Ted Mitchell, Nominee for Under-Secretary of Education, Is a Privatizer

Lee Fang, a respected investigative reporter for The Nation magazine, exposes ties of Ted Mitchell to private education contractors and a for-profit university.  Mitchell is chief executive of NewSchools Venture Fund and President Barack Obama’s nominee as Under Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education.

According to Fang, “As head of the NewSchools Venture Fund, Mitchell oversees investments in education technology start-ups.  In July, Zynga, the creators of FarmVille, provided $1 million to Mitchell’s group to boost education gaming companies.  Mitchell’s  NewSchool Venture Fund also reportedly partners with Pearson, the education mega-corporation that owns a number of testing and text-book companies, along with one prominent for-profit virtual charter school, Connections Academy.

Fang also connects Mitchell to a for-profit university, at a time when many hope the Department of Education will begin better regulating these institutions:  “Mitchell serves as an adviser to Salmon River Capital, a venture capital firm that specializes in education companies… Salmon River Capital helped create one of the biggest names in for-for-profit post-secondary education, Capella University…  Capella heavily recruits veterans and has received $53.1 million from the GI Bill in the past four years.  The Minnesota Attorney General is currently investigating the company for its recruitment tactics, and for leaving veterans unable to repay federal loans.  Numerous investigations have shown that for-profit colleges have targeted veterans with deceptive recruiting tactics.”