Dear Commons Community,
The New York Times is reporting that Joel Klein, the former chancellor of New York City schools and the current chief executive of Amplify, News Corporation’s fledgling education division, will announce the Amplify Tablet, its own 10-inch Android tablet for K-12 schoolchildren. Complete with the Amplify curriculum, it will be a turnkey system designed to blend technology with instruction. This is not a bad idea but the problem is that Klein brings a lot of baggage to his new sales position.
Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, commented:
“Now that he is in the private sector, some of Mr. Klein’s advocacy work presents a conflict, said Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers. Last year Mr. Klein wrote, with Condoleezza Rice, a Council on Foreign Relations report that called the state of United States schools a “grave national security threat.” He contributed $25,000 to a coalition that supported specific candidates for the Los Angeles Board of Education elections held on Tuesday. (A News Corporation subsidiary also contributed to candidates.) “You can’t at the same time go out and present yourself as a civic citizen talking about how public schools right now are horrible and then say, ‘Oh, I have a product that is going to make it better,’ ” Ms. Weingarten said.”
Ms. Weingarten is on target and every educator should reject any product that emanates from Mr. Klein and the News Corporation. Mr. Klein has evolved in the epitome of a player in the education-industrial complex. Create and sensationalize in the media a problem with public schooling and then make a product to create profits for your company . In a word, disgraceful!