Wednesday, April 1, 2009 | I will be interested to know what special topic education reporter Emily Alpert selects to investigate when she returns from her fellowship at the Hechinger Institute in New York City.

It seems fair to point out to voice readers that Hechinger Institute, established in 1996 at Columbia Teachers College, is largely funded by what is best described as the “business lobby” in public education today — led by billionaires Eli Broad and Bill Gates who were enthusiasts and financial backers of non-educator, kick-ass, problematic Superintendent Alan Bersin, appointed here in 1998.

Broad and Gates have limitless money and enlist like-minded corporate contributors to their flexible and wide-ranging education agenda: promoting charter schools; getting rid of elected local boards of education or, as a default, financing vetted school board candidates who are amenable to their philosophy; having public school systems run by “strong” mayors (whose careers they also finance); eliminating teachers’ unions in the name of unworkable business-style “pay-for-performance” systems for classroom teachers; establishing “leadership” training institutes for school principals and superintendents for “reform” indoctrination; and finally, influencing public opinion by means of fellowships and grants to reporters and TV journalists at places like the Hechinger Institute.

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