Last year, just as Republicans swept state legislatures across the country and became poised to implement an education privatization agenda, New York City school chancellor Joel Klein announced he was moving to Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation. As the New York Times reported, his move signaled News Corp.’s aggressive bid to enter the for-profit education business. The company even purchased a digital learning company called Wireless Generation to buttress its K-12 product line.
This worried some education advocates, who are concerned that the conservative politics of News Corp. will bleed into its education services. For instance, News Corp.’s Fox News subsidiary is well known for its revisionist history, smears campaigns against scientists, and ignorance of basic math.
So, at former Florida governor Jeb Bush’s education privatization conference, held today and yesterday in the Palace Hotel in San Francisco, ThinkProgress approached Klein to ask if there are any internal firewalls between the executives at Fox News and News Corp’s education business.
TP: With News Corp’s new education business, is there any internal firewall between the executives at Fox News and executives working in the education business that are serving children? Is there any internal firewall?
KLEIN: Uh, I’ve got a meeting to go to.
TP: I mean you’ve avoided all the questions today.
KLEIN: I’ve got a meeting. […]
TP: Mr. Klein, is there any internal firewall between the executives at Fox News and the education side of News Corp? Sir, is there any reason you’re avoiding this question?
At the time ThinkProgress caught up with Klein, he was casually chatting with attendees at the event.
Before ThinkProgress spoke to Klein, Klein had participated in a panel discussion about local school boards. A reporter asked Klein a question about News Corp’s expected profit margins from its forays into the education industry, but was rebuffed. The panel informed the reporter and others in the room that Klein would take questions after the event.