Friday, October 08, 2004

Carlyle's connection to public education

Kevin Hayden at The American Street digs up alarming connections regarding that Carlyle guy up for anointment into a key military position. Obviously, his former company will benefit greatly should we have a nuclear problem, god forbid.

Cyndy, in the comments, points out this must-read-and-send-on piece on the stealth nuclear program takeover by the Carlyle group. Ah. I don't like the picture I'm seeing.

With all this talk of Carlyle, here's a no-shit type of reminder that the head of Carlyle, Louis Gerstner, is deeply interested in public education.

For starters, check out his recent editorial. It's in the WSJ, of course. This man has access, no doubt.

However, I found his oped to be really confusing due to key unexplained disconnects, such as the title: "Bad Schools + Shackled Principals = Outsourcing". He wants to sell us on this wonderful and amazing thing called The Teaching Commission. While his Commission sounds fabulous, knowing the head of Carlyle is pushing this thing makes the invisible antennae on top of head shriek the equivalent of "Danger, danger, Will Robinson".

According to Ohanian's book, Why is Corporate America Bashing our Public Schools? which should be on your list of books to read if you're interested in public education, Gerstner has been a longtime member of an entity called the Business Roundtable.

The Business Roundtable, to be blunt, represents corporate interests in public education. Coincidentally, they've been heavily involved in creating public education policy, including, yes, NCLB. Stuff like standards, assessment, accountability are key components of their educational model. Sound familiar?

I'll refer you to Ohanian's book for the gory details.

Getting back to Gerstner, he has also written a book on public education: Reinventing Public Schools: Entrepreneurship in America's Public Schools. I kid you not.

And to be fair, Gerstner's been at this during his many years at IBM. Still, now that he's head of Carlyle brings a different significance to his work in public ed and is absolutely worth highlighting.