Indiana Citizens for Public Education represents a collection of educators, parents, and community members deeply concerned about the state of public education in Indiana and the larger United States. We are pro-public education, anti-school privatization, pro-teacher, pro-democracy, and, at the core, invested in supporting good public schools that help all of our children.
As the Indiana State Board of Education decides to hand over Indiana’s so-called “failing” schools to EdisonLearning, Charter Schools USA, and Rupert Murdoch’s Wireless Generation today, it is important to note that both Edison and Wireless Generation have donated to Education ReformIdol Indiana supt. of public instruction Tony Bennett’s campaign chest. In fact, Wireless Gen. even lavished money on Mitch Daniels and Indiana Republicans, the month before Murdoch acquired the company.
Freshly clabbered by public school advocates like Leonie Haimson, Diane Ravitch, and others in New York City, and thus losing out on a $27 million contract with the schools, Wireless Gen. will now “partner” with the New Teacher Project (whose CEO is Ariela Rozman, who also sits on the board of Indy’s corporate reform group, the Mind Trust) to run Washington Community High School in Indianapolis. EdisonLearning is taking over a school in Gary.
For 2009-2010, Bennett’s donors are both local and national corporate school reform players, and many of them also funded him in 2008:
Wireless Generation: $1,000
James Bopp, Jr.: $250 (corporate lawyer of Citizens United; used his Terre Haute law firm’s mailbox to funnel millions of Amway-Besty DeVos’ American Federation for Children money to “school reformers” in Indiana and throughout the country)
Bopp Coleson, and Bostrom: $2,500 (law firm of James Bopp, Jr.)
Therese Rooney: $10,000 (daughter of J. Patrick Rooney, the man who started the Educational CHOICE Charitable Trust and was a national leader in the voucher movement)
Patrick Byrne: $5,000 (Overstock.com)
Luke Messer: $175 (School Choice Indiana)
Heather Neal: $150 (works at IDOE)
David Shane: $150, (member of Indiana Board of Ed. Wife Anne, now a trustee at Ivy Tech, worked for the Mind Trust)
Connections Academy: $2,000 (online school)
Education Networks of America: $2,000 (Tennessee network which connections Indiana public school corporations. Operates in several states)
Hoosiers for Economic Growth: $5,000 (front group behind Indiana school “reform”)
McGraw-Hill: $3,000 (mega-book and testing company which oversees ISTEP+ testing in Indiana)
Apangea Learning: $1,000 (online tutoring company which has a contract with IDOE)
Education Services of America: $1,000 (has a contract with East Allen County Schools to use their Ombudsman Educational Services for at-risk students)
Robert Enlow: $500 (runs Milton Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice)
Rollin Dick: $150 (consultant with MH Equity Investors, a private equity investing group, formerly of Conseco, works for charter operator, the GEO Foundation)