Birds of a Feather Flock Together: ECI’s Very Partisan ‘Bi-Partisan’ Policy Advisory Board

Educational Choice Illinois (ECI) is “a 501c3 public charity, dedicated to advancing public policy that expands quality educational options for Illinois children in need” that recently released an announcement celebrating the creation of its “bipartisanPolicy Advisory Board.  Their board, 31 members in total, is tasked with “[assisting] ECI in setting its policy agenda” in addition to meeting with community leaders, legislators, participating in outreach, etc.

What is especially interesting about the Board is its composition.  While ECI reports that the Board is “bipartisan,” it is clear that those who sit on the Board are far from bipartisan when it comes to educational policy.  Of the 31 members, at least 23 work for organizations/think-tanks that are overtly in favor of pro-privatization education reforms (e.g., charter schools, vouchers, etc.), and none are known skeptics.  Of the other 8 members, their history or current position on reform cannot be readily ascertained.  Though, as a lobbyist, Vince Williams – who is among the 8 – is likely to advocate for the majority opinion of the Advisory Board – which, in this case, is predominately comprised of pro-privatization ideologues.  Thus, given the history of pro-privatization activities from the members of this Board, one must ask if it was their disposition — as opposed to, say, expertise on the issue — that was ultimately the litmus test for their participation.

Unlocking the Interlocking Relationship Between International Student Enrollment in Public Universities and Declining State Appropriations Operations Revenue

“The interlocking relationship between public institutions, tuition and fee policies, and state appropriations is an area that seems to be pervasively misunderstood by taxpayers and policymakers” (Alexander, 2011).

"Racing to Nowhere: Abandoning the Promise of Universal Education"

MillerComm Lecture by David Blacker

Monday, September 29, 2014

David Blacker (University of Delaware) is author of The Falling Rate of Learning and the Neoliberal Endgame.

Universal education is beloved as an ideal while its reality is being extinguished. Heralded as expansions of access where we “race to the top” and “leave no child behind,” initiatives involving marketization, austerity, privatization and student debt combine to eliminate and expel growing segments of the rising generation.  Why is this happening?  And why now?  David J. Blacker outlines a coherent framework for understanding the current onslaught against all levels of public education. It all comes down to deep and troubling changes in the economy that “education reform” cannot touch and that nobody wants to talk about. 

This event is co-sponsored by the Forum on the Future of Public Education