A Dad Provides an Amazing Chart on Education Reformer (Netflix) Reed Hastings’ Financial Ties to other Education Reformers/Companies
Another education reformer who isn’t an educator but stands to profit from the CCSSI reforms weighed in with his opinion in March 2014: Kill Elected School Boards. A report on Netflix Reed Hastings in an updated Washington Post article:
There seems to be no end to the expertise that America’s billionaires possess and are happy to share with the rest of us about public education. Apparently making a fortune in the business world makes them experts on how to educate children.
Bill Gates, Eli Broad, Mark Zuckerberg, various Waltons — these are just some of the prodigiously wealthy who have decided that they know how public education can be “fixed” and have plowed big money into it. And after billions of their dollars have been spent for their pet projects, the real problems facing public schools remain.
The newest bit of “wisdom” for public education comes to us from Netflix Chief Executive Officer Reed Hastings, who is a big charter school supporter and an investor in the Rocketship Education charter school network. At a meeting of the California Charter Schools Association on March 4, he said in a keynote speech that the problem with public schools is that they are governed by elected local school boards. Charter schools have boards that are not elected and, according to his logic, have “a stable governance” and that’s why “they constantly get better every year.”
Here’s a transcript of part of the Hastings speech, published on stoprocketship.com (and you can watch the video below):
And so the fundamental problem with school districts is not their fault, the fundamental problem is that they don’t get to control their boards and the importance of the charter school movement is to evolve America from a system where governance is constantly changing and you can’t do long term planning to a system of large non-profits…The most important thing is that they constantly get better every year they’re getting better because they have stable governance — they don’t have an elected school board. And that’s a real tough issue. Now if we go to the general public and we say, “Here’s an argument why you should get rid of school boards” of course no one’s going to go for that. School boards have been an iconic part of America for 200 years. So what we have to do is to work with school districts to grow steadily, and the work ahead is really hard because we’re at 8% of students in California, whereas in New Orleans they’re at 90%, so we have a lot of catchup to do…So what we have to do is continue to grow and grow… It’s going to take 20-30 years to get to 90% of charter kids….And if we succeed over the next 20 or 30 years, that will be one of the fastest rates of change ever seen around the world for a large system, it’s hard. [applause]
Actually, all charter schools don’t have stable governance and all of them aren’t getting better every year (plenty close because of their lousy governance) and even charter advocates have called for changes to improve governance structures. What Hastings is suggesting is that democratic elections themselves create unacceptable instability in governance of public education.
You can read the article here which contains the rebuttal of Hastings’ remarks from the President of the California School Board Association.
I saw a graphic on Facebook connecting Hastings’ connections with education reformers, companies supporting the CCSSI/charters, and the Federal Government. It was written by a dad who is against the CCSSI. He writes:
Unfortunately it takes a lot of time to do the research to expose all the connections so its a slow process since i can only work on this when I am not working. I wish i could do it all day every day. There are many more organizations and elites involved on meddling with education and Reed is only one example of many.
It was made by a taxpayer who won’t make any money from the current educational reform but expects his state to operate constitutionally and direct state education direction/development, rather than private NGOs who face no accountability. Look at the connections, read the Washington Post article about his comments and you might just get the feeling this isn’t so much about the kids as it is monetary gain from the private industries cashing in on the education reform they are pushing onto the states:
(click on graphic to enlarge)
The dad provided this information from Wikipedia on Reed Hastings:
Here is all the ties he has between education and other education “reformers”
CEO and Founder – Netflix
Founder – Pure Software, Adaptive Technology
Founding Member – NewSchools Venture Fund
Founding Member – Aspire Public Schools
President & Founding Member – Pacific Collegiate School
Founding Member – Edvoice
Spent $1 Million of his own money to promote the passage of Proposition 39
Donated to Governor Schwarzenegger “Voters First” redistricting campaign
2006 – Donated $1 Million in startup funds to Beacon Education Network
2014 Delivered Keynote Address – California Charter School Association meeting in San Jose CA. During speech he argued for elimination of elected school boards, saying in part “the fundamental problem with school districts is not their fault, the fundamental problem is that they don’t get to control their boards and the importance of the charter school movement is to evolve America from a system where governance is constantly changing and you can’t do long term planning to a system of large non-profits”  Outcry from traditional public schools was swift and strong. California School Board Association Jo Lucey said “Public oversight of local government is the foundation of American democracy. Nowhere is this more evident than in our public schools, where voters entrust boards of education with the education of our youth.”
2010 Keynote Speaker – National Charter Schools Conference in Chicago Illinois. Conference theme was “Innovators in Education”
1998 Led drive for a stronger charter school law in California
1997 Met Steve Barr at event with President Clinton for the first Public Charter School opening in California. They are now friends.
2005, Hastings ran into trouble on the State Board of Education when Democratic legislators challenged Hastings’ advocacy of more English instruction and language testing for non-English-speaking students. The California Senate Rules Committee refused to confirm him as the Board president. The California State Legislature rejected him in January 2005. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who had reappointed Hastings to the board after Hastings’ first term, issued a statement saying he was “disappointed” in the committee’s action. Hastings resigned.
On April 3, 2008, Steven Maviglio reported that Hastings had made a $100,000 contribution to California Governor Schwarzenegger’s “Voters First” redistricting campaign
Charter schools support
Hastings is active in educational philanthropy and politics and one of the issues Hastings most strongly advocates is charter schools, publicly funded elementary or secondary schools that have been freed from some of the rules, regulations, and statutes that apply to other public schools, in exchange for some type of accountability for producing certain results, which are set forth in each school’s charter. “If public schools don’t adopt the same principles of competition and accountability as exist in the private and nonprofit sectors, they will continue to deteriorate,” says Hastings. “One way to permanently impact the system would be to have 10 to 20 percent of California schoolchildren enrolled in charter schools. That would be critical mass, and enough of a force to induce a competitive dynamic in the system,” he added.
On September 23, 2010, an interview with Reed Hastings was posted stating that he believes that Americans are somewhat self-absorbed, and ignorant to happenings outside of the United States. In the interview Reed Hastings is quoted as saying “How much has it been your experience that Americans follow what happens in the world? It’s something we’ll monitor, but Americans are somewhat self-absorbed.” He later apologized.
Here are responses from Washington Post readers:
Very ironic to see a Corporate Leader and Enthusiastic Capitalist push for a Stalinist Top Down Relic for the governance of our 21st Century Schools.
2. Rich people know that TAXES support public education
3. Rich people resent paying taxes
4. Rich people resent public education
5. The fewer poor kids who are educated means there are better jobs for rich kids
It doesn’t take even a public education to figure this one out, folks. Be deeply suspicious of rich people who profess a civic desire to reform education. They really want to cripple the entire public school system because it saves taxes and it eliminates competition for their own rich kids.
To follow up on the last comment, I just have to point out the irony when ‘stay-in-bed moms‘ are disparaged when they provide educational research and question CCSSI. Apparently educational bureaucrats have no such desire to criticize the uber rich offering educational reforms possessing zero educational training, and the fact that most of their children probably attend private schools.
(The lead graphic is taken from a comment on the Washington Post site).