Wall Street, Charter Schools and Chess

Chess at HOPE

New York State High School Chess Champion Joshua Colas and FIDE Master Georgios Alexopoulos. Photo: geneshaw.com

According to studies:

  • Chess boosts brain power in kids.
  • Chess improves IQ.
  • Chess enhances arithmetical skills.
  • Chess hones verbal skills.
  • Chess sharpens critical thinking skills.
  • Chess boosts emotional intelligence and psycho-social skills.

Bill Gates, Albert Einstein, William Shakespeare, Napoleon Bonaparte, Winston Churchill, Will Smith, Bono, and Madonna were or are avid chess players. Tennis legend and six-time Grand Slam singles champion Boris Becker said:

“I used to prepare for my tennis matches by playing chess, and it would get my mind stimulated and focused before going on court. It was essentially a mental warm-up.”

In an interview with The Harvard Business Review, former World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov said:

There is nothing cute or charming about chess; it is a violent sport, and when you confront your opponent you set out to crush his ego. The world chess masters with whom I have competed over the years nearly all share my belief that chess is a battleground on which the enemy has to be vanquished. This is what it means to be a chess player, and I cannot imagine that it is very different from what it takes to be a top-ranked CEO.

In approximately 30 nations across the globe, including Brazil, China, Venezuela, Italy, Israel, Russia and Greece, etc., chess is incorporated into the country’s scholastic curriculum. Just as athletics are a part of the required agenda at schools in the United States, Chess has been that way in the European Nations abroad. On March 13th, 2012 the European Parliament endorsed the ‘Chess in European schools’ program.

A documentary called BROOKLYN CASTLE tells the stories of five members of the chess team at Intermediate School 318, a below-the-poverty-line inner city junior high school that has won more national championships than any other in the country and the first middle school team to win the United States Chess Federation’s national high school championship.

Mayor Bloomberg cut the budget, and there is no money for after school programs like the chess team at I.S. 318. Unless the kids can raise $20,000, the famous chess team is dead. Yet, Eva Moskowitz Founder and CEO of the Success Academy held a fundraiser for her charter school chain and raised $7 million in one night.

Democrats for Education Reform

L to R: David Einhorn, another hedge-funder on DFER’s advisory board, is president of Greenlight Capital, LLC; Board member Whitney Tilson is chief of T2 Partners and Tilson Funds and vice chair of New York’s KIPP Academy Charter Schools; Hedge-fund manager John Petry, a DFER board member, co-founded the Harlem Success Academy Charter School with Eva Moskowitz; DFER advisory board member Joel Greenblatt is a protégé of fallen junk-bond icon Michael Milken; Joe Williams heads Democrats for Education Reform and its sister organization, Education Reform Now.

The Board of Directors for the Success Academy includes many hedge fund-managers such as Joel Greenblatt, John Petry, Jay Bryant, Steven M. Galbraith, Kevin Hall, W. Yen Liow, Daniel S. Loeb, Richard S. Pzena, and John H. Scully. Wall Street is looking to privatize America’s public schools. Using a number of policy schemes including school vouchers and for-profit charter schools, the education privatization movement seeks to take over America’s largely public K-12 education system and put it in the hands of some of the very same people who caused the financial crash on Wall Street.

One group that has been successful in pushing this wave of privatization is Democrats For Education Reform (DFER), a group of largely finance industry Democrats who advocate for expansion of charter schools and high-stakes testing, among other policies. Daily News Columnists and Democracy Now! co-host reported on the relationship between Wall Street and charter schools:

I’ve been trying now for a couple of years is to try to figure out why is it that so many hedge fund managers, wealthy Americans and big banks, Wall Street banks, have — executives of Wall Street banks, have all lined up supporting and getting involved in the development of charter schools. And I think I may have come across one of the reasons: there’s a lot of money to be made in charter schools. And I’m not talking just about the for-profit management companies that run a lot of these charter schools.

It turns out that at the tail end of the Clinton administration in 2000, Congress passed a new kind of tax credit called a New Markets Tax Credit. And what this allows is it gives an enormous federal tax credit to banks and equity funds that invest in community projects in underserved communities, and it’s been used heavily now for the last several years for charter schools.

Beginning July 24th, Free Chess Lessons Every Wednesday 3:00-4:30pm

https://startupwestchester.wordpress.com/2013/07/11/free-chess-lessons/

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