MyNotes - Governor's Tech Fund Needs More Transparency #txlege
Time for more accountability? Why are funds being siphoned off from critical needs areas--like education--to companies (some of which are going/gone bankrupt), as is implied in the actions described below and in the original article? Time for greater critical judgements by Texas voters:
Auditor: Perry's tech fund needs more transparency | AP Texas News | Chron.com - Houston Chronicle chron.com
Gov. Rick Perry's technology fund that awards money to start-up companies and universities needs "significant improvements to promote greater transparency and accountability," the state auditor said in a report released Thursday.
The fund, administered by the governor's office, was created by the Legislature at his request in 2005. About $370 million has been awarded through the fund so far. In the report, State Auditor John Keel said decision making related to the fund and fund recipients isn't open to the public. He also said there isn't enough monitoring of how companies that get the money are performing and spending the money. He noted that the governor's office doesn't report the value of the state's investments through the fund on its financial statements.
The fund came under scrutiny in the fall after The Dallas Morning News reported that more than $16 million from the fund was awarded to companies with investors or officers who'd made large campaign donations to Perry.
The newspaper also wrote about a $4.5 million award fund to a company founded by a major Perry campaign donor even after the company did not get the endorsement of a regional screening board.
More transparency is needed in a lot more areas. Consider this blog entry which asserts the following:
Education Week is reporting that the Gates Foundation and Pearson (Yes, the company that makes and scores the TAKS), is now offering complete curricula and professional development for teachers that is aligned with the common core standards. So, the Gates Foundation uses its money and influence to push through Common Core Standards and testing, then within a year, partners with Pearson so that Pearson can make a profit off of the Common Core Standards...since many districts had to cut their central office curriculum specialists as part of the budget crises around the country, districts will essentially be forced to purchase this new curriculum since it will be cheaper than employing curriculum specialists who, you know, actually interact and collaborate with real live teachers..Read the rest over at A "Fuller" Look at Education Issues. As Fuller suggests in his blog entry, it is scary to consider that siphoning off education funding to companies that generate revenue for politicians and rich folks is a growing trend in American schools. I look forward to reading his evidence, but I won't need much convincing.
Consider that heavy duty budget cuts over the last few months have DECIMATED the very people who can develop online curriculum and professional development. It should come as no surprise that companies are poised to step in and fill the gap caused by the budget shortfall, which was engineered back in 2006 with Governor Perry's knowledge (reference Carol Keeton Strayhorn's letter advising him of the structural funding problem).
When I heard the piece of news that Pearson is now providing professional development courses for teachers (20 of them), in my humble opinion, it's not hard to imagine what the strategy might be:
- Decimate school district's capacity to develop and implement their own online courses using free tools like Moodle. Instead, force them to use courses that will be delivered through a vendor-owned, proprietary system that locks content in and does not allow for easy export or sharing.
- Have private companies with clear ties to government leaders through campaign funds and consulting gigs provide professional development and K-12 online learning courses to school district leaders, who, like beggars, have no choice. These private companies are endorsed by government leaders so that superintendents have little choice if they want to garner positive PR.
- Standardize curriculum state-wide and then use cronies in legislature to mandate it.
Follow the money trail.
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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure