ‘Policy Reviews.’ That is, Martin relentlessly exposes every evil practice and every evil act whether performed by politician or business person.” Douglas Storm, WFHB Interchange radio show, Bloomington, during his interview with Doug Martin

“Martin is Indiana’s loudest and most knowledgeable critic of for-profit charter schools and school vouchers.”  Steve Kash, Tribune Star

“Doug Martin has a picture perfect cautionary tale that mimics another Titanic!  It felt like I had just read a murder cover-up and was following the blood trail of corporate $$$$.  A must-read for all involved in education in Indiana and across the globe.”  Justin Oakley, AFT Indiana and host of Just Let Me Teach radio show

 A few of Doug Martin’s national radio appearances:

 Doug Martin on Liberal Fix radio

 Doug Martin on @ The Chalk Face
Read the rest of this entry →

Joe Biden’s Brother Helping God Privatize Public Schools

5:38 pm in Uncategorized by Doug Martin

White Hat & Mavericks & Boot Scootin - O My! (Photo: truebrit, flickr)

White Hat & Mavericks & Boot Scootin - O My! (Photo: truebrit, flickr)

(This was first posted at B-Town Errant, Bloomington, Indiana)

When Lisa Rab outed Joe Biden’s brother, Frank, as a major force behind a for-profit education management organization (EMO) dead set on building 100 new charter schools across Florida,* it came as no surprise to anyone who has been paying the slightest bit of attention to the corporate school reform movement, the Obama/Biden/Duncan regime, or Florida.

What was surprising was that Francis W. Biden told Rab that he and Mavericks in Education Florida, LLC  were on “a mission from God.” But the truth behind this “mission from God” is the devil in the details.

Although in press releases Biden is named as president and director of development, he is listed on the Florida Legislature website as a “lobbyist” for the for-profit school outfit. Last month, tracking down Biden’s home address on this website, someone sent him a package of white powder disguised as Anthrax that sent him and his girlfriend to the hospital and the FBI to his house.

Biden, a former director of congressional and legislative affairs under Bill Clinton, has become Mavericks’ main cheerleader, selling his love for poor children and reciting his brother’s name at local school board meetings. But since Frank’s name does not appear on any company document, any promises he makes concerning Mavericks will not be legally binding, and many are starting to see through his corporate school reform theatrics.

The Palm Beach School Board requested that Mavericks’ plea for three more charter schools be taken off their November 22 meeting agenda, after Rab’s story broke. Broward County and the Hernando School District both rejected the group’s applications due to everything from inadequate special needs curriculum to financial management questions, but after a stink, Florida’s Charter School Appeal Commission, in a 7-1 vote, overturned Hernando’s decision.

This month, going against staff recommendations, the Orange County School Board accepted Mavericks’ application for a charter school in their backyard. Critics had complained that Mavericks did not meet the county’s standards, and Orange County’s charter school overseer, Christopher Bernier, noted that “Mavericks locations around Florida routinely fail to test enough students to earn state ratings.” Read the rest of this entry →

Warren Buffett and Corporate School Reformers to Gentrify / Charterize Indianapolis and Other Cities

12:50 pm in Uncategorized by Doug Martin

"Let's gentrify like it's going out of style" by magerleagues on flickr

"Let's gentrify like it's going out of style" by magerleagues on flickr

This piece is cross-posted at B-Town Errant, Indiana’s new and most progressive anti-corporate magazine. Please check it out.

As Atlanta Progressive Review’s Matthew Cardinale recently noted, Purpose Built Communities (PBC), a neighborhood turnaround group started in 2009 by Warren Buffett, hedge fund manager Julian Robertson, and Atlanta businessman Tom Cousins, have hired former Atlanta mayor Shirley Franklin to team up with Strategic Capital Partners to gentrify and open charter schools in Indianapolis’ Avondale Meadows region and several other cities.

With offices in Chicago, Indianapolis, and New York, Strategic Capital Partners (SCP) is a relatively new player in the corporate school reform movement. A private real estate investment management firm, SCP hired Albert Gore III, former Vice President Al Gore’s son, as their Vice President of Business Development for their Urban Development Group, after he launched GOOD magazine with help from Teach for America. In 2008, SCP welcomed Bart Peterson as their Managing Director of Strategic Partners Urban Fund, after he lost re-election for Indianapolis mayor and had launched the corporate school reform outfit, the Mind Trust.

As mayor in 2006, Peterson had approved Strategic Capital Partners’ proposal to build the Challenge Foundation Academy in Indianapolis’ Avondale Meadows district. It was their first charter school, even though now the group operates a total of eight in Indiana, North Carolina, and Arizona. Read the rest of this entry →