Monday, August 30, 2004

And about that full page ad in the NYT whining about a certain charter school article...

Hold this thought: "Stuck Pig Syndrome".

Not in the DSM but it certainly describes the response to the now infamous NYT article on charters. Unfortunately, we have to diss pigs in order to get the idea across.
The beat goes on in reaction to the AFT charter study (for those not on a list when the thing exploded, a summary is provided at the end of this post). I am 37 years past doctorate and I don't ever remember anything like this generated by single article (only Sputnik, and the paper Sputnik, "A Nation At Risk," but they were a bit more dramatic events than a lone reportorial effort).
One of many many many responses to that NYT article was a full page ad placed in the NYT. For those who don't get the NYT, Susan Ohanian's got a copy of it. It was an effort that would make Karl Rove proud as he has shown us over and over again that dirt sticks.

Gerald Bracey has some interesting info on the people behind that very expensive ad.
Thirty-one public school critics, all but one affiliated with a university (Jay Greene, Manhattan Institute, but a protege of Harvard's Paul Peterson who is the ringleader), took out a full page ad in the August 25 NYTimes. Weekday full page ads begin at $123,662.
Ya think some of that money could've been spent on the kids? A bit more on the ad's backers.
If you didn't see the ad in the Times, not to worry. It apparently will pop up in a forthcoming Education Week. The Times ad was sponsored by and apparently paid for by Jeanne Allen's Center for Education Reform.
Okay. Here's a choice piece of info I have on the Manhattan Institute. More on the Manhattan Institute.
The Manhattan Institute was founded in 1978 by William Casey, who later became President Reagan's CIA director. Since then, the Institute's track record with authors has been notable. Funneling money from very conservative foundations, the Institute has sponsored many books by writers opposed to safety-net social programs and affirmative action. During the 1980s, the Institute's authors included George Gilder (Wealth and Poverty), Linda Chavez (Out of the Barrio) and Charles Murray (Losing Ground).
About the Center for Education Reform: I'll refer to this piece which also has more on the Manhattan Institute.
The neo-conservative establishment mutates at an alarming rate: One think tank breeds another and it in turn breeds yet another and so on. Consider the following mutation as just one example. Jeanne Allen's (former official with the Department of Education under Reagan) Center for Education Reform (which has both Finn and Bennett on its board) used money from the Olin, Bradley, and Scaife foundations plus 3.5 million tax dollars from the U.S. Department of Education to generate the Education Leader's Council (ELC). The ELC supported the formation of Standards Work, Inc, a DC consulting group that created school "results cards." Additionally, the ELC joined forces with Chester E. Finn's Fordham Foundation and the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ--Note that Finn sits on the board of the NCTQ) to form the American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence (ABCTE). Not surprisingly the board of ABCTE is made up of a "whose who" of the think tank network: Lisa Keegan, President of the ELC; E.D. Hirsch, Education Next Editorial Board; Fredrick Hess from Harvard's PEPG and editor of Education Next; and Abigail Thernstrom, the Manhattan Institute.
The CER also received money from the DOE to help fund support for vouchers. The opposition has a lot of money; the connections are spectacular. You better believe they aren't going to let the NYT publish an article without putting up a strong front.