Thursday, December 03, 2015

The Mind Trust Seizing More Control Of IPS

The Indianapolis Star tells us The Mind Trust is sticking its fingers in the affairs of our Indianapolis Public School system again. The nonprofit education group, which is nothing more than a front organization for wealthy education profiteers, is awarding two $50,000 grants to IPS to transform George Fisher School 93 and Cold Spring School into what is called "innovation network schools." These schools are in fact charter schools operating for profit within the IPS district using our public school property and tax dollars to operate schools free from all of the burdens and regulations imposed on traditional public schools.

"Final say on the plans rests with the IPS School Board, which is expected to act next spring," The Star tells us. In other words, it's a fait accompli. The IPS board members, with one exception, are bought and paid for by the greedy profiteers behind The Mind Trust. The newest board member, Michael O'Connor, works for Eli Lilly Vice-President Bart Peterson, who is the chair and founder of The Mind Trust. Another board member, Mary Ann Sullivan, has served as an education consultant for the Center for Excellence in Leadership of Learning at the University of Indianapolis, whose president sits on The Mind Trust's board. Sullivan has also served as director of the charter school resource center for Christel DeHaan's family foundation. LaNier Echols runs a charter school. Kelly Bentley is a consultant for GreatSchools. Sam Odle is a lobbyist at Bose Public Affairs Group, which counts several education profiteers among its stable of clients. I could go on, but I think you get the point.

Gayle Cosby is the lone dissenting member of the current board against handing control of IPS' assets and education responsibilities to the education profiteers. She was the lone member to oppose handing control of the Francis Scott Key School to the Phalen Leadership Academy to operate its for-profit charter school using our public school property and tax dollars. You heard that right. As much as $3 million has been given to operate their for-profit charter school within the IPS network. Phalen's hands aren't tied by the collective bargaining agreement IPS has with its schools. Phalen pays nothing to use our public school building. The entire tab and then some is picked up by IPS. How's that for driving a good bargain? Thanks to a state law passed by state lawmakers who accepted large campaign contributions from the very people who profit from charter schools, it's all legal.

Under an agreement IPS entered into with The Mind Trust, it will eventually convert 15%, or about nine schools altogether, into profit centers for these greedy bastards. The Star's Chelsea Schneider provides no objective analysis of what she writes about in her story. It's all good. It's all about good people trying to turn failing schools into successful places of learning. Never mind that the track record of charter schools to date has been no better or worse on average than the public schools, which are strapped with the extra burdens and regulations absent in the operation of charter schools. All of the $100,000 paid to the two school in these grants will go to a group of consultants and attorneys who will work out the logistics of transitioning the schools into for-profit places of learning according to The Mind Trust's spokesman, Steve Campbell, another political crony of former Mayor Bart Peterson. Naturally, there is no disclosure in advance to whom those consulting and legal fees will be paid. Don't be surprised if it includes people listed on the campaign finance reports of the best school board money can buy. This IPS board doesn't approve anything unless there's something in it for their political cronies.


Pete Boggs said...

It appears the "Mind Trust" is little more than intellectually pornographic profiteering; typical insider statism, the pretense of child education for what's really adult daycare.

Anonymous said...

I was told that all IPS schools will be "autonomous" next year. Dismantling the system from within...??
It's like taking candy from a baby. Who will protest?

Gayle Cosby said...

Interesting that Cold Spring School, an A school, needs to become a charter in order to continue their success. I will be watching to see the extent of involvement from Marian's partnership. Cold Spring is right next door. It's a desirable property, including a of right now, IPS retains ownership of property for Innovation Network Schools, but only time will tell.
School 93 is an interesting choice also. Implemented just last school year is Project Restore, a homegrown IPS program that has been successful in two other (non-innovation network) schools. Sufficient time has not passed to determine success of the program at 93. I thought the Mind Trust's intent was to improve repeatedly failing schools. Silly me.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Gayle, I walked into the Lockerbie Pub to grab lunch early last week. Who would be sitting at a booth together working on something other than Bart Peterson and Stand For Children's Justin Ohlemiller.

Pete Boggs said...

Thanks to content focused blogs like AA, these shell games no longer outpace public attention. Sustainability of their burdensome corruption is therefore on a collision course with public interest...

Anonymous said...

The Lockerbie Pub attracts all sorts of people. $tand for Children is only a Gate$ front group and Bart works for the amoral Lilly Corporation. Peterson may be innocent in this case as he has a long history of interest in charter schools. I'd point out that the Legislature of Indiana has long favored eternal life for failing schools and has and had no regard for the kids trapped in them. In part, I suspect, charter schools are their manner of indirectly approaching the problem of their failing schools as they lack the talent, ability, or courage to tackle the problem directly. So, in theory, if a charter school can approach the level of instruction as the government school we should prefer the former to the latter on the basis of cost. You will note that "education" isn't a term I use....neither model offers much at all in that. Sticking to instruction, then, allows much more objective means of looking at what is being done. In Mind Trust theory the closer a charter can approach a private school then in performance, like everywhere else, the charter school should very much out perform the socialist one. They have sold their theory, in part, by mostly taking on failing schools with poor demographics. However, once they demonstrate success their approach will likely be to demonstrate the cost savings and enhanced performance in other schools.

Anonymous said...

Don't think that there hasn't always been cronyism within and without IPS. While not agreeing with what is happening, I have always felt that there was a lack of accountability within the system. One bright spot for IPS, I think, has been the Butler-IPS Lab School. A joint effort within a non-profit (except for the profit students receive :) system seems like an ideal situation to me...coupled with a huge effort to engage parents and provide choice and neighborhood schools seems to be key. Also, the CFI schools where people have to actually put forth the effort to apply to attend a school ensures that parents are willing to seek the school that best fits their child.

leon dixon said...

Subject: Fwd: Rant on Star spilling beans

Duh Star of Indianapolis finally has a story on how Indiana fared on the ISTEP test that approached Common Core rigor in terms of cut scores. Understand, in Muncie as in elsewhere in Indiana the cut scores were, in the past, set politically so that the scum we have hired could look a lot better than they ever were. Your elected sorts went along with this scam, and lied to parents, lied to teachers, lied to kids, lied to taxpayers, and crowed about their accomplishments which were just more lies. if you want the breaking news.
The legislature and Mike Pence are going to try to "fix" their serial lies but the cat is out of the bag. It has been out of the bag really, since ISTEP began and alert people began to notice that in spite of huge increases in spending there was NO PROGRESS being measured by the test that was supposed to measure it...Indiana State Test of/for Educational Progress (in case you were confused as to what the plan was). Digging into the details of stagnation and corruption in Muncie Community Schools was not appreciated by the community that seemed to prefer being lied to. Still, people were being misled by the cabal and who really had the time or interest in chasing their lies?
I haven't looked into the detail of strict comparison of the ISTEP cut scores v. the Common Core cut scores so it is possible that Glenda, Mike, and their stooges are still could be much worse than what is currently being reported and the bright green fig leaves showering the conspiracy's efforts to hide the truth are quite insufficient to cover their lies or shield them from all being fired. When you read the Star story think about how it is that Indiana had so many A schools and so few F ones. You know better now and you knew better then but there is a tendency to trust even those who steal your tax dollars, lie to your face, and insult your intelligence (which they have done their best over many decades to degrade).

Might also be available on my Facebook.

"There, there, was that so difficult even if the Emperor's Clothing was not so stylish? "Both the State Board of Education and the Indiana Department of Education declined to comment on the preliminary grades.." as both they and their predecessors (including the Round Heeled Table) were complicit in lying to parents, teachers, kids, taxpayers and they have been lying for a long, long time.
When the Governor of Indiana notes that 15,000 Indiana high school graduates with degrees require remediation if they are to pursue "higher" education then the idea that "rebranding" Common Core isn't so bad in just the very one and single respect. The Indiana Education Establishment is disrobed and they are ugly.
This nastiness extends from their schools of MISEDUCATION down to the depths of the politicians of the 150 person Screwel Board, (aka legislature). The reporting of our "media" is also complicit in these lies, mostly for omission and lack of curiousity. There was no point in stalling this revelation....this isn't Chicago (yet). Now that we know (thanks to Common Core testing rigor) we can scrap Mr. Pence's agenda, go back to our high standards, use a good ISTEP, and begin to work on real student academic achievement instead of the decades of lies given us by the 6" ruler purporting to be a 12" one.

Flogger said...

I suppose the Taxpayers can experience more looting via Privatization. Privatized Prisons, Privatized Military, Privatized Education and in some places Private Security to replace the Police. Oh and let me not forget that Public-Private Partnership known as the C.I.B. The Colts and Pacers receive all the Profit and the taxpayers pick up the bill.