After completing this action, you will receive periodic updates on articles, events and actions from The Nation magazine. You may unsubscribe at any time.
In October, the Obama administration nominated Ted Mitchell, the chief executive of the NewSchools Venture Fund, to become Under Secretary of the Department of Education. While the nomination has flown largely under the radar, the choice represents an alarming sign that the administration is favoring greater privatization of public education.
As Lee Fang pointed out last December, Mitchell's connections to for-profit colleges and the movement toward privatization raise real questions about his commitment to public education. On top of his work with the NewSchools Venture Fund, Mitchell has connections to powerful education corporation Pearson and to Salmon River Capital, a venture capital firm that helped to found the for-profit college Capella University. Furthermore, until he stepped down to prepare for his confirmation process, he was on the advisory board of Students Matter, the organization funding a legal challenge to teacher tenure in California.
While their advocates claim that charter schools and an increase in public-private partnerships will improve educational outcomes for under-served populations, they too often result in severe over-testing, a more segregated education system and fewer protections for teachers, all while generating huge profits for corporations.
Education historian Diane Ravich has said that Mitchell "represents the quintessence of the privatization movement." Write to your senators now and tell them to oppose Ted Mitchell's nomination as Under Secretary of the Department of Education.
Ted Mitchell, then president and CEO of the NewSchools Venture Fund attends the New York Times's “Schools for Tomorrow” conference panel. (AP Photo)