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The Atlantic has an interesting feature about teacher protests around the world. Most are about low pay, but others are about working conditions, lack of respect, and–in the United States, at least–the standardization of curriculum and testing that is eliminating teacher autonomy and professionalism.
What is interesting in addition to the substance of the piece is the fact that it appears on the website of The Atlantic. For many years, The Atlantic was firmly tied to the corporate reformers and could be counted on to give them plenty of space for their views. Recently, however, The Atlantic has published numerous articles that conflict with the privatizers’ well-honed narrative of failed schools that can be “rescued” by taking away teachers’ job protections or by adopting the Common Core or some other reformy nostrum.
I thought maybe the ownership had changed. It has not. It is still owned by David G. Bradley, who also owns the National Journal.
The Wikipedia page for The Atlantic contains this tidbit:
The Atlantic Media Company receives substantial financial support from the Gates Foundation through the National Journal ($240,000+) to provide coverage of education-related issues that are of interest to the Gates Foundation and its frequent partner in education policy initiatives, the Lumina Foundation. Critics have suggested that this funding may lead to biased coverage and have noted the Lumina Foundation’s connections to the private student loan company Sallie Mae. Gates-funding of the National Journal is not always disclosed in articles or editorials about the Gates Foundation or Bill Gates, or in coverage of education white papers by other Lumina or Gates Foundation grantees, such as the New America Foundation.
According to the New York Times in 2010, David Bradley’s wife, Katherine Bradley, paid $100,000 for a public relations firm to help Michelle Rhee polish her image.
During contract talks earlier this year, Ms. Rhee turned to Anita Dunn, the former communications director for President Obama, to help with her image.
A gift of $100,000 toward her fee was paid by an education philanthropist, Katherine Bradley, the wife of the publisher David Bradley of The Atlantic Monthly and National Journal.
Now it is Ms. Dunn’s firm, SKD Knickerbocker, that is coordinating Ms. Rhee’s rollout of her new group. Whatever advice it may have given her to bring all sides together when she was a public official, she clearly feels unrestricted by that now.
Google Katherine B. Bradley and Michelle Rhee to see the many ties between them.
Yet The Atlantic is now publishing articles sympathetic to teachers. Very puzzling. Did someone at The Atlantic have a change of heart? Or mind? Or get informed? Would love to know more about how they switched their views, as expressed in what they choose to publish.