Friday, June 30, 2006


Kenny gets Flakey

Birds of a feather, etc.

To be clear this isn't really a "Democratic" endorsement nor an endorsement by an Ohioan. Yes, Flake was a one-time NY congressman and a member of the Congressional Black Caucus. He was reportedly the only CBC member who was pro-school vouchers.

Not suprisingly, in the the second half of his career, Flake took off in a new direction: to shill for Edison Schools, the for-profit, pro-school privatization company with a very-checkered history of finacial and educational success.

So, as explained below, Flake's endorsement is really an endorsement by privatize-YOUR-schools-to-line-OUR-pockets-for-financial-gain community.

Flake was made President of Edison Charter Schools in the first part of this decade and later became a member of the firm's Board of Directors. In other words, he gained a very clear vested financial interest in seeing that schools became privatized. Flake also became a key player in the Black Alliance for Educational Opportunities.

According to People for the American Way, BAEO
bills itself as a coalition of up-and-coming leaders working within the African-
American community. But a closer look shows that BAEO has been bankrolled by a
small number of right-wing foundations better known for supporting education
privatization and affirmative action rollbacks than empowerment of the African
American community or low-income families.

Four groups that BAEO originally listed as benefactors back in 2001 are major players in the right-wing voucher movement. In fact, the Walton Foundation and the Bradley Foundation have financed much of the movement. The Milton and Rose D. Friedman Foundation and the American Education Reform Council are pro-voucher advocacy groups that – while also receiving significant funding from the Walton and Bradley Foundations – are lending their own significant support to BAEO, the relative newcomer.
The PFAW report also suggest that BAEO is a mix of Armstrong Williams-type ideologues and those who a personal financial stake in school privatization. Besides Flake, BAEO advisors include, tah dah, Kenny Blackwell.

Small world.

Back to Flake and Edison schools, Flake current relationship is unclear. After an SEC investigation and criticism of Edison financial practices and lackluster investment returns, Edison became a privately held company that is required to make few public reports. We can't find any official announcement that Flake left Edison, but the official Edison Schools "team roster" omits Flake's name.

And speaking of omissions, isn't it interesting that Flake's connections to Edison were omitted from Kenny's release? Kind of like the other "oversights" that are going around in GOP circles.


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