Lee Fang, brilliant investigative journalist for The Nation, has looked closely at Jeff Bezos’ interest in education, and the news is bad.
(Fang wrote this classic article about influence-peddling and corruption in the reform movement.)
Bezos is throughly smitten with the idea that the way to improve education is to privatize public schools and to eliminate teachers’ unions.
—The Bezos Foundation has donated to Education Reform Now, a nonprofit organization that funds attack advertisements against teachers’ unions and other advocacy efforts to promote test-based evaluations of teachers. Education Reform Now also sponsors Democrats for Education Reform.
—The Bezos Foundation provided over $100,000 worth of Amazon stock to the League of Education Voters Foundation to help pass the education reform in Washington State. Last year, the group helped pass I-1240, a ballot measure that created a charter school system in Washington State. In many states, charter schools open the door for privatization by inviting for-profit charter management companies to take over public schools that are ostensibly run by non-profits.
Other education philanthropy supported by the Bezos Foundation include KIPP, Teach for America, and many individual charter schools, including privately funded math and science programs across the country.
On the other hand, Fang writes, the Washington Post had become dependent on the predatory for-profit Kaplan University, and Bezos has enough capital to build a firewall between the Washington Post and that industry.