In todays Boston Globe, Michael J. Maguire wrote a letter “James Peyser Supports Unfair Charter Schools,” and in a recent BMG post by Nopolitician, “Elections Have Consequences: Baker Hires Charter Booster as Education Secretary” I found it interesting that both commentors made reference to “a fox in the hen house” regarding James Peyser’s appointment. I suspect, as the month’s progress into the Baker goverancy, we are going to be hearing this analogy more and more, especially in relation to Mr. Peyser.
I couldn’t be more disappointed, although not surprised, in Governor-elect Charlie Baker’s choice of James Peyser, from the New School Venture Fund (New Schools), as Mass Secretary of Education. I’m supposed to be assuaged of my concerns because Peyser is “currently on leave” from this vulture group who is out to privatize public education. Well, knowing a little bit about foxes having spent my career in a predatory school district, I’m concerned big time!
Foxes are pack animals, and although they appear to travel alone, they will keep in touch with other members of their family! Foxes are careful, fastidious predators. If a fox gets into chicken coop and there are a number of birds in there, they can get into a killing ‘frenzy’ and will kill 30 or more birds, usually taking only one bird with them. Typically, they will bite the heads off the birds. Massachusetts Legislators take note!
The New Schools Venture Fund promotes deregulation and market-based policies for public schools. They promote and finance charter schools and charter “Educational Management Organizations” (EMO) which target under-funded public schools in low-income communities. Oh and don’t Massachusetts urban school districts look tasty!
In Massachusetts, New Schools Venture Fund has been salting around quite a bit of money the last 3 years according to their IRS 990’s:
In 2011, New Schools began putting their nose under the fence:
- Unlocking Potential aka “UP Education Network” (UP Academy Charter) $525,000
- Bellwether Education Partners, in “Wellesley Hills” received $250,000 for “human capital” consulting and project management (Anyone want to take a picture of that location and report back)
- Achievement Network $304,000 for “tools”
In 2012, New Schools was working the opening in the fence a little more…
- KIPP Charter Lynn $360,000
- MATCH Charter $525,000
- UP Academy aka “UP Education Network” (Unlocking Potential) $445,900
- Learning Games Network $200,000
In 2013, New Schools, readying for the pounce:
- City on a Hill Charter $350,000
- Edward Brooke Charter $40,000
- Excel Academy Charter $40,000
- KIPP Charter Lynn $227,500
- MATCH Charter $500,000
- UP Academy Charter aka “UP Education Network” (Unlocking Potential) $500,000
- Achievement Network $145,573
- Massachusetts Institute for Technology (MIT) $185,445 (to fund a pro charter school report?…just asking!)
- Massachusetts astroturf newcomer “FES” (Families for Excellent Schools) received $110,000. I wondered who paid for all those buses and t-shirts to transport all those charter school kids in the rain to the FES Jamboree at Faneuil Hall back in early December. Personally, I would have chosen a different field trip!
- Massachusetts Charter School Association $18,925 (Looks like chump change to me, Marc Kenen)
New School Venture Fund is a $48M dollar organization supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, Robertson Foundation, Irvine Foundation, and Corporate Welfare Queen Walton Family Foundation. I don’t believe that these billion dollar foundations are funding New Schools to better the lives of low-income families and their children in Massachusetts. They are “investing” to pick-up, and funnel back to their organizations, some of the $130,000,000. in Federal New Market Tax Credits (NMTC) and $11,786,000 in Qualified Zone Academy Bonds (QZAB) awarded to Massachusetts and an array of other tax credit “vehicles” used to keep public money with the one percent’s.
Now that Charlie Baker is elected, and has appointed James Peyser, we are left waiting for New Schools 2014 IRS 990, I believe, under Governor-elect Baker, Massachusetts is going to experience the largest transfer of public wealth to private pockets in the history of our state! In appointing James Peyser, a deliberate strategy to undermine public education is underway. Let’s not let that happen, Massachusetts Public Schools belong to all of us, it is up to us to keep this fox from from raiding the hen house, and putting public education into the hands of private pockets.
Thank you for the information about the Massachusetts Charter industry, and James Peyser.
The Globe article that introduced him after his appointment (“Baker names charter school advocate Peyser as his education chief” ‘The Boston Globe’ – 2014-12-24) also points out that “He now serves on the boards of three charter school organizations and on the board of the National Association of Charter School Authorizers.”
Sounds like a conflict of interest if continues in his rolls with the Commonwealth and with the charter school organizations.