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Posts tagged: Albertson Foundation

Manning: IEN the whore of the Albertson Foundation

Travis Manning, director of the Common Sense Democracy Foundation, sent Hucks Online the following in response to an op-ed piece by Branden Durst:

Sen. Branden Durst’s recent op-ed critiquing Superintendent Luna’s “end around” the Idaho legislature, and his subsequent analysis of GOP political genealogy, has merit, especially as it relates to a newly minted news organization called Idaho Education News (IEN).

Funded by The Albertson Foundation, IEN started seven months ago in order to advance the school privatization agenda of Chairman Joe Scott.  They bought the Boise State University name, where IEN is housed, simply by donating millions of dollars.  Strategically, Albertson hired away established reporters Kevin Richert, Jennifer Swindell and Clark Corbin to do its messaging work, under the auspices of their new identity.  Albertson uses the B.S.U. trademark as a PR gimmick to expedite credibility within Idaho. 

Albertson and IEN blur the arena of ethical journalism, which situation is different from Boise State’s relationship with National Public Radio, where Boise State Public Radio, an NPR affiliate, is housed.  In this case, NPR is an already-established news entity with decades-long experience and an international reputation for quality and unbiased reporting.  IEN is far from achieving NPR’s status.

More below. Thoughts?

Albertson’s Meets Ed Needs — Again

Has there ever been a private institution that has done as much good for Idaho education as the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation? The foundation announced Wednesday that it’s donating $21 million to the Idaho Department of Education to help create “the 21st century classroom” in every Idaho school. With its grant, the trust will help equip teachers across the state with state-of-the-art tools to raise student achievement through data-driven decision making. The software is designed and distributed by SchoolNet Inc., a New York company. The SchoolNet tool will improve the way schools monitor student progress and teacher effectiveness/Twin Falls Times-News Editorial Board. More here.

Question: Do you agree with the Twin Falls Times-News that the Albertson Foundation has been very, very good for public education in Idaho?

Albertson Heir Cashes In On Online Ed

Since 2007, Joseph B. Scott’s investment company, Alscott Inc., has brought in more than $15 million by selling part of its stake in Virginia-based K12 Inc., which sells online courses and other services to public schools. Meanwhile, his family’s tax-exempt foundation has helped K12 tap Idaho taxpayer dollars and now is supporting state schools chief Tom Luna’s plan to require every high school student in the state to take online classes. For nearly a decade, the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation has chipped in millions toward Idaho’s online public education system. One of those online schools, the Idaho Virtual Academy, has, in turn, directed tens of millions of public dollars into K12’s company coffers, for services ranging from curriculum to administration. … With debate over expanding Idaho’s Internet-based education system now dominating the 2011 Legislature, Scott, who is Joe Albertson’s grandson, and an avid skier with his own helicopter, isn’t staying on the sidelines, either/John Miller, Associated Press. More here.

Question: In a speech Friday, Luna denied that his radical plans for education reform were influenced by thousands of dollars in contribution from online education sources, like K12. What do you think?

Kevin: Public Ed Situation Gloomy

In supporting state superintendent Tom Luna’s education overhaul plan, the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation has also engaged in stunning public self-assessment. “The reform efforts we’ve funded have not worked, have had limited impact, or were never systematically adopted,” the foundation said in a full-page ad that appeared in Sunday’s Statesman. “At all levels and repeatedly, we’ve met with political indecision, territorialism, and a lack of political will. The historical focus on barriers, challenges, excuses and maintaining the status quo permeates our education system and stakeholder groups.” This, after 15 years and $400 million in investments, is nothing short of a remarkable statement. It’s a doom-and-gloom argument for education reform. For Idahoans who have been led to believe — by the likes of Luna and the foundation — that Idaho schools have provided good value on a modest budget, it’s all a little bit jarring/Kevin Richert, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: Has Idaho provided a good public education for members of your family?

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D.F. Oliveria is a columnist and blogger for The Spokesman-Review. Print Huckleberries is a past winner of the Herb Caen Memorial Column contest by the National Association of Newspaper Columnists. The Readership Institute of Northwestern University cited this blog as a good example of online community journalism.

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