The John Arnold behind pension theft and Pay for Success.


Former Enron Executive John Arnold.

As I and Bev Johns have been writing here, there is a good possibility the reauthorized ESEA will include language specifying the use of Pay for Success.

Pay for Success uses the sale of social impact bonds (SIBs) to pay for programs aimed at reducing the numbers of students receiving special education services. Wall Street investors like Goldman Sachs receive returns on their investments based on the numbers of students not receiving special education services.

Pay for Success claims a 99% reduction in the number of students needing services in Utah.

That claim is frightening. And baloney. Special needs students need services and are not receiving them.

Chicago is now using social impact bonds and Pay for Success in its funding of pre-K.

Is there a privatization idea that Rahm doesn’t love?

The Laura and John Arnold Foundation is one of the big corporate promoters of Pay for Success.

LJAF’s funding will help to establish the Urban Institute’s Pay for Success Initiative, which will include a suite of technical resources that are designed for each of the parties in a PFS project—the government, service providers, evaluators, and funders. The resources include materials to help governments determine whether a PFS project is the most effective and cost-efficient way to address a particular issue, as well as tools to help structure deals, establish benchmarks for success, and identify a method to evaluate whether a project is successful.

Using this classic privatization model, the Laura and John Arnold Foundation will be usurping the government function of determining what counts as success for students with special needs.

If you don’t remember who John Arnold is, he is the corporate foundation money behind the theft of public employee pensions.

Arnold is a former Enron Executive.

In September of 2012, David Sirota wrote a pension piece for Salon about how the Pew Charitable Trust and the Laura and John Arnold Foundation were leading a campaign against public employee pensions.

This Pew-Arnold partnership began informally in 2011 and 2012 when both organizations marshaled resources to try to set the stage for retirement benefit cuts in California, Florida, Rhode Island and Kansas. With legislative success in three of those four states, Pew and Arnold created a formal partnership in late 2012 that targeted another three states, Arizona, Kentucky and Montana.

Explained Sirota:

In the lead-up to his anti-pension partnership with Pew, Arnold’s most relevant connection to pensions and retirement security came from working at Enron – a company whose collapse destroyed its own workers’ pensions and helped to damage the financial stability of public pension funds across America. Indeed, as the New York Times reported, “The rapid decline of the Enron Corporation devastated its employees’ retirement plan.” Meanwhile, in a separate story, the newspaper noted that “across the United States, pension funds for union members, teachers, government employees and other workers have lost more than $1.5 billion because of the sharp decline in their Enron holdings.”

Going after retired public employees on a pension and special needs students.

John Arnold. All American.

2 Replies to “The John Arnold behind pension theft and Pay for Success.”

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