Hi! Your local state legislator here. I just got back from a fantastic few days on the beach with our mutual friends at ALEC, learning about… how did they put it? “Model legislation for educational reform.” Yeah, I think it was something like that. I’m just now starting to feel sober. “Schock” and Awe, man. ANYWAY. They tell me you have some business plans, to… fix the schools! (wink wink!)
Well, look no further, my friend. I am game, game, game to do some business with you. I mean… with our lobbyist friends. I mean… write some legislation. What did I just say? Haha. You know what I mean. Wow, I need a cup of coffee. So what’s your business plan again?
Oh- you don’t have a business plan yet? Well, where are my manners! Here, my friend. Have a cigarette. Let me outline for you a few of the several wonderful ways these days to make money in education.
#4 – Become a “VOUCHER vulture”!
This option is for legitimate businessmen- I mean educators- in private schools who just want to make a little extra money on the side. State governments will send taxpayer money to you, the private school, in order to meet some “critical need.” We legislators spin it up nice to sound like we’re helping out the kids for the failure of public schools.
Some states have small-time voucher deals going- say, for specific groups like Special Education students. Others have passed bills that will send some serious business your way! Sure, the way we roll it out, it sounds like a definite solution for only the highly successful private schools, but it doesn’t have to be. Voucher programs have failed in Milwaukee, Cleveland, and D.C. And all those voucher collectors got PAID. How much is in it for you, ya say? Well, just look at this: Failed voucher schools in Wisconsin got paid MILLIONS. Think about it.
#3 – Start a SUPPORT STAFF company!
This is one way for someone who knows nothing about education, to still get a hand in the pot. Well- now that I think about it, you don’t really need to know much about education to secure a charter school contract or mandate a test, either. (I’ll get to that in a minute.)
School cleaning crews, cafeteria workers, hourly instructional staff, substitute teachers, maintenance guys, technology workers, security personnel- all those folks used to be employees of the district, way back when, publicly supported with pensions and what not. But the more we legislators cut from education budgets (you’re welcome!), the less the school districts can afford to keep on well-paid highly trained staff members.
That’s where YOU come in! Throw together a staffing agency and you’ll be a steal for the districts while you make a killing off of taxpayer cash. Could your workers be highly trained, well-paid hard workers? Of course! But they don’t have to be. Where school districts used to be able to monitor quality in-house, now if they have complaints, they’ll have to go through the trouble of dealing with your corporate contract office and legal reps- you’re practically home free! It’s a win-win for you.
#2 – Throw together a CHARTER SCHOOL!
Now this is where you get into the serious big money, Player!
Charter schools are the hot new item on the lot. A school keeps failing tests we throw at them, so we give them our solution: a new school run by private, for-profit folks (that’s you), pulling those taxpayer funds out from under that failing school. Don’t worry about how easy it is to google “poverty, test scores” and get reams of research debunking this whole concept. You don’t have to actually show results to get the money. Check out how little oversight there is in Florida, the Mecca of free charter money. This one company has four F-rated schools, but have no fear: They’re still getting new contracts. It’s taxpayer money to your pocket, with almost no accountability.
What is it? You look a little sick. Are you feeling guilty? It’s the whole “is this what’s best for American children” thing bothering you, isn’t it? Dude, you’ve got to get over that. Ever heard of Fethullah Gulen? No? He’s a Turkish billionaire, and his corporation runs the largest charter school chain in America. Here, I’ll say that again: He’s a Turkish billionaire, and his corporation runs the largest charter school chain in America. Now, that doesn’t mean he’s evil. He’s simply a capitalist, just like you. That’s the whole thing. This ain’t about American kids. It’s about who owns the schools they go to. That’s gonna be who makes the money off them. Get in while you can.
#1 – Get into the TESTING game..
Everybody hates testing. Kids hate it, teachers hate it, parents hate it, education experts hate it, regular Joes hate it. Even we hate it as long as we’re in front of voters. But when we get inside the capitol building doors, ain’t none of us gonna touch it, I promise you. And as long as they hate it in silence, they can hate it all they want.
The Washington Post put out a report this week showing how many millions of dollars we lawmakers get from lobbyists for protecting the failed high-stakes standardized testing culture in this country. Now- that may sound like out and out corruption to you, but for the moment, it’s not technically illegal, so we’re gonna keep doing it.
You keep the money flowing into our pockets, we’ll keep the treasury doors open. K?
The public doesn’t care that growing a culture of testing in this country has been exposed time again as a failed policy.
The public doesn’t care that we have no idea how testing is supposed to actually fix our country.
The public doesn’t care that we’re selling out millions of children’s futures for profit.
If they did, they’d do something about it.
Thank you for coming, sir. Glad to do business with you.