Make way, New Orleans, Chicago, Detroit and Phillie!! Baltimore is gaining on you in the race to destroy public education!

Posted: March 4, 2015 in Uncategorized

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Who will win? The corporations with the most real estate. Maryland public education is a land grab for the education technology industry and privately managed charter schools.

Meet Calvert Education and Camden Partners: Because They’re Coming to a District Near You!

What is Calvert Foundation?

The company was founded in 1906 and is based in Hunt Valley, Maryland.

As of October 7, 2013, Calvert Education Services, LLC operates as a subsidiary of VSCHOOLZ, Inc.

What is Vschoolz?

Vschoolz is located at 1999 N University Dr, Coral Springs, FL 33071. According to their website: “VSCHOOLZ, Inc. provides digital solutions to launch virtual programs to schools, districts, corporations, and other organizations. The company offers an integrated customizable platform that enables teachers to edit, change, remove, or adapt the content provided to fit the individualized classroom and school needs. Its courses are delivered in an online environment incorporating collaborative tools, such as message boards, digital drop boxes, chat rooms, and teacher to teacher file sharing.”

Calvert Education Services and VSCHOOLZ announced a merger to create the “premier provider” of virtual and blended learning solutions for K-12 Education

Enter Pearson. Are we surprised?

Baltimore-based Calvert Education Services has appointed education company executive Steven C. Gross as its new CEO. Gross had been senior vice president of marketing for the school business segment of Pearson Plc.

But Wait! There’s more!

Calvert Education Services is a portfolio company of Camden Partners.

Camden Partners is a Baltimore-based private equity firm that funds and participates in the growth of well-managed emerging public company businesses within the business services, health care and education industries. Current investments include: Infocrossing, Inc., Blue Rhino, Concorde Career Colleges, Superior Consultant Holdings and Pharmanetics.

As a private equity firm they have a long history of “significant investments in the education space.” Their current portfolio companies include companies such as:

David Warnock is a managing member of Camden Partners. He is also  co-founder of the Green Street Academy and co-chair of the board of trustees.

According to Warnock:

“What’s coming fast and what we should aspire to is why shouldn’t every kid in a Baltimore City high school have access to Mandarin or access to advanced astronomy or access to science or remedial this or remedial that? … It’s all about giving regular kids access to great educational outcomes.”

And giving access to millions of dollars to private equity firms. Ignore the data that reveals that charter schools are NOT a solution to what ails urban communties and causes schools to “fail”: poverty and racial/economic inequities on a systemic scale. A report reblogged by Bonastia sites:

“A 2010 report by the UCLA-based Civil Rights Project, “Choice without Equity: Charter School Segregation and the Need for Civil Rights Standards,” uncovers some troublesome facts in this regard. “While segregation for blacks among all public schools has been increasing for nearly two decades, black students in charter schools are far more likely than their traditional public school counterparts to be educated in intensely segregated settings. At the national level, 70 percent of black charter school students attend intensely segregated minority charter schools (which enroll 90-100 percent of students from under-represented minority backgrounds), or twice as many as the share of intensely segregated black students in traditional public schools.”

In January 2014, Warnock and Camden Partners sponsored an event in Baltimore and invited all the education “colonizers” where they all learned how to profit from education reform policies.

The event was called:

Private Equity Investing In For-Profit Education Companies: How Affordability Is the Game-Changer For New Business Models.

Here are some of the headlines in the promotional flyer they used to promote interest:

  • The Schools and Institutions sector alone has over $400 billion in annual revenue, while venture capital investments in the Education Technology sector have ballooned to over $1.2 billion.”
  • Learn how to benefit from today’s huge industry shift, with so many education companies revising their business models.
  • Facts like these are what make the for-profit education sector so appealing to investors.

Here are 7 important reasons you should register to attend this encore conference, “Private Equity Investing in For-Profit Education Companies” —

  • Learn how to benefit from today’s huge industry shift, with so many education companies revising their business models.
  • Understand why much of the industry is pursuing certification training for its huge cost benefit over degree programs.
  • Discover which skill-based training programs are becoming commodities and which have pent-up demand.
  • Recognize the ramifications of commercial textbook publishers and educational software vendors being eclipsed by new online players.
  • Hear why companies providing resources and technical support for MOOCs are flourishing, and why the MOOC trend shows no sign of abating.
  • Realize how game-based learning is finding its way into more and more K-12 classrooms, and why game designers are becoming part of the educational team.

THIS LAST ONE IS THE MOST COMPELLING TO POLICIES BEING DISCUSSED BY OUR OWN GOVERNOR HOGAN:

Gain insight into whether privately managed charter schools will continue to take market share from public schools.”

A study released by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools ranked Maryland’s charter school laws the so-called “lowest” in the nation for the second year in a row. Well of course they did! NCPCS funded by the billionaire’s boys club (Walton Foundation, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Eli Broad Foundation, and Carnegie Corporation of New York) making Baltimore their home.

Charter schools with no accountability but lots of profit:

According to one report dated Jan 29th, 2015: “The first and only bill the legislature has seen thus far on the topic this year calls for the establishment of a public charter school program in Frederick County governed by an independent charter school board, with members elected by the county council. Charter school teachers in Frederick County would also be exempt from performance evaluation criteria determined by the state.

According to Warnock back in 2007: “We invest in fast-growing companies where the combination of our money and input can help them build shareholder value and increase their size. Our portfolio includes business and financial services, health care and education.”

So naturally there’s an interest in increasing the number of for profit privately managed charter schools, with no accountability and their own independent board to avoid any accountability to the public tax payer and the children they pretend to serve. But the problem is that “Maryland charter school law effectively prohibits online charter schools.”

Not to worry!  With Larry Hogan at the helm opening the flood gates, Warnock stands to profit handsomely.

And walking down the red carpet with the edutech industry is Teach for America:

“During the last decade, the local Fund for Educational Excellence led a 12 foundation consortium supporting high school reform. That work continues under the direction of former TFA Director Roger Schulman with support for 14 Secondary Transformation Schools which are operated under contract by outside groups Friendship Public Charter Schools (2 elementary and 2 secondary) and Diploma Plus (2 high schools).” Additionally, Urban Teacher Center was launched by Jennifer Green, a TFA teacher who went on to senior leadership positions in Baltimore. TFA Baltimore has 340 corp members in 107 schools with 600 alumni in the area. Executive Director Courtney Cass says, “We are embarking on an ambitious four-year strategy to recruit 1,000 corps members to Maryland.”

The constellation of corporate interests in spreading rapidly in Baltimore. And privatization of public schools and the teaching profession won’t be far behind.

Comments
  1. […] Make way, New Orleans, Chicago, Detroit and Phillie!! Baltimore is gaining on you in the race to des… […]

  2. […] Finally, it is critical that Marylanders and Baltimore City parents in particular understand the real reasons for the push behind the pro charter narrative. Read the “make money now!” description of a recent conference hosted by Baltimore based Camden Partners. […]

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