Monday, February 22, 2010

Belatedly... MILLOT: Sound Decision or Censoprship at TWIE (IV)

Events have gotten the best of me , but if you haven't seen it yet, part 4 of Dean Millot's saga is up at The Frustrated Teacher:

The keiretsu parted company with me years ago. In 2003, the handful of foundations supporting the emerging charter movement – at least the West Coast part of the "new philanthropy," cut long-time charter leaders out of the loop and off from funding. This included Eric Premack in California, John Ayers in Chicago, and Shirley Monestra in DC – people who played important roles passing and implementing their states charter laws’ These were experienced pro-market reformers, but preferred to harness business discipline to mission, rather than nonprofit tax advantages to corporate style; doubted the financial, educational and social viability of the Charter Management Organization model; and pressed their points with vigor. Above all they constituted the grassroots independent community-based charter movement’s “policy wonk connection” to federal and state government, the national education conversation, and the local media.

The remaining “leaders” of organizations in and around the charter movement saw the massacre, and decided discretion was the better part of valor. Consistent with the golden rule, many fell into line, most remained silent. The National Charter School Alliance, the bottom-up “membership” organization representing charter school associations that I led was strangled at birth. I was fired for using my own money to explore legal questions related to the withdrawal of a promised grant, and then cut off from education think tank publishing channels I had enjoyed for years. After the situation settled, the keiretsu formed a top-down “leadership” organization, the National Alliance of Charter Schools. (I think I have the emails to and from the key figures documenting this period on one of my old computers.)

I was far enough removed from this scene to not quite discern it when the purge took place. Just that one day "education reform" meant something completely different than it had meant seemingly a few days earlier.

No comments: