The Magic School BusAt this point, it should be fairly obvious why the technology industry is so high on so-called education “reform.” More computer-based standardized tests and online learning means more opportunity for the industry to sell its wares to school districts.
What has been less clear is why the corporate sector’s Masters of the Universe have involvedthemselves in the crusade to specifically promote publicly funded, privately administered charter schools – and “involved” is putting it mildly. Indeed, as various news outlets have documented, business heavyweights are dumping millions into the nationwide campaign to promote charter schools as a replacement for public education. That includes, most recently, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg.
One theory is that business mavens love numbers and data, and simply believe charter schools deliver better empirical educational results than public schools. Except, on the whole, data show those charter schools do not typically perform any better – and often perform worse – than traditional public schools. Charters also seem to contribute to racial segregation in the education system.
Another theory is that while Wall Streeters spend their days making bank off stuff like foreclosures, rapacious fees, job-killing buyouts and other forms of pillage, in the off time these barbarians supposedly devote to public service, they are really just warm cuddly altruists who deeply care about the kids. You tend to see this kind of hagiography in the financial press (see the recent Forbes profile of Paul Tudor Jones).  If you believe it, I’m sure these Gordon Gekkos have a subprime mortgage to sell you.
Of course, if the simplest explanation is most often the correct one, then it stands to reason that at least some corporate titans promote charter schools to do what they do best: make money. And as Hofstra University’s Alan Singer points out in a new Huffington Post essay, there’s evidence that’s exactly what’s happening.
Singer reports on a provision slipped into the 2000 Community Renewal Tax Relief Act that provides “tax incentives for seven years to businesses that locate and hire residents in economically depressed The big money and profits behind the push for charter schools | PandoDaily: