Accountability Billionaires Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative Education Industry Privatization

Peter Greene: Chan Zuckerberg Partners with Sesame Street and Elmo (Oh, No!)

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Peter Greene demonstrates here (yet again) that there is nothing that money cannot buy (and corrupt). Now it is Sesame Street (although as he points out, HBO already bought Sesame Street). Is there anything not for sale?

Open the link and read the whole sorry story.

If you haven’t been paying particularly close attention, you may have missed the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative slowly inserting its hyper-wealthy proboscis into a hundred different corners of modern life, using its not-quite-philanthropy LLC model to follow in the Gatesian footprints of wealthy technocrats who want to appoint themselves the unelected heads of oh-so-many sectors.

One of those sectors is, of course, education. Their latest bold new initiative is being trumpeted in People, where it is getting exactly the fluffy uncritical reception one might expect, which is too bad, because there’s plenty to be critical of.

The tech mogul, 35, and pediatrician’s philanthropic organization, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, is working in conjunction with The Primary School and Sesame Workshop to help fund a “new curriculum” that aims to “integrate social emotional learning into early childhood literacy lessons,” according to a press release.

The Primary School is out in Palo Alto, “expanding the boundaries of traditional education.” It is the elementary school that Chan co-founded in 2016 to bring together issues in education and pediatrics. They have all sorts of business style leadershippositions like “director of talent” and “director of strategic initiatives” and the teaching staff seems to be made of a few “lead teachers” and a whole lot of “associate teachers.” Their CEO comes from the NewSchool Venture Fund and Aspire. Their “director of innovation and learning” spent two whole years in Teach for America. The school’s principal once founded a charter school and stayed with it for five years. Of the lead teachers a little more than half have actual teaching backgrounds, while the rest are TFA or other “non-traditional” approaches to the field. I admittedly didn’t check every single one, but a spot check of the associate teachers turned up zero with actual teaching backgrounds.

In short, it’s very new, very reform, very Palo Alto-y, and yet, wonder of wonders, the folks at the Sesame Workshop, “the global nonprofit behind Sesame Street and so much more” and who have been at this for fifty years (longer, I’m betting, than virtually every staff person at The Primary School has been alive)– those folks feel an urge to team up with The Primary School.

 

 

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