October 2, 2005
Bill Bennett: the minus-three-million-dollar man
This feels like an appropriate price to pay:
Philadelphia parents and education activists are demanding that the city school district end the $3 million contract it awarded in April to K12 Inc., in light of controversial remarks the company’s board chairman made this week about aborting black babies.
William J. Bennett, chairman of the board of the Washington-area education company and a former U.S. Education Secretary, set off protests with remarks he made during his nationally syndicated radio talk show Wednesday.
Responding to a caller, Bennett took issue with the hypothesis put forth in a recent book that one reason crime is down is that abortion is up. Bennett said: “If you wanted to reduce crime, you could - if that were your sole purpose - you could abort every black baby in this country and your crime rate would go down.”
… Though some of the Philadelphia school district’s top science teachers raised concerns about K12’s qualifications and experience, the district awarded the company the contract to supply kindergarten through third-grade science curriculum materials in April.
“I find it hard to see any explanation for why they’re here in Philadelphia educating many of the black children Mr. Bennett clearly finds it provocative to call expendable,” said Helen Gym, a mother of a district third-grader.
… Last fall, Bennett publicly touted district schools CEO Paul Vallas as a good candidate to become the next U.S. Secretary of Education. Last night, however, Vallas stepped away from the man with whom he had been cordial.
“I read his comments, and his comments are outrageous and offensive to all of us,” Vallas said of Bennett. “We do not have a relationship with Bill Bennett. Our contract is with K12, who are doing an excellent job in our schools. In my opinion, any extension of the contract could be jeopardized by his continued presence on the board.”
Time to go.
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