Sunday, July 31, 2011

Murdoch and the American Public School System

ANDY JAMES (Spokesman Review): Amy Goodman’s column (“News Corp. merits scrutiny”) exposes Rupert Murdoch’s intent to cash in on the selling of America’s public schools. Joel Klein, former chancellor of the New York City schools, was recently hired by Murdoch to develop “business strategies for the emerging educational marketplace.” To this end, the NYC public schools granted News Corp. a $2.7 million contract and the New York State Education Department is close to granting a News Corp. subsidiary, Wireless Generation, a $27 million no-bid contract.

In Murdoch’s own words, “When it comes to K through 12 education, we see a $500 billion sector in the U.S. alone.”
The No Child Left Behind bill will facilitate this sellout. In 2014, NCLB requires every student in every public school that receives federal, Title I money, to meet all the standards of their state’s exams in order to avoid being taken over, either by the state, a private business or a charter school (many of which are for-profit businesses). To get 100 percent of any student body to this level is likely impossible. But then, maybe that was the point.

AMY GOODMAN (Democracy Now): There are some very interesting figures on News Corp.’s board that are based right here in the United States. For example, Joel Klein, well known to New Yorkers, he was the former schools chancellor. And interestingly, the New York Daily News reports that a business News Corp. acquired just after Klein joined the board is now facing scrutiny, since it deals with schoolchildren’s personal data, New York state awarding Wireless Generation a no-bid, $27 million contract. Now parents are questioning whether News Corp. should have access like that to their children. And you also have a familiar name in national politics on the board, Viet Dinh, who is a power attorney here, assistant attorney general under George W. Bush, principal author of the USA PATRIOT Act, the law that, among other things, prompted an unprecedented expansion of government eavesdropping.