education, the bottom line, and lining one's pockets

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ProPublica notes that North Carolina businessman Baker Mitchell "appears to be thriving" in the education field, as "millions of public education dollars flow through Mitchell's chain of four nonprofit charter schools to for-profit companies he controls:"

The schools buy or lease nearly everything from companies owned by Mitchell. Their desks. Their computers. The training they provide to teachers. Most of the land and buildings. Unlike with traditional school districts, at Mitchell's charter schools there's no competitive bidding. No evidence of haggling over rent or contracts.

The schools have all hired the same for-profit management company to run their day-to-day operations. The company, Roger Bacon Academy, is owned by Mitchell. It functions as the schools' administrative arm, taking the lead in hiring and firing school staff. It handles most of the bookkeeping. The treasurer of the nonprofit that controls the four schools is also the chief financial officer of Mitchell's management company. The two organizations even share a bank account.

Mitchell's management company was chosen by the schools' nonprofit board, which Mitchell was on at the time -- an arrangement that is illegal in many other states.

The panopticon under which his teachers labor ("Mitchell and other top administrators could watch teachers in their classrooms via surveillance cameras installed in every classroom, in every school") is, of course, quite different from what the pubic is able to see of him:

Mitchell himself has taken a hard line against disclosures of financial information concerning his for-profit companies. For private corporations, he wrote on his blog in July, "the need for transparency is superfluous" and is simply a mechanism for the media to "intrude and spin their agenda."

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This page contains a single entry by cognitivedissident published on October 15, 2014 9:49 AM.

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