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Advice from a Billionaire: Forget Charity, Do Good While Making a Profit

October 24, 2015

Privatizing public schools is a bad idea. Education is about more than private profit and greed.

Diane Ravitch's blog

This is a very interesting interview with Bobby Turner, who is the partner of Andre Agassi in opening new charter schools for profit across the country. He seems to think that destroying public education is a way to perform good works.

Charity is laudable, Bobby Turner says, but if you really want to raise enough money to improve a thorny social problem you have to introduce the profit motive.

An associate of 1980s junk bond king Michael Milken who made a fortune in real estate, Turner is now turning that personal philosophy into action.

He set up a company last year called Turner Impact Capital that seeks investors to pay for blue-collar housing, promising returns more typical of ­conventional moneymaking businesses.

And already some big names are risking capital to invest with Turner, a deeply connected Los Angeles financier who already has a similar fund with former tennis star…

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  1. These people were typically known as slum landlords. – Not a laudable way of dealing with the housing crisis.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The best schools in this country (UK) are the ‘public schools’, which are private schools, outside the state/public system. They outperform the state schools, they provide a rounded education that produces thoughtful, caring, articulate young people with the abilities and confidence to face the problems of the 21st century. I don’t know what ‘profit’ they make for the foundations and charities that ‘own’ them, but they provide an education that the state system can only aspire too, and many of us think that we should raise the level of state education to the quality they display. How you get to this situation I don’t know as these schools are often hundreds of years old, but they do provide a model for us to study and think about. Don’t be frightened of ‘private schools’, learn the secrets others have found and apply them for the benefit of our future generations. Have faith in human nature, cooperation and the goodwill of others – the secret of our species’ success.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I work at a Legal Aid-type nonprofit law firm, and about 30% of our bankruptcy clients have at elast some debts connected to fly-by-night private schools – either higher education or specialty training (culinary schools seem particularly bad).

    The Attorney general gets involved in a lot of these, and we can often get our clients’ debts dismissed wihtout bankruptcy.

    I used to think this was just a phenomenom of trade schools and colleges, but some recent stories about private grade schools here in Texas makes me believe it’s system-wide.

    So money gets drained out of the public school system until they move towards being babysitting services for the poor, and everybody else gets to take their chances against the pirates.


    Liked by 1 person

  4. Disgusting. Reminds me of the fact that our prison systems siphon off taxpayers’ money to give to the privatization of the prisons. Again, greed, and companies getting rich from public money. Greed is a growing monster, and the more its fed, the bigger it gets. I’ll add my “argh!”

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Both are important plus a third: 1) There are some things that only the public sphere can do, 2) profit motive can work in some areas or 3) create self-sustaining businesses that serve the social good, but which aren’t profit-oriented.

    Liked by 2 people

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