Kaplan: Denver Sells Out to Corporate Buddies

Jeannie Kaplan, a retired member of the Denver school board, can’t stop watching and documenting the follies of corporate reform in her city. Here she tells about the curious alliance between Denver Public Schools and a local health-care provider.

She writes:

“Get this. Over the past four years a Denver-based health care provider settled (without admitting any wrongdoing) three whistle blower lawsuits with the federal government for $961 million. The cases involved defrauding the federal Medicare program ($495 million), double billing the government ($55 million), and engaging in a kick-back scheme for patient referrals. ($411 million). This same company underwrote a Denver Public Schools “pep rally” of sorts in 2012 where, using some of the company’s cultural training techniques, the six core DPS values were determined. Not surprisingly the DPS’ core values look remarkably similar to this company’s core values . And since relocating its headquarters to Denver, the CEO of said company and his wife have contributed $33,000 to four “reform” school board candidates in 2013 (10K to Barbara O’Brien, Mike Johnson, Landri Taylor, 3K to Rosemary Rodriguez) and $61,000 to three “reform” candidates in 2011 ($25K to Happy Haynes and Anne Rowe, 11K to Jennifer Draper Carson). I try not to be overly cynical, which given the state of public education in the United States is often challenging, but when I saw the invitation below, I could no longer contain my cynicism regarding this alliance. It turns out this corporation with core values such as INTEGRITY and ACCOUNTABILITY is COLLABORATING once again with the Denver Public Schools for some FUN, this time to honor those who have a shared value and vision. The company and CEO having such access to Denver Public Schools? DaVita HealthCare Partners Inc. and its CEO Kent Thiry.”

This corporation helped DPS frame its core values. It recently gave a party to celebrate and honor those who share its values.

Kaplan asks:

“How much influence does this corporation actually have within Denver Public Schools? Why is a public institution allowing a private corporation to determine its values? Isn’t this an example of taking privatization within “education reform” too far? Just askin’”

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