Friday, February 17, 2012

Indiana Groups that Want to Privatize Your School

A center out of Columbia University is tracking the lobbying and funding actions of so-called education reform groups that--whether they say this publicly or not--support turning public education over to for-profit companies.  Here's the Indiana list that I'm sure could be expanded.  Comments?
National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education (NCSPE): Check it out.

Who supports privatization of education?

A descriptive analysis of NCSPE's links to national and state-specific organizations that tend to support or oppose privatization of education

Greater Educational Opportunities (GEO) Foundation Indiana
“GEO Foundation, as featured in Forbes Magazine, has been making access to quality schools a reality for children since 1998. GEO incubates quality charter schools and then supports their growth. All four GEO-sponsored public charter schools are high academic growth schools and feature a unique K-14 model--full day kindergarten all the way through two years of college. GEO seeks to provide greater access to quality education for all kids. The foundation currently operates four charter schools.” (website quote)

Indiana School Scholarship Tax Credit
“The Indiana School Scholarship Tax Credit is designed to provide scholarship support for thousands of low and middle income families to enroll their children into the private or public school of their choice. Funding for these scholarships will come from private, charitable donations to qualified scholarship granting organizations (SGOs). Donors (individuals or corporations) would be eligible to take advantage of a 50% credit against their state tax liability for contributions made to an SGO. The program is entirely privately-funded, with an incentive to charitable giving from the tax credit.” (website quote)

Indiana Virtual Families
“Indiana Virtual School Families (IVSF) is a grassroots coalition that was formed four years ago, before grassroots coalitions became popular! The Indiana Virtual School Families board consists of a group of passionate parent volunteers that have united in an effort to educate and inform the public and policymakers at all levels of the potential benefits virtual learning opportunities can bring to Indiana. A coalition supporting virtual schools in Indiana” (website quote)

School Choice Indiana
“School Choice Indiana, Inc. is a non-partisan, statewide organization dedicated to the principle that providing parents with real choices in the education of their children will improve educational outcomes and improve the quality of education, both in private and public schools.” (website quote)

Who supports privatization of education?

In 2000, the National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education (NCSPE) began to collect and classify website links to organizations involved in advocacy or research related to privatization of education. We created three general classifications: (1) organizations that: "tend to support privatization of education," (2) "present both supporting and opposing perspectives," and (3) "tend to oppose privatization of education." Within the general classifications we subcategorized organizations as: "advocacy," "research and policy" "nonprofit and for-profit and education management organizations," "news," and "research journals." In addition, in 2009, since much of the debate and activity related to privatization of education occurs at the state level, we began to add and classify links to state-specific organizations that "tend to support" or "tend to oppose" privatization of education.

Because of the enormous expansion of activity and interest in educational privatization, we recently concluded a robust search of the internet in order to update our links. The purpose of this announcement is to share with you the results of that search.

First, some descriptive data about our links:
In 2005 we had 49 links to organizations that "Tend to Support Privatization in Education;" we now have 85 such links.

In 2005 we had 23 links to organizations that "Present Both Supporting and Opposing Perspectives;" we did not find any new links to add to this category

In 2005 we had 22 links to organizations that "Tend to Oppose Privatization in Education;" we found only one new link to add to this category

In 2009 we had 19 links to state-specific organizations that "Tend to Support Privatization in Education;" we now have 164 such links

In 2009 we had 7 links to state-specific organizations that "Tend to Oppose Privatization in Education;" we now have 247 such links

In addition to serving as a valuable resource for students of school choice and privatization, the links provide a unique window into the evolution of support for school choice and privatization at the state and national levels. The following observations are based on our review of the changes in the distribution of website links within and between the state and national levels.

Continued Ideological Polarization in the National Dialogue on Privatization of Education

Even though a plethora of new reforms, such as online learning, are now part of the national education reform debate, school choice remains a highly divisive political issue. There are a total of 71 advocacy organizations but only 17 research and policy organizations among the support and oppose categories. In fact, if we counted the Education Management Organizations (EMOs) on our list as advocacy organizations, then essentially all of the growth in our list of national-level organizations since 2005 has come from the addition of advocacy organizations. Furthermore, we could not find neutral organizations at the state-level so we left that category out entirely for the states.

Growth in Organizations that Tend to Support Privatization at the State-level

At the national level, there are significantly more organizations that tend to support privatization (85 that support vs. 22 that oppose), while the opposite is true across the states (164 support vs. 245 oppose). This is largely because every state has at least one well-established teachers' organization (usually more than one) clearly opposed to privatization. However, a diverse coalition of state-level organizations that support school choice has emerged to mobilize parents and counter the power of teachers' organizations. These organizations include religious groups (especially religiously-motivated homeschoolers), free market policy organizations, parent advocacy organizations (e.g. Stand for Children), private school networks, and state-specific education management organizations. Most of these organizations, however, are more recently established and not as well connected or entrenched as those that oppose privatization. This trend suggests that we may see some significant legislative conflicts on school choice issues at the state-level in the not-too-distant future.
About the NCSPE
The Center provides independent, non-partisan information on and analysis of privatization in education. The Center's program includes research, evaluation, conferences, publications, and dissemination on a full range of issues regarding privatization of education from pre-school to higher education, both national and international.


  1. There are many more out to privatize Indiana education. I've put together a list at the Common Errant website. I need to update it some, but it is shocking as it now stands. Here is the link:


    A blog from a teacher in this state concerning the local and state issues.