Sunday, April 17, 2011

D.C. Teachers' Union Rally Outside the Washington Post

The D.C. teachers’ union staged a rally on Friday claiming Kaplan—the for-profit educational services division owned by the Post Co.—influences the editorial positions of the Washington Post. Teachers believe the connection between the Washington Post and Kaplan creates a conflict of interest that slanted the coverage of D.C’s education reform. The teachers’ union believes the newspaper focuses on the importance of testing while dismissing the importance of teachers because test preparation and other Kaplan services account for 62 percent of the Post Co.’s revenue. In true protest form, the rally included a stunt for the media—in this case, a giant inflatable rat.

Coverage of the rally by the Washington Post can be found here.

1 comment:

  1. There is a serious issue here of a confounding of politics, journalism, and economic self-interest here, and I wish academics would take a serious look at it. Consider this corporate website for one of Kaplan's divisions, KVE.

    This actual Kaplan website shows the Washington Post (Kaplans parent company, or vice versa) has agressively expanded its for-profit college business model into the K12 public education market, and is operating it inside public school districts, without public disclosure. The paper supports school closures and other destructive education policies because they actively and directly feed its profits.

    The corporate webpage contains troubling references to practices similar to the ones that Kaplan Higher Education has been accused of using, to bilk taxpayers of billions:

    "Districts can also open an intact virtual school that has the look and feel of the district and not that of Kaplan."

    "Previously withdrawn students coming back to the district... Homeschooled students coming back to the district"

    "...thus keeping them in-district and capturing per-pupil funding. Plus, a dedicated Account Manager will work as a district partner to deliver results."

    In light of the success of for-profit virtual college industry in sucking billions out of the Pell Grant, Student Loan, and GI Bill programs, this question demands attention.