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D.L. Paulson is a reader who has commented before on the entrepreneurs who are investing in privatization and disruption in public education. Here he comments again on GSV (Global Silicon Valley), a leading edge investment company in the education sector.
GSV is a syndicate of financial/investment companies. GSV Advisors is where some of the trouble lies, at least in terms of conflict of interest and self-dealing. The management team invests personally in charter schools which in turn buy the products of its other portfolio companies. GSV (Advisors or Capital, it’s not altogether clear) also supports edsurge.com, which serves as a faux-journalistic voice for this “reform” movement. And all this goes on while GSV Advisors dispenses its advice to its “sister company”, GSV Capital, which makes the big investments, including the bad ones in Coursera and Chegg. (The jury is still out on U2 and Declara.)
GSV Advisors operates in a way that probably makes its management team rich—and possibly at the expense of GSV Capital, because of the personal investments mentioned earlier. Why GSV Capital stockholders put up with this situation is baffling, because this publicly-traded company has never performed very well. It has made up for its bad decisions in the education market by smarter decisions with companies like Twitter and Dropbox. Apparently GSV’s very smart management team can’t quite grasp why its expertise in one area, growing high tech companies, doesn’t carry over to student learning. Nevertheless, its poor decisions in education substantially worsen the condition of our schools, because of all the propagandizing, “disruptive technologies”, and siphoning of taxpayer money.
You should look at this page which shows the management team for GSV Capital:
Notice anything? It’s hard to miss: no women, no color, not a hint of educational experience. Yet this small group, *unelected* and cloistered in a corporate boardroom, is making hugely important decisions about the education of our youth. Americans need to be aware of what’s happening here. We *all* need to rise up and reclaim our schools before it’s too late. And we need to understand this goes way beyond the false notions of “choice” and “student performance”. It’s not the government that’s doing something wrong here; it’s the corporations that are meddling where they don’t belong. Please, let’s not allow a 19th century-type oligopoly to destroy public education in America. It would be worse than railroads and oil; it would mean a diminished future for our children, our communities, our nation.