How can something so wrong feel so righteous?

For far too long, three little words have been holding back the adult interests that long to put students first. What are they you ask? The teachers union conflict of interest laws. Thankfully these outdated and antiquated restrictions are now out of sight and out of mind where they belong. And while haters like you are already mumbling about ethics, may I take this opportunity to remind you that it isn’t corruption if you do it for the right reasons? I believe the word is *carerruption*…

$haring is caring
The current poster person for carerruption is Los Angeles superintendent John Deasy, aka Dr. Deasy. Note: the poster can only be viewed on an iPad so I very much hope that you have one. Now back in the day, Dr. Deasy’s $1 billion dream of arming every student in the Los Angeles Unified School District with their own iPads, complete with pre-loaded Pearson software (note: keyboards not included), might never have come to pass thanks to a bunch of useless old conflict-of-interest laws. But what difference does it make if Dr. Deasy owns Apple stock or if Deasy’s number two at the time, Jamie Aquino, who oversaw the wish fulfillment project, came to LAUS direct from a Pearson subsidiary? Carerruption means never having to say you’re sorry—until you accidentally bankrupt the school district. 

Can’t spell career without care
So the nation’s second largest public school district is awash in carerruption. Any chance we can scale up Operation Caring (and $haring) to, say, an entire county? Indeed, we can reader. Now last time we visited Douglas County, CO, students there were hurtling towards World Class Outcomes and 21st Century Skills. But it turns out that students aren’t the only ones being, ahem, *enriched* in DougCo these days. Helping to lead the wagon train across low-expectations gulch is an ever swelling roster of district personnel who are bringing home World Class Salaries. Note: based on DougCo’s *unique* market-based pay system in which salaries rise as the number of applicants for a position drops, we can only assume that there is an *extreme* shortage of flacks in the Denver area… As for those pesky conflicts of interests that piled up nearly as high as Castle Rock during the recent DougCo school board election, nothing to see here folks. In fact any claims to the contrary are meritless, which is why the school district has retained not one but two high-powered law firms. 

Welcome to Conflicticut
OK—so you can check off “county” on your play at home carerruption scorecard. But is there a state that’s leading the way? Connecticut may be known as the Nutmeg state but these days the state may be best known for an astonishing array of reform shenanigans, all being done for the right reasons, mind you. A typical day found local education officials in Hartford announcing the handover of a public school to Achievement First, a chain of charter schools founded by Connecticut’s own Commissioner of Education Stefan Pryor. But with parents cool to that *choice* the Hartford Board of Education was left with no choice but to consider choosing an even more conflict-laden choice in order to give parents more choice, whether they wanted it or not. If only there were a blog devoted to monitoring Connecticut’s assorted education carerruption scandals…

Care bears
Reader: have you ever noticed that a surprising number of the adult interests who have at last been freed up to put students first seem to know each other? In fact, it would not be inaccurate to point to theirs as an extended family—lets call them the Care Bears, shall we? EduShyster recently received a vivid reminder of this snuggly phenomenon. Soon after we posted this story about Rhode Island treasurer Gina Raimondo, who cares so deeply about that state’s retirees that she’s been investing their pension fund into funds managed by her own investment firm, a comment arrived from a RI reader. Were we aware that there was an #edreform angle to this story? We were all ears…As the obliging reader helpfully informed us, Ms. Raimondo’s husband, Andrew Moffitt, formerly sat on the national board of the Stand for Care Bears Children Leadership Center. And were we aware that Mr. Moffitt had once shared a dorm room with the caringest man in America: Cory Booker? Why, we were not aware of any such thing. Then again, why are we not surprised?

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  1. Here in Maine, we have a law that says not-for-profits cannot have more than 50 percent of its board with such a conflict. However, one of the drivers of our edu-digi-standard-based revolution, the Maine Cohort for Customized Learning’s board is riven with people who can only gain as they push the MCCL’s agenda, far beyond half the board members.

  2. This is a great blog. You nail it and we have fun when you do. However, the bankrupting of LA, like Detroit and Philly, will not be an accident. This is partof the plutocrat play book according to Lois Weiner a professor who explicates these grave machinations in great detail. Also, looks at the devastation in Detroit from the perspective of a teacher who watched school closures undo his community.
    Please visit us at where we question everything!

  3. Colorado is Conflict of Interest Central. Our State Dept of Ed, our superintendents, all in Gates’ pocketbook. Check out this list of Legacy Foundation Trustees: And who funds Legacy…Bill Gates, to the tune of $11,455,547. Whose best interest do these elected people have: Gates or our kids? If you are on the board of Legacy Foundation or any other special interest group funded by Common Core-it is a conflict of interest.

  4. In a time of drastic cuts, the Fairfield Suisun Unified School District in Fairfield, California, employed, and continues to employ, not-for-profit West Ed. The cost for these educational consultants is well over a million dollars. They have, in the past few years, set our district’s agenda. Heartily endorsed by our Superintendent and others whose jobs I naively believed was to set the academic agenda for the district, we are increasingly urged to become puppets in the West Ed sideshow. They crawl through campus with their clipboards and ridiculous five-minute teacher coaching sessions. I’m not sure when “good intentions” cross the line and become corrupt. The thought crossed my mind when I saw that our former superintendent is an employee of West Ed. I do know that the trickle-down effect of this arrangement is disaffected teachers weary of frequent observations and the repetition of teaching strategies constantly pushed in newsletters, faculty meetings, department meetings and collaborative meetings. Another unfortunate result is that those teachers and administrators most complient and enthusiastic about this costly “takeover” of our district, are the ones put in charge to ensure that it happens. It’s a sad day for inspiration, academic scholarship and the prudent use of scarce funds in a cash-strapped district. All are casualties of the version of the corporate takeover of education as it has unfolded in the Fairfield Suisun district.

  5. If you want to expand the list, there is always the fact that Wendy K at Teach for America is married to the head of KIPP. Teach For America supplies KIPP with many a young, cheap teacher and gets a nice fee (public money) from KIPP in return. The greatest corruption can happen in broad daylight.

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