Get sick, get well
Hang around a ink well
Ring bell, hard to tell
If anything is goin' to sell
-- Bob Dylan

Sunday, December 13, 2015

The real force behind D.C. school 'reform'


She's the wife of a media mogul, a friend of the Washington Post’s Graham family. She’s a philanthropist, adviser to public officials, and conduit to private foundations and investors in what has become her life’s work. In D.C., likely no private citizen is more involved in public education than Katherine Bradley.

City Paper's Jeffrey Anderson has written a feature story on D.C. socialite Bradley, calling her a "force multiplier" when it comes to the district's corporate-style school reform.

To me, she sounds a lot like D.C.'s version of New York's charter maven Eva Moskowitz who uses her clout to build her personal charter school empire and assail public schools and teacher unions.

Bradley’s primary advocacy vehicle is CityBridge Foundation, a nonprofit that distributed nearly $25 million in grants, scholarships, and donations from 2004 to 2013—mostly to charter schools and groups like Teach for America, which received $2.5 million according to tax filings.

Writes Anderson:
Like Bradley herself, the foundation is at the center of a constellation of private interests that are promoting charter schools in D.C. and around the country. The organization partners with TFA, Friends of Choice in Urban Education, and Charter Board Partners, and counts among its “Thought Partners” the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation, and the Walton Family Foundation.
Two of the most politically challenging education initiatives in recent years have been public school closures and the effort to secure chartering authority for Supt. Kaya Henderson (Michelle Rhee's former deputy).
Rhee’s departure in 2011 did not faze Bradley. She embraced Rhee’s protege Kaya Henderson and co-chaired the education committee of the transition team for Fenty’s successor, Vincent Gray, who embraced Henderson as well. Bradley’s alliance with Graham, a fellow philanthropist and low-key civic force, provided a sounding board in the Post, which has heavily endorsed gains in math, reading, and science through charter schools such as KIPP D.C. Graham and Bradley sit on the KIPP board. 
GREAT QUOTE... Former Wilson High School teacher and activist Erich Martel says such coziness among philanthropists, the private sector, and public officials reminds him of Plato’s “Cave,” an allegory in which captives view shadows on a wall as reality, because it’s all they see. For your average parent, Martel says, in an interview last year for this story, it’s often impossible to tell how change comes about: “How does one determine who influences whom? It’s the same people talking to each other.”

1 comment:

  1. They're definitely NOT "philanthropists."
    A better word is the term "villainthropists."

    ReplyDelete