(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 →