The Edu$hyster ring in Michigan
Utica Community Schools, as the second largest district in Michigan, has always been a leader in education. Students have always had a high rate of success. In comparison to districts across the nation, Utica has always been financially healthy. Utica has been a wealth of potential for multiple facets of education, art and culture and many of those programs have been decimated to cater to the special interest of profiteers and politicians.
Carol Klenow, who is the School Board President of Utica Community Schools, hired Christine Johns, a graduate of the unaccredited Broad School Academy, to serve as the Superintendent of Utica Community Schools. Klenow was also appointed by the Governor to be on the State Officers Compensation Commission which determines the compensation, benefits and expense accounts of the Governor’s Officers including all state officers and legislators. These officials and representatives are some of the highest paid in Michigan’s legislative history. Recently, Governor Rick Synder also certified Utica Community Schools Board President Klenow as an Emergency Financial Manager. This gives Klenow the power to close schools at will as was seen in Detroit under the rule of Broad graduate Bob Bobb when he served as Emergency Financial Manager of Detroit Public Schools and closed schools with a proposal to open 30 new charter schools.
Both the state legislature and the governor are pushing for an increase in online virtual learning academies. Records also indicate that Carol Klenow is the Program Administrator of a virtual learning academy that was rewarded a pilot by the Governor. While Klenow built her virtual learning academy, Utica Community Schools began a major curriculum overhaul and created classroom populations that are much larger than surrounding districts.
After Utica Community Schools began eliminating a number of classes from their curriculum, Klenow’s virtual academy indicated that they would offer many of the courses that had been cut from the curriculum.
Currently, Klenow’s Oakland County Learning Academy Consortium is offered in every Southeast Michigan County with the exception of Macomb County which includes Utica Community Schools. However, she stands to inherit a huge financial windfall if Governor Snyder’s Oxford Foundation legislation is implemented across Michigan. The Oxford Foundation will allow for students from any school district across Michigan to attend Klenow’s virtual learning academy. Under the proposed legislation, many of the nearly 30,000 students in Utica Community Schools can opt-out of Utica Schools and attend Klenow’s operation that caters to home-schooled children. Along with Carol Klenow, the Calvert Educational Services Company will profit greatly by developing all the curriculum of Klenow’s Oakland County Virtual Learning Academy Consortium.
During her tenure as Superintendent, Johns has dismantled many successful district programs and terminated positions, only to rehire them to third-party companies such as the online learning company Dreambox and Discovery Education which offers digital textbooks and online teacher “assessment services”. All at a high price. With the continued destruction of educational opportunities in Utica, many students will seek alternatives. Utica Community Schools, as the second largest district in Michigan, has always been a leader in education. Students have always had a high rate of success. In comparison to districts across the nation, Utica has always been financially healthy. Utica has been a wealth of potential for multiple facets of education, art and culture and many of those programs have been decimated to cater to the special interest of profiteers and politicians.
The Broad trained superintendent was hired with the goal of destroying successful educational opportunities and replacing those with opportunities that will benefit private interests. Christine Johns is one of the most highly compensated Superintendents across the state. Carol Klenow, who hired Superintendent Johns, will directly profit by running the Oakland County Virtual Learning Academy Consortium.
Digital Promise/League of Innovative Schools will profit mightily from adding Utica to its consortium of districts making a bid for Race to the Top funding. Digital Promise was started by Obama’s former speechwriter, Adam Frankel, who has ties to the Obama administration and is well connected in DC. The director of Digital Promise, Sara Schapiro, was until recently a consultant for Pearson.
So much money, so little time.
The Governor, State Legislature and other state government executives profit from Carol Klenow determining their compensation. Private companies, such as Calvert Educational Services, profit as more students with tax-payers’ dollars are enrolled in their company’s curriculum thanks to state legislators lifting the cap on cyber schools. Many individuals will profit while education methods, as offered by the Oakland County Virtual Learning Academy Consortium and Digital Promise remain untested and unproven, destroying many of the opportunities for students across Michigan.
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This article was written by a source who chooses to remain anonymous and edited by Dora Taylor.