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Peter Cunningham’s $12-Million-Dollar EdPost Cannot Purchase Readers

October 6, 2015

On September 03, 2014, I wrote a post about Education Post, a nonprofit set up to pretty much just operate a pro-corporate-reform-promoting blog. Upon start-up, EdPost scraped together $12 million.

Now that’s one expensive blog.

It turns out that billionaire Eli Broad convinced Peter Cunningham, former communications official for (freshly resigned) US Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, to run the cushy, pro-privatization blog operation.

EdPost has been in operation for just over a year, and it seems that Cunningham can’t seem to attract what he cannot purchase:

Readers.

Non-millionaire-blog-operator, Jennifer Berkshire captured news of the origin of EdPost and some of the Cunningham corporate-reform lament about all of those numerous, non-corporate-reform, non-millionaire education bloggers in a May 2015 interview:

When I was asked to create this organization—it wasn’t my idea; I was initially approached by Broad—it was specifically because a lot of reform leaders felt like they were being piled on and that no one would come to their defense. They said somebody just needs to help right the ship here. There was a broad feeling that the anti-reform community was very effective at piling on and that no one was organizing that on our side. There was unequivocally a call to create a community of voices that would rise to the defense of people pushing reform who felt like they were isolated and alone. 

Poor wealthy, test-score-obsessed, public-education-destroying reformers. Broad wanted to purchase a voice for you via EdPost.

But again: No corporate-reform-loving ueber-wave of readers for EdPost.

So, it seems that Cunningham is resorting to soliciting free assistance.

The following is the text of an email that Cunningham issued to a list of “friends” instructing those “friends” on how they might promote $12-million-funded blog flop, EdPost:

Friend–

As I talk to people across the education community, I hear one consistent message: those of us working to improve public education are frustrated by the debate on social media. While we welcome open, honest dialogue among all interested parties, relentlessly negative narratives can stifle productive conversation and undermine meaningful progress.

Partly, this is our own fault. We don’t do enough to share and promote the stories of parents and teachers who put a real face on why change is needed and how it is helping children. We can do more to elevate voices focused on results, not politics, and establish a safer environment for people to share their opinions with less fear of being attacked and demeaned.

To support this effort, Education Post sends out a morning email to a growing group of people like you who are working hard to improve public education. It includes a suggested tweet with a story that deserves attention or reinforces a core message. If you like the story or agree with the message, please tweet from your own personal account under the hashtag#Voices4Ed.

Obviously, put it in your own voice if you choose. Our only goal is to make it as easy as possible—just a click or two over your morning coffee. When we all start sharing together more consistently, we’ll send a strong signal to our followers and friends, the media and the blogosphere, that we want to see more stories that show the positive difference we are making in the lives of children.

Thanks, and if you find this unhelpful in any way, you can easily remove yourself from this list. We also welcome your feedback and suggestions. Please send comments to our digital director, Gordon Wright, at gwright@educationpost.org. Thanks again for your hard work every day to improve the quality of public education.

Sincerely,

Peter Cunningham
Executive Director
Education Post

Poor Peter.

People don’t share your stories because they are one-sided, Broad-approved crap.

Your conversation is a farce; that is the strong signal you are sending, and that is why you can blow millions on a blog only to have to beg for freebie promotion.

Destination: nowhere.

deserted

______________________________________________________________

Schneider is a southern Louisiana native, career teacher, trained researcher, and author of the ed reform whistle blower, A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who In the Implosion of American Public Education.

She also has a second book, Common Core Dilemma: Who Owns Our Schools?, published on June 12, 2015.

both books

Don’t care to buy from Amazon? Purchase my books from Powell’s City of Books instead.

From → Arne Duncan, Broad

18 Comments
  1. ira shor permalink

    A $12 million dollar fraud was never skewered so elegantly and effectively as your Poor Peter post.

  2. Oh my. That is great. The other reason he doesn’t have shares is because there is only 1% of them in the general population to read it. Who knew the 1% got lonely:)

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  3. Andrea Lancer permalink

    Reformers are so isolated and beset by negativity! And their interest in reform has nothing to do with the following:

    “In part, it’s the tax code that makes charter schools so lucrative: Under the federal “New Markets Tax Credit” program that became law toward the end of the Clinton presidency, firms that invest in charters and other projects located in “underserved” areas can collect a generous tax credit — up to 39% — to offset their costs.

    So attractive is the math, according to a 2010 article by Juan Gonzalez in the New York Daily News, “that a lender who uses it can almost double his money in seven years.” (Laura Chapman: What Charters Do Best
    by dianeravitch)

  4. Ha! hashtag#Voices4Ed, it is then!

  5. mercat45 permalink

    Great blog today. Keep up the great writing!

  6. Laura H. Chpapman permalink

    Great report and commentary with a kicker image.

  7. Johanna permalink

    Interesting that the education “reporter” for MinnPost (owned by the infamous Kramer family of Minneapolis) is now headed Ed Post’s way.

  8. Jonathan permalink

    I wonder how Campbell Brown’s new site is doing.

    • It’s grassroots power vs. Campbell Brown’s phony blog. Their astroturf campaign has NO traction, just monied backers. I wonder if she even writes the posts herself or just hires someone to write it.

  9. Geneva permalink

    I’ve been searching for their 990 forms, too early for the 2014 forms to surface?

  10. I think a study of the language-crafting would be a great thing. There is so much packaging and it seems so obvious…yet our politicians gobble it up and spit it out themselves. See enough of it, and the consistent themes and catch-phrases show up. Sometimes a little ugly (you care nothing for and know nothing about the poor black and brown children because of your middle class white privilege)-always wanting to point to the results (and truthfully, anything that gives a young person a chance to break generational poverty is a good thing)- but unwilling to discuss the details of how those results are reached or the “why” behind policy turning on the public in the last 8 to 10 years. The undeserved reformy stardom of those like Rhee, Klein, Moskowitz; those students that are not invited (or allowed to stay); the hidden agenda of turning an obligation to all into a market-segregated choice/social engineering tool (labor market/survival skills for the masses and less accountable red carpet path for the very few)…Very often it’s “Yes there are multiple issues, but we should deal only with test scores that supply evidence of what happens in school…not concern ourselves with what we are doing TO your school. It’s very well-connected and educated people feigning ignorance in order to serve an agenda…and it’s almost insulting.

    Thank you for consistently impressing me with relevance and information, Mercedes.

  11. PAYOLA: Great reporting as usual – BUT Mercedes gives too much credit to this “blog” arrangement. This to me this just seems to be unspoken bonus money for “performing in our interests while you were in the government” and to keep all the secrets from here forth.

    Oh wait, it’s just a coincidence a former communications director for Duncan got three times more than Campbell Brown got to set up an even bigger education blog. Why would an investor in a blog purposely spend more than they have to?

    This is how our (unelected) education commissioners know they are secure in a soft landing as a lobbyist. This is exactly what Justice Kennedy said in the Citizens United decision was how the system is supposed to work. It’s not bribery, money equals speech, and there is no law against the revolving door it’s perfectly legal provided you don’t say what you’re doing in writing, or get caught on tape saying it aloud.

  12. Mary DeFalco permalink

     
    Common Core is problematic on all fronts: philosophically, psychologically, sociologically, pedagogically, politically, economically, and morally.  I will address aspects of the philosophical, psychological and pedagogical problems.

     School reform must start with the experts in the field of education- not with people who have the money and the desire to make more money or the powers that be,  who are trying to create universal standards and in the end universal robots via the educational system.  Reform must start from the bottom – the old cliché of needing a firm foundation when building a house.

    We had an expert in the field of literacy whose philosophy and methodology was making great strides but it cost a few shekels more than districts wanted to pay.  However, its cost dwarfs  compared to the program the “inspired” businessmen, politicians, and some well meaning philanthropist have imposed on the schools.

    I am a broken record but I will repeat and repeat until someone takes reading experts seriously. We need a viable literacy program where all are made to feel  successful.  Not a program like the present one that Common Core has imposed on children which is punitive, abusive, and confining. We need a program that respects each child and the skills, talents, and abilities that each brings to the  classroom. We need a program that begins with the child and ends with the child. We need a program that is developmentally appropriate, builds on the student’s prior knowledge and constructs new meaning and new skills with that information. So it wouldn’t matter if the student is rich or poor or whether the child is from the inner city of NY or Eastcupcake, Idaho. It is a win win approach, using the children’s background to embark upon a meaningful reading program.  Today, under the CC children are forced to face the daunting task of trying to make sense out meaningless words strung together into a meaningless contrived story- asinine! To make matters worse some children have an auditory discrimination problem and can’t blend.

    Those who have been read to since birth don’t consider the CC reading  approach reading- it is a task to learn just like one has to learn how to put out a fire.  It certainly isn’t a task that is going to turn them into independent readers. Decoding words is not reading – it is barking at words.
    It is a known fact that during the first Bush’s administration, an expert in the field of literacy was deliberately closed out of the panel of people who were vying to have input into the literacy program adopted by U.S. Department of Education. Instead of a program that built on the child’s background, that was psychologically grounded, it chose a half baked program. The Bush administration chose a program that benefited the brother of then President Bush. Listed below are three links that discuss the even:
    Fair Test: Reading First Financial Corruption. http://www.fairtest.org/reading-first-financial-corruption  Choosing Democracy: Reading First; fraud, Bush cronyism
    http://choosingdemocracy.blogspot.com/2006/09/reading-first-fraud-bush-cronyism.html
    TEXAS – READING FIRST PROGRAM OWNED BY PRESIDENT BUSH’S BROTHER NEIL BUSH IS A FRAUD SCAM  http://www.edu-cyberpg.com/literacy/texasscam.asp

    It was the program the Dr.Reid  Lyon developed and used for the Reading First Program. Programs since have continued to use Dr. Lyon’s program which is anchored in a direct teaching approach taxing the memory  – a Behaviorist approach to learning in lieu of tapping into a constructive approach which utilizes three components in lieu of just one – phonics.

    Already I sense feathers being ruffled by the uninformed businessmen who shoot from the hip using only their uninformed reasoning power.  They haven’t even looked into the program of the woman who studied in our prestigious University of Minnesota on a  Fulbright Scholarship and completed her doctorate at the University of Auckland with a dissertation entitled “Emergent Literacy.” She studied the great scholars in cognitive psychology, childhood psychology,   educational philosophy, and others unlike Reid Lyon who studied cognitive psychology but apparently stopped there and developed his reading program. Marie Clay, from New Zealand  is well known for her program around the world. Most people limit her to the Reading Recovery program. But it is her well grounded philosophy that can be applied throughout the grades. She adds a psychological aspect: a happy environment, freedom to explore, confidence, feeling of success, a challenge that can be met, hands on, modeling, and utilizing all senses. She believed in giving all the support necessary so the child couldn’t make a mistake. Above all it respects the self-image of students not like the CC aligned tests which destroys students’ self-image and begins the erode future hopes of learning.
    I witness the detrimental affect the approach Common Core Standards has on my grandchildren.  My grandson in first grade has dichotomized the reading process. On one hand he believes that reading is about sounding out words, putting the words into sentences, paragraphs until a story emerges. To him the subject of reading doesn’t have to be entertaining, meaningful, informative but it is the skill of sounding out words. While listening and watching him read it is obvious that he is only taught how to sound out words. He made no attempt to get support from his prior knowledge, the illustration nor the syntax of the sentence.  Those skills weren’t needed in decoding the contrived story that he was told to read for homework. Thank Goodness he has parents who know what reading is about and read literature books to him every night.

    Over half of the children in the states under the yoke of CC are set up for failure – over half the children failed their standardized test last year.  But that is not enough punishment; third graders in 13 states are further abused by mandatory retention known by some educators as the most harmful tool in the arsenal of education.

    Politicians, businesspeople, and well meaning philanthropists with no background in education  keep raising the whip: memorize, memorize, memorize…tests, tests, tests…  get rid of unions so they can’t be contradicted.  Their one tool is that the student ”must”– there are no if or buts about it, otherwise they will be punished- no application, evaluation or developing the imagination. The designers of CC know nothing that would make reading meaningful and desirable. 

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Mercedes Schneider: Corporate Reform Blog Needs Readers; Can You Help? | Diane Ravitch's blog
  2. Spooky! Beware of Scripted Education Debates… | Bright Light Small City
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