Nina Rees

EdWeek reports that presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney has named the members of his K-12 Education Committee for his campaign:

Serving as Rommey’s K-12 committee co-chairs will be Nina S. Rees, a former assistant deputy secretary for innovation and improvement at the U.S. Department of Education and currently the senior vice president for strategic initiatives at Knowledge Universe; and Martin R. West, an assistant professor of education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and executive editor of Education Next.

Rees is a particularly interesting choice. She served as the deputy under secretary for Innovation and Improvement at the Department of Education under the Bush administration, where she advocated for school privatization through the expansion of school vouchers and other schemes that funnel public dollars to private educational institutions.
Shortly after leaving the government, Rees was immediately snatched through the revolving door by Knowledge Universe, a massive for-profit education company. She currently works for the company under the title of Senior Vice President of Strategic Initiatives.
Knowledge Universe was founded as a for-profit education company by former junk bond king Michael Milken  in 1996. By 2010, the company was reaching $1.6 billion in annual revenue, running a large variety of private early childhood, primary and secondary, higher education, and online education schools and programs.
Now that Rees has a strong hand in making Romney’s K-12 education policy, one has to wonder if she will craft policies overly friendly to the very same industry she works for (and which she also advocated for while still in government). It’s a potential — and powerful — conflict of interest that has great implications for America’s students.

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Filed under: Plutocrats

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  • Padreis

    Oh yeah, I want all of our schools to be privately owned and then we can get rid of the children who aren’t white and/or who don’t have professional parents who can donate a lot of money to the school….NOT! Corporations are trying to take over every blamed thing in this country. It isn’t corporations who make sure our drinking water is clean, our drugs are safe and effective, our roads and bridges are built safely, who insure the money we put in banks (FDIC), who manage Medicare, Medicaid and S.S. for about 3%, and many other things that we take for granted. People who work for the government don’t get salaries of millions of dollars yearly and they work hard for us.
    t

    • tim holt

      I look to what our education system is putting out as a product right now and think, NOBODY could do worse than we are doing right now.

      • Kevin Schmidt

        That’s because Dubya’s ‘No Child’s Behind Left’ became OBusha’s ‘Race to the Bottom.’

        • palinisamoron

          Do you have anything interesting, or are you just a garden-variety troll?

          • http://ingaza.wordpress.com/ the dissenter

            Instead of launching an ad hominem, why don’t you try to prove the guy wrong? Show us some facts to convince us that Obama is different than Bush or that improving education – and not decimating it – is his goal. Please indulge us.

            Insulting others because you don’t like or agree with their opinion is the last refuge of the partisan scoundrels.

          • palinisamoron

            I should prove his comment wrong? Did you read it? There’s nothing to prove wrong, fuckhead!

          • http://ingaza.wordpress.com/ the dissenter

            LOL! Well, thank you for proving ME right there. BTW, feel free to come back and call me more names, the more you do it, the more you’ll prove that you are not doing it. Isn’t that the Right Wing’s mentality?

            ROFL! The Left Wing, exactly the same as the Right Wing. ~palm to forehead~

          • palinisamoron

            Derp. You got nothing as usual, except false equivalency.

          • http://ingaza.wordpress.com/ the dissenter

            Better to open your mouth and remove doubt than letting them think you’re a fool, eh?

          • Avaritia

            Dude, you are hysterical. All you do is accuse others of that which you are guilty of. A perfect example of a right wing troll you are.

          • http://ingaza.wordpress.com/ the dissenter

            PS: Palin is not the only one who is a moron…if you catch my drift (which, of course, you won’t).

          • Avaritia

            Oh, the irony of that post bites!

  • Sulphurdunn

    Yep, poor kids don’t need social justice or functional communities. All they need are for profit schools financed with public money. Not to sound too cynical, but if you aren’t making money off this scam, or you think it will benefit public education, then you have to believe that Enron was good for public utilities and that billionaire foundations and hedge funds care about poor children. If you do you’re just another useful tool.

    • http://ingaza.wordpress.com/ the dissenter

      You’re absolutely correct. If you want to see the perfect example of the devastating results of this conversion, take a look at New Orleans.

  • Sulphurdunn

    Knowledge Universe is part of a transnational corporation headquartered in Singapore. We need it to operate schools in America like we need Mitt Romney to be President. These people and the political hacks they purchase should all be required to wear corporate logos on their civies the way soldiers wear insignia on their uniforms.

    • Kevinfitzz

      and being singapore, would Knowledge Universe be in the ‘Madrasa’ business, too? I have a little different take on the soldiers uni’s. Wouldn’t it be/look better if they were more like NASCAR drivers, with their corporate logos? haha

  • Kevin Schmidt

    How is Obama’s man any better? Every teacher’s union opposed him. I guess it’s OK when the Fascist Democrats do it, but not for the Fascist Republicans.

    • palinisamoron

      Arne Duncan is a testing advocate, which is why the unions opposed him. He isn’t a for-profit education vulture like this one. Of course, when you throw the word Fascist around it’s clear you’re not looking for clarity or understanding.

      • http://ingaza.wordpress.com/ the dissenter

        You couldn’t be more wrong on that. Privatizing education has been Obama’s pet project since day one.

        “President Obama calls charter schools ‘incubators of innovation’ in National Charter Schools Week proclamation”

        http://www.mlive.com/education/index.ssf/2012/05/president_obama_calls_charter.html

        Presidential Proclamation — National Charter Schools Week, 2012
        NATIONAL CHARTER SCHOOLS WEEK, 2012
        BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
        A PROCLAMATION

        http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/05/07/presidential-proclamation-national-charter-schools-week-2012

        Sadly, Obama is as big a corporatist and elitist as Romney.

        • CatKinNY

          You are confusing the words ‘charter’ and ‘private’. As I spelled out in my response above, NYC has lots of public charters, and it’s not alone.

          • http://ingaza.wordpress.com/ the dissenter

            No, I believe you are the one who is letting the privatizers (Obama included) confuse you and make you believe that there is a difference, as shown above.

          • CatKinNY

            Did you even read what I wrote about Bronx Science, the HS for Performing Arts, etc? No, you didn’t. Don’t bother me until you’re capable of responding to my point.

          • http://ingaza.wordpress.com/ the dissenter

            Why read about it when I have lived it?

            Don’t bother me until you’re capable of understanding my point.

          • CatKinNY

            I’m really not interested in “communicating” with someone who makes statements but responds to factual information with a further iteration of “I’m right, you’re wrong, so there.” I have small children in my life who are more than up to that level of discourse.

          • http://ingaza.wordpress.com/ the dissenter

            Yes, I notice that you keep coming back just to tell me that you are not interested. Apparently, you have mistaken me for someone who cares. That’s very sweet of you just the same. :)

      • Avaritia

        Without words, I see…

  • deke4

    Privatizing public education is just another Romney Ponzi scheme. I suspect if this abortion to education is ever put into practice you will see your local and state education taxes go up to help this Ponzi scheme succeed. There will be evaluations by favored evaluators stressing the great strides being made and even greater strides will be made if the government would pour more money into the scheme. Then out of the blue these private companies will develop financial difficulties (after their profits had been disseninated) and they will go into bankruptcy leaving as assets the buildings (paid for with taxpayer dollars) athletic fields and other physical structures (paid for with tax payer dollars) and the private companies absconding with bags of money and a smile on their face. Ask Mitt. Not once has he answered a direct question about Bain that should be spelled Bane as to just what companies went bankrupt and why they were able to reap huge profits from a bankrupted company.

    • http://ingaza.wordpress.com/ the dissenter

      I hate to tell you this but, in this particular case, Romney would only be following the footsteps of and finishing the job that our illustrious president has started. If you take the time to check, you’ll find out that privatization of education is Obama’s pet project. Vote for him and give him another 4 years and you’ll see him bring that little project to fruition.

      • deke4

        It seems Bush started the “no child left behind” by requiring passinf standarized tests, I have heard no Democrat endorsing the riddance of public schools and installing privatized education, It seems to me the party most favoring privitization is on the right. It seems the right thinks the government has no role in a civilized society but yet we would all look pretty silly if each of us had afire truck in our driveways. I do not use airports yet my tax dollars go to build airports. And what I really abhor is my tax dollars going to build a super-stadium then charge me outrageous prices to see a game, suckle a beer and eat a hotdog let alone be invited to sit in the air conditioned, personal chefs and bartenders on seats that probably cost more than a month’s supply of food for the average family.. Now isn’t that a form of welfare

        • Avaritia

          In that case, you heard it here first then:

          Presidential Proclamation — National Charter Schools Week, 2012
          NATIONAL CHARTER SCHOOLS WEEK, 2012
          BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
          A PROCLAMATION

          http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/05/07/presidential-proclamation-national-charter-schools-week-2012

          And, of course, this is neither the first nor the last time that he’ll hear the agenda straight from the horse’s mouth.

          • deke4

            “Whether created by parents and teachers or community and civic leaders, charter schools serve as incubators of innovation in neighborhoods across our country. These institutions give educators the freedom to cultivate new teaching models and develop creative methods to meet students’ needs. This unique flexibility is matched by strong accountability and high standards, so underperforming charter schools can be closed, while those that consistently help students succeed can serve as models of reform for other public schools.”

            The above paragraph is taken from the web site you sent me. Nowhere does it mention that a charter school is a privatized school! Take a look at the very first sentence, does it say charter schools are created by private companies for profit. I realize in some states there are for profit privatized schools and I also realize that there is evidence that those for profit privatized schools have cooked the books, so to speak, to give themselves a better rating. For some reason Houston, Texas and I believe it was Maryland have proven this to be so.

            Charter schools I am familiar with are operated within school districts with the authority of the state and use staff from within the same district and funds from within the district with the state contributing to aid those educators that were already employed by the district.

          • Avaritia

            I see…you’re one of those who covers his eyes so that he can triumphantly claim that the sun doesn’t exist. In this case, you choose to believe that the particular brand of charter schools that Obama is cheering for is the not-for-profit kind (coincidentally, I never heard of any charter school that wasn’t for profit but I also realize that Texas is not in the US but it’s a country in and by itself). In that case, please, do carry on. Defending Obama’s disaster capitalism, elitism and corporatism is a dirty job but someone’s gotta do it.

            And whatever you do, do not ever look into so-called charters schools in New Orleans or New York City just to name a couple or your little Obamabubble will burst.

          • deke4

            “Defending Obama’s disaster capitalism, elitism and corporatism is a dirty job but someone’s gotta do it.” And others will just not let the sunlight in. “Obama’s disaster capitalism?” Perhaps you don’t remember that Clinton left that transplanted Texan, Bush, a half trillion inheritance that Bush quickly squandered on tax cutsa for the unneedy, Perhaps you forgot the Bush promise of getting Osama, Texas style, dead or alive. Bush did neither, in fact at one point he said getting Osama was not important to him. Perhaps you forgot the second unfunded tax cut Bush gave to the wealthy. Perhaps you forgot fighting two unnecessary wars, one for supposedly getting Osama and destroying his training camps, and the other fought with a nation that had nothing to do with 9/11, a nation that was a paper tiger that we defeated 10 years earlier, a nation that would not produce “a mushroom cloud within a year, a nation that had no wmds. Both wars were fought on supplemental budgets. Just for your edification a supplemental budget is only a budget paid for by credit card by some other administration down the road. Let alone the unfunded Bush health act.
            Obama inherited the Bush incompetency wars and budgets. It was Obama who got Osama. It was Obama who saved the auto industry. It is Obama who is slowly bringing us out of the Bush depression. Perhaps it might enlighten you to study some recessions and depressions to see what party was in power when these economic disasters started and which party pulled us out of the disasters. Try the depression of 1872, and 1929, but if historical data does not interest you, check Reagan who left office leaving a 2 trillion dollar deficit then jump to Bush and try to educate me a bit more.

          • Avaritia

            I’m well aware. You on the other hand…not so much. You are the one who seem to be unaware of the fact that Clinton, Bush and Obama and the same shit with a different name. But you keep on batting for your wonder boy Obama, as I said before, it’s a dirty job but someone’s gotta dot it. Once again, you Obamabots are just the same as the FAUX NOISE drones. All the same shit, different day.

          • deke4

            Disqus generic email templateAvarita, And here I thought we were having a somewhat civil discussion without curses. “Clinton, Bush and Obama and the same shit with a different name” As to the different named same shit, there are extreme differences in their policies. There was some talk at the end of the Clinton administration about eliminating our now small National Debt and the effect it would have on the world economy. That was Clinton policies that almost eliminated the National debt, Bush policies, on the other hand, increased the National Debt ceiling 7 times with not one of those fiscally responsible Republicans voting against any of them. Bush increased the debt many fold because he did not raise taxes to carry out his wayward policies or cut spending to compensate for those debts. I have been in the company of drunken sailors who were more responsible about their spending. Ahd the thorn in your side, the black Obama, who is now doing an effective job correcting the wayward spending of those fiscally responsible Republicans. When one is on the losing end of a debate it is not unusual to use foul words. I wish you luck and prosperity, no matter what happens. —– Original Message —–
            From: Disqus
            To: [email protected]
            Sent: Friday, May 25, 2012 10:18 PM
            Subject: [republicreport-org] Re: Romney Names Education Profiteer As Co-Chair Of His K-12 Education Committee

            Avaritia wrote, in response to deke4:

            I’m well aware. You on the other hand…not so much. You are the one who seem to be unaware of the fact that Clinton, Bush and Obama and the same shit with a different name. But you keep on batting for your wonder boy Obama, as I said before, it’s a dirty job but someone’s gotta dot it. Once again, you Obamabots are just the same as the FAUX NOISE drones. All the same shit, different day.
            Link to comment

          • Avaritia

            Well…I’m convinced!

          • CatKinNY

            NYC has a long history of charter schools, especially at the HS level, that channel students into particular fields based on talent/interest. They run the gamut from the famous, like Bronx Science, or the High School for the Performing Arts (the setting of ‘Fame’), to the more mundane, like a couple that prepare students for jobs in health care or culinary careers. They are public schools, and their teachers are members of the Teachers Union. Bloomberg is allowing some private charters to open, but you’re dreaming (or maybe hallucinating?) if you think that there are no public charter schools.

  • deke4

    Tim Holt. When teachers are reduced to teaching rote just to pass tests all education suffers. You don’t need creative educators then, all you need is automatons who give as homework copies of previous state tests at their grade level and repeat and repeat ad infinitum until all students have the same right answer. A question at a jr hi level such as “if the government took away all your rights how would the people get them back?” Most would answer, petition the government for redress of the greivance, or vote them out of office. The critical thinkers would say I don’t have the right of petition or vote anymore, I must fight to get my rights back. This is a facet of a privatized education system that would be shunted aside and questions requiring critical thinking would no longer be part of the curriculum. Just another poser. The Maine, sunk in Havana Harbor was refloated towed somwhere into the mid Atlantic and resunk without any civilian or government committee (that I know of) being allowed to see what caused the Maine to explode in the harbor. True historians are gnashing their teeth because they will no longer be able to find out what happened.

    • http://ingaza.wordpress.com/ the dissenter

      Not sure if it was your intention and/or if you realize it but what you described is the agenda. An educated populace is more difficult to rule and to keep oppressed. Look at the Right Wing that’s how they have been able to get them to vote against their own best interests thru dogma and the ignorance of religion. I have long contended that the agenda starts in the church and when they’re nice and pliable, they’re turned over to the state to complete the job. And that would be the reason why in so-called Communist regimes, they ban religion because it is their only natural enemy. Religion does a better job of brainwashing the sheep than the state ever could.

  • Stripey_Magee

    Everything should be privatized, just ask a Chicagoan how they like their privatized parking meters. How about the private prisons which lobby congress, federal and state, to pass laws that make everyone at one point or another criminals?

  • Earl Callahan

    Why am I not surprised? Let’s continue with what has proved not to work. It has been said that if educators formed a firing squard, they would get in a circle. If they vote for this and rom-money wins, that’s exactly what they’ll be doing, and I know some dyed in the wool teachers who are dyed in the wool Repuglicans.

  • http://ingaza.wordpress.com/ the dissenter

    There ya go. Gotta love the guy, he doesn’t hide his intentions. And there’s another area where he’s following in Obama’s footsteps.

  • deke4

    No one wants to face the real problem in education because it would bring the spotlight to rest frequently on the very people who complain about
    the school system not doing it’s job. The classroom teachers’ hands have been tied. I don’t mean that they use those hands for corporal punishment, but their authority has been eroded. Our system does need some readjustment and I mean from the top down. Most “principals” today prefer to be called “administrators”. A title that conveys the meaning they have little to do with what goes on in the classroom. They have abandoned the British definition of “principal” which means academic leader. All too frequently potential administrators are promoted to their positions because they did not like the heat of the classroom. I would suggest that if there is to be a principal opening in a school district, the bboard throw all applications submitted in the waste paper basket and then seek a teacher who enjoys the heat of the classroom and make that person the administrator. Chances are much better that their choice would be an “academic leader”. I would go on but my time is limited.

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