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About Michael Feinberg’s Online Porn Habit…

January 11, 2020

KIPP charter schools co-founder Michael Feinberg was fired in 2018 due to allegations of sexual misconduct. In August 2018, Feinberg sued for defamation, and in KIPP’s Motion to Dismiss, KIPP indicated that examination of Feinberg’s KIPP laptop indicated that Feinberg had used it to view pornography on multiple occasions. (See my December 2019 post for backstory and links.)

According to KIPP officials, when Feinberg was confronted about the use of his school computer to view porn, “Feinberg admitted that he had accessed the pornography in question but claimed it had only occurred during business travel.”

So, in Feinberg’s mind, using a KIPP computer to view porn was apparently okay because he did so while on business trips.

Cut to January 09, 2020, and Chalkbeat’s reporting that Jeanne Allen’s Center for Education Reform (CER) has decided to employ Feinberg for an “special initiative” for DC schools, called, “Why America?”. Allen is fine with hiring Allen, as Chalkbeat reports:

“I’ve never been guided by a group think mentality, and whatever KIPP believes or alleges about Mike is absolutely not my experience nor a concern,” Jeanne Allen, the CEO of the Center for Education Reform, told Chalkbeat in an email. “I have known plenty of people in this life who have been accused of myriad things that turned out not to be true.”

Feinberg is also connected to a nonprofit once known as the Catholic School Renaissance Institute and now known as the Texas School Venture Fund via Feinberg’s history with KIPP Houston. (For more, see my August 2019 post.) As Chalkbeat reports, via Texas School Venture Fund, Feinberg is now working with Houston furniture store owner, Jim “Mattesss Mack” McIngvale, to open three schools. McInvale told Chalkbeat that he stands beind Feinberg:

“Until the allegations are proven he’s innocent to me,” Jim McIngvale, who founded Gallery Furniture and is a longtime KIPP donor, told Chalkbeat. “I’m loyal to people.”

Allen and McIngvale are both behind Feinberg.

But let us leave the allegations of Feinberg’s sexual misconduct for a moment and consider what is not in dispute:

Feinberg used his KIPP laptop to view pornography. This issue is not one of “group mentality.” It is not an allegation that “turned out not to be true.” It is an allegation that KIPP’s Motion to Dismiss (a legal document) establishes– and which can be proven if need be because KIPP is in possession of Feinberg’s KIPP laptop.

Surprisingly, it is also an issue completely unaddressed in Chalkbeat’s January 09, 2020, article.

So, I wonder:

Will Allen and McIngvale have an arguably-awkward sit-down with Feinberg about not using CER or Furniture Gallery Charter Schools’ technology to view or otherwise engage in pornography– not even during business travel?

Will they simply see to it that Feinberg is restricted to his own technology– kind of like laptop house arrest?

Or will they ignore the issue and possibly find themselves and their organizations unpleasantly connected to Feinberg in future headlines?

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Michael Feinberg

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Schneider is a southern Louisiana native, career teacher, trained researcher, and author of two other books: A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who In the Implosion of American Public Education and Common Core Dilemma: Who Owns Our Schools?. You should buy these books. They’re great. No, really.

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From → Charters, Litigation

3 Comments
  1. An awkward conversation indeed! The only thing I worry about viewing on my work computer are all the educational research articles I read about the importance of librarians, reading, play, electives, vocational courses, and note-taking by hand. My district supervisors might think I am some kind of radical.

  2. Jack Covey permalink

    This smacks of compulsivity creepiness on Feinberg’s part. (a married father of 2, btw)

    Dude needs help.

  3. Linda permalink

    “Catholic School Renaissance”?

    The paragraphs at the Massachusetts Catholic Conference’s site disparaging public schools, as contrasted with the lofty Catholic schools…
    The self discipline purportedly unique to Catholic schools that warranted praise from the Koch network and Fordham …

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