Thursday, December 26, 2013

Chicago Educational Profiteer Spotlight: Myles Mendoza!

Move aside minor plutocrats, a big hog from Denver has moved to Chicago:  Myles Mendoza!

Unlike what the corporate tran$formers would have the public believe, we teachers are not opposed to examining data,  so we examined the data on Myles Mendoza. We found the following:
  • Myles scored big with a recent op-ed published in the Trib, which dishes out the usual corporate educational tran$formation horseshit, including references to "empowering [parents] with real choices," and "inadequate traditional schools."  
  • He runs with an elite crew, which includes educational profiteers such as John Schoenig (Notre Dame Law School grad wearing the Catholic schools cloak), Kevin Chavous (partner in swanky Washington D.C. law firm), and Jack Buck (Notre Dame grad and scion of John Buck Co., a real-estate firm founded by his dad and engaged in winning public-sector projects) 
  • His Ed Choice Illinois website is top quality, featuring cool graphics and heart-warming photos of minority kids
  • On his Twitter page, Myles identifies himself soundly as bohemian bourgeois (remember readers, Bobos are rich folks who love to identify with the common man):
    • "Chicagoan" (for the past four months)
    • "Devoted dad and husband"
    • "CPS parent" (for the past four months -- at a magnet school)
    • "Indie rock fan of yore" (We're assuming Nirvana and Pearl Jam.)
  • His look is kewl: tall, sorta dark, nice name, horn-rims
Based on this data alone, Myles seems very similar, if not more well-funded,  to many of the other educational profiteers sniffing around CPS.  However, a close reading of his op-ed reveals two very alarming claims:

1. "[Chicago] neighborhoods have become either rich or poor."
2. "Key to solving Chicago's challenges is first understanding that our broken school system is not on a par with the others -- neighborhood deterioration, rising crime and unfunded liabilities -- but rather, the chief cause of them."
  • The first alarming thing is Myles' use of the pronoun "our." Ideally, Myles should have put in a few years teaching in a regular CPS school before using this pronoun, as the CPS magnet school he pulled strings to get his kids into clearly isn't broken.  But we realize that actually teaching the children whose lives one purports to tran$form is not de rigueur for educational profiteers.
  • The second alarming thing is the implicit claim that poverty is caused by traditional CPS schools. If we remember our history correctly, poverty has existed for a lot longer than schools have.  Even Jesus Christ worried about poverty, and He didn't have any schools nearby.  Unlike Christ, however, Myles Mendoza claims to have hit on the solution to poverty.
Based on the overall data, we at WCT conclude that Myles Mendoza is indeed an educational plutocrat, a hog-with-the big-nuts.  It would be more honorable if the new plutocrats like Myles had chutzpah in old-school Bill Beavers-style.  As it is, though, you'll have to look for Myles Mendoza in the society pages of the Chicago Tribune Magazine. 


  1. I'm SO sorry Chicago!!! From a Sad Douglas County, CO teacher (this reform BS is everywhere!)

  2. His wife was a member of the Douglas County, Colorado School Board. Google that and see what you find. Reformers all. And, ruining a school district.

  3. His wife Carrie was appointed to fill a vacancy for the Douglas County, Colorado, school board, which is probably the most extreme, right wing board in the US today. Here is a link to an article about her appointment, which also gives additional details about her husband and his affiliations.

  4. Thanks for the tips on the Mendozas! It looks like they intend to make Chicago the reformiest place around!

  5. Oh yeah, this guy sounds terrible. He's clearly fresh off the plane from Denver and never lived here befor....oh wait a minute.

    (I even left in the Waiting for Superman quote at the bottom. Let's see if you leave in my comment.)

    Myles Mendoza

    Title: Senior partner

    Company: Democrats for Education Reform (DFER)

    Age: 39

    Key civic affiliations: Denver Health Foundation, Level One Society, Latinos for Education Reform

    Myles Mendoza has been a philanthropic leader in metro Denver since moving here from Chicago in 2002 to be the pediatric HIV program director at Children’s Hospital Colorado.
    He’s worked especially to improve education and children’s health, serving on the boards of groups such as the Denver Health Foundation and Colorado
    Association for School-Based Health Care. He assisted in the creation of the Level One Society, an affiliate of the foundation, “because of a heartfelt connection to providing care to the underprivileged in Denver,” according to the society. Mendoza helped develop the Latinos for Education Reform advocacy group as well.
    During his tenure as development director for the Denver Scholarship Foundation, Mendoza helped raise more than $62 million for college scholarships for Denver Public Schools graduates and attract 80 volunteers to work on projects. His current position with DFER “merges his love of politics with his love of education, both of which are deeply about community. … He has had a big impact on the Denver community,” according to his Forty Under 40 nomination.
    Away from work, Mendoza is married to an emergency-room doctor and is the father of three sons. He’s been involved with the Laboratory of Art and Ideas think tank, which now is part of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver, and supported several charter schools. Mendoza has been on the boards of the West Denver and Rocky Mountain preparatory charter schools.
    My favorite movie is “Waiting for Superman.”

    The documentary focused on inequities in the public education system was personal for Mendoza, who says he’s spent his career working on behalf of disadvantaged kids. Currently, he says, he’s working in 12 states to reform policies so the “kids come first.”

    1. Hi there -- so aside from citing Internet platitudes that confirm Mr. Mendoza as a successful educational profiteer, your point is...??

  6. Myles grew up in Palatine, IL and had a fine public education there, as I said on the follow up comment to this I wonder what happened to make him hate public schools so much.. Maybe it's not his hatred of public schools but his love of $$$?

  7. Windy City Teacher friends, this is Myles Mendoza again. Thanks again for the dialogue. I'll take it in whatever form I can. Related to the comment about Chicago becoming rich or poor, I thought you would be interested in this piece in the Sun Times about that point.

    It is certainly a discussion point and would love to carry forward this dialogue.

    Thank you,
    Myles Mendoza