Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Reformster Jason Botel Added To USED

Jason Botel comes with the full reformy pedigree. He graduated from U of Penn in 1997 with a degree in English and went straight to work as a Teach for America recruit in Baltimore. He spent three whole years in the classroom, then went on to launch a Baltimore franchise of the KIPP school brand. He served as principal (on LinkedIN he calls it a "public school principal" job) while also serving as the KIPP Baltimore executive director.

In that capacity he went head-to-head with the teachers union, arguing that they shouldn't actually be paid for extra days and hours spent teaching. Presumably if you went to work for KIPP you just accepted that you would do more work for less pay than your professional peers in public schools.

From KIPP Botel moved on to become executive director of MarylandCAN, one of the network of fifty(ish) CANs that serve as lobbyists and financiers for the reformster movement, bolstered by all the big names like Gates and Walton. His job there was to be a soldier in the ongoing fight of charteristas trying desperately to get Maryland to unloose its restrictions and rules for charters (because, as we've all heard, the deal with charters is that they are all about accountability).

Botel has kept a relatively low profile on the large stage (at least according to Dr. Google). I'm sure more info is coming and we will learn more about him the days ahead (or the comments below), but as Betsy DeVos stumbles toward the Department of Education Secretary's office, the rest of the department is slowly filling up with tried-and-true reformster types like Hannah Skandera, whose checkered past includes Jeb Bush's Chiefs for Change, and Botel himself.

In fact, it's becoming increasingly clear that Trumps USED will be jam packed with conventional reformsters (led by the most extreme version of their crowd). It's also clear that we really need to retire the "reform" moniker, because the fans of corporate privatization and dismantling public education are now the status quo, the establishment, the swamp. This is a USED that either Jeb or Hillary would have been comfortable with. Stay tuned for more additions to the department roster.

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