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Andre Carson’s Wife and the Indy School Privatizers

9:12 am in Uncategorized by Doug Martin

By Doug Martin

(This first appeared at Schools Matter, under a slightly different form here.  Hear Doug Martin on the War Report on Public Education radio show tomorrow, July 20, at 5 pm California Pacific Time and 2 pm Indiana Eastern Standard Time. You can tune in at this link.

Indiana State Capitol, Indianapolis, Indiana

Indiana State Capitol, Indianapolis, Indiana


In an attempt to privatize more schools and train students for future jobs that don’t exist, the Indy Chamber of Commerce wrapped up its Pancakes and Politics education panel event yesterday in Indianapolis with the Mind Trust and Teach Plus.

US neoliberal Democrat Andre Carson’s wife highlighted the event.  Andre, as I mention in Hoosier School Heist, is friends with school privatizers and Gulenists, regardless of what the Indy Star claims and despite the many standing ovations he gets at Indiana Party conventions.

Carson’s wife, Mariama, not surprisingly, was recently awarded a $250,000 Mind Trust award and is now starting a charter school in Indianapolis. Mariama’s sister, Camilla Shaheed Diallo, is thevice president of development and engagement at the Mind Trust. Later in the month, Carson’s wife will speak at the corporate-theocratic school privatizing event sponsored by the Koch Brothers/Walmart/racist Bradley Foundation-funded Milton Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice (reserve a seat here.

Jennifer Wagner, the wife of state board of ed. member and Glenda Ritz-basher Gordon Hendry, was recently Andrea Carson’s communications director.

Another main speaker at the Chamber/Mind Trust/Teach Plus event was Caitlin Hannon, a current IPS board member, a princess of conflicts of interest, and a special “guest” in my book Hoosier School Heist.

Hannon’s IPS board win was a shoo-in, for she was funded by Walmart husband Greg Penner, Mitch Daniels operative Al Hubbard, and Republican New Jersey hedge fund manager and Michelle Rhee friend Alan Fournier.

A former Teach for America member, Hannon is the executive director of Bill Gates’ corporate-sponsored Teach Plus.

Detailed in my book, Teach Plus was founded by Mind Trust education fellow, Celine Coggins.  Its board includes, among others, neoliberal Mind Trust leader David Harris, who raked in $208,000 in 2012, with an additional $43,000 in other compensation (see page 7 here).

Harris is a handsome corporate celebrity.  A writer for the US Chamber of Commerce last year even called him one of the leaders of the “Silicon Valley of Education” in Indianapolis.

The Mind Trust’s Patrick Herrel also spoke at the Chamber/Mind Trust/Teach Plus event.  Besides appearing in Hoosier School Heist, Herrel is best known for being a North Carolina tennis coach and a past Teach for America leader.

Sadly, the neoliberal anti-worker and anti-public school mentality is alive and well in Indy.

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Jeb Bush’s Privatization Plan for Indiana Public Schools

8:28 am in Uncategorized by Doug Martin

"Privatization Will Benefit Only WallStreet"

"Privatization Will Benefit Only WallStreet" by sagesnow on flickr

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

A few weeks after I criticized EdisonLearning’s invitation to Indiana, Supt. of Public Instruction Tony Bennett and Mitch Daniels have welcomed yet another Jeb Bush crony, Jonathan Hage, CEO of Florida-based for-profit education management company Charter Schools USA (CS USA), to possibly administrate our so-called “failing schools.” Although IDOE’s Dale Chu testifies that plenty of “drilling” took place in selecting the turnaround companies which have landed on the final list, Jeb Bush’s DNA is embedded in the deals.

Jeb Bush has hyped his anti-public school operations in Indiana for years now. In 2009, he spoke at the Bill Gates-Fordham Foundation sponsored Indiana Education Roundtable, whose representatives include Carol D’Amico, a former George W. Bush-appointed National Board for Education Sciences board member. This year, Jeb picked Tony Bennett to boss his D.C.-based corporate school reform group, Chiefs for Change, alongside former Edison Schools’ Chris Cerf (now New Jersey’s commissioner of education) who profited handsomely when the then-Florida governor bought out the company’s failing stock with teachers’ retirement funding, a maneuver sticking state pensioners to this day with a $182 million investment in a company out to destroy public education and unions.

And Jeb even endorsed Mitch Daniels for president.

Like Daniels (who followed George H.W. Bush to Eli Lilly), CS USA’s Jonathan Hage pals around with the Bush family. Hage speech-wrote for George H. W. Bush’s 1992 presidential campaign, later joining the 2004 Bush/Cheney National Steering Committee as an educational talking head. A former defense agent for the right-wing Heritage Foundation and past director of research for Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Florida’s Future, Hage helped develop Liberty City Charter School, the first charter in Florida, which was sponsored by Jeb and Miami Urban League’s T. Willard Fair. At Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education’s D.C. summit, Hage—the once-Green Beret officer—paneled “The War on Charter Schools: Combating the Emerging Threats to Public School Choice,” while Tony Bennett sat on the “Top Gun Teachers” panel with touters for anti-teacher seniority groups like Teach for America and Troops for Teachers. Read the rest of this entry →