From Wolf to Bush: Gove's international blob -- check out the global web of educational profiteering that's forming...
To see a larger version of the diagram please click on it and view it in Flickr:
The infographic is by Francis Gilbert, and this text is by Janet Downs:
Michael Gove was once employed by News International and has close ties with News Corporation boss Rupert Murdoch. Gove, who described Murdoch as “one of the most impressive and significant figures of the last 50 years”, has met with Murdoch many times since becoming Education Secretary. At one meeting, to discuss a plan to build a News International Academy, Murdoch described himself as the saviour of British education thanks to his company’s “adoption of new academies here in London”. The plan eventually fell through.
News Corp hired former New York schools chancellor, Joel Klein, to lead News Corp’s “aggressive push into the education market”. News Corp subsidiary, Wireless Generation, won a no-bid contract to build a data system for New York schools but this was cancelled following the UK phone hacking scandal. Klein was made head of News Corp’s internal committee set up to investigate allegations of bribery and phone hacking - he sat impassively behind Murdoch at the Leveson inquiry. Klein, who’s in favour of breaking “state monopoly” on education, is now head of another News Corp subsidiary Amplify which markets a “portfolio of products built by Wireless Generation”. Gove invited him to the Free Schools Conference in January 2011 which was also attended by Mike Feinberg, co-founder of KIPP schools, a chain of charter schools in the USA. KIPP offers education to disadvantaged pupils using a tough “no excuses” model which it claims raises results but KIPP schools have been accused of having high attrition rates. Gove praised both Klein and KIPP in a speech to the National College.
Amplify has just recruited Rachel Wolf, head of the New Schools Network (NSN), the organisation which advises free school start ups and which received a £500,000 grant from Gove, her former boss, to run NSN. The Daily Telegraph recently wrote that NSN was used by Gove as support – this would mean that NSN is in breach of its charity status. Wireless Generation is the technology chosen by the Foundation for Excellence in Education for its online education provision. This was set up by Jeb Bush, brother of George W, a possible Republican candidate for the Presidential election in 2016. The Foundation receives funding from, among others, Amplify and Connections Education, an online education provider bought by publishing giant Pearson in 2011 for £400 million. Bush lobbies for the removal of “obstacles” to the growth of online education such as state laws requiring pupils to be in a physical classroom. Gove praised Bush in his “How are the Children” speech.
Michael Gove was on the advisory board of Atlantic Bridge, a charity set up to further relations with the USA. However, the charity has been removed from the Charities Commission register following a critical report. In 2007, Atlantic Bridge signed a special partnership with the right-wing American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) whose motto is “Limited government, free markets, federalism.” According to Media Matters for America, News Corp is a member of ALEC which is supposed to be a charity but has been accused of lobbying in breach of US charity rules. ALEC drafts model state legislation including statues which encourage online schooling, the privatization of public education and the removal of collective bargaining. The Wall Street Journal and Fox News, both owned by News Corp have defended ALEC from criticism. The Connections Academy, a division of Connections Education, co-chaired ALEC’s Education Task Force but has now cut its ties after ALEC was accused of supporting African-American voter suppression and the “Stand your Ground” law in Florida. Several other companies including Wal-Mart, Amazon and Procter & Gamble, have also distanced themselves from ALEC.