Education Week: Marketing the Charter School Market

Education Week is a paradox. On one hand, it has many excellent reporters who check facts and write lucidly without partisanship. On the other, the corporate entity has become a selling platform for technology and charter schools.

I used to blog regularly at EdWeek, in a column called “Bridging Differences,” with Deborah Meier. No one ever changed what I wrote. I know that editorial independence is central to a journal’s integrity.

But since I departed (and even before), Education Week needed advertising from the industry on which it was reporting, and it began to turn into a platform for the industry. EdWeek also receives funding from the Gates Foundation and the Walton Foundation, each of which has its own agenda.

And so I regularly open my email box to find advertisements from EdWeek for tech products, webinars, seminars, panels, events, etc.

The latest was a solicitation for a webinar about “Mastering the Charter School Market.” Part of the pitch was that charters would capture 20-40% of the “market” by 2035.

Where did they get that figure? I thought about it. Then I discovered the source: The projection was made by Bellwether Partners, a consulting firm founded by reformer Andrew Rotherham, a leader in the charter school movement who represents charter corporations and advocates. This 2015 report (slide 60) says that the charter schools will have 22-38% of the “market” by 2035. That assumes that the numerous scandals associated with deregulation and the resistance of parents and educators to privatization have not slowed the movement long before then.

I am posting this after the event, because this is not an advertisement but rather a post expressing my concern about Edweek’s descent into marketing for the edBiz, whether it is technology or charters.

The registration form can be found here.

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