Rocketship’s Rich Patron, Reed Hastings, Drops a Bombshell: “You should get rid of School Boards”

Billionaire Netflix CEO, Reed Hastings, provides the Charter School Roadmap:  Replace elected school boards with large non-profits run by rich oligarch magnates

Reed Hasting
Reed Hastings, Credit: James Duncan Davidson/O’Reilly Media, Inc.

Reed Hastings has just over a billion dollars, riches built on software companies and the entertainment giant Netflix.  Mr. Hastings also sat on the California State Board of Education from 2000 to 2004, when he stepped down amid controversy.

Hastings, who sits on Rocketship’s national strategy advisory board, has invested millions in Rocketship.  He’s also made significant political action committee contributions on Rocketship’s behalf, most recently, he poured $50,000 into a PAC to support pro-charter Santa Clara County Office of Education members.

On March 4th, 2014, Mr. Hastings delivered the keynote speech to the California Charter School Association’s annual conference.  In that keynote speech, Mr. Hastings made a shocking statement:  Democratically elected school board members are the problem with education, and they must be replaced by privately held corporations in the next 20-30 years.

Mr. Hastings’s vision of the bourgeoisie controlling education is, frankly, frightening.  We fear a system controlled by out of touch billionaires who subordinate and subvert the masses through Hastings’s “large non-profits”.

As Winston Churchill said, “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms”. Note to Mr. Hastings: Aristocracy and Oligarchy have been tried plenty of times, our predecessors got on a boat to escape them.  We don’t want our progeny to have to do the same.

And so the fundamental problem with school districts is not their fault, the ReedHastings2fundamental problem is that they don’t get to control their boards and the importance of the charter school movement is to evolve America from a system where governance is constantly changing and you can’t do long term planning to a system of large non-profits…The most important thing is that they constantly get better every year they’re getting better because they have stable governance — they don’t have an elected school board.  And that’s a real tough issue.  Now if we go to the general public and we say, “Here’s an argument why you should get rid of school boards” of course no one’s going to go for that. School boards have been an iconic part of America for 200 years.  So what we have to do is to work with school districts to grow steadily, and the work ahead is really hard because we’re at 8% of students in California, whereas in New Orleans they’re at 90%, so we have a lot of catchup to do…So what we have to do is continue to grow and grow…  It’s going to take 20-30 years to get to 90% of charter kids….And if we succeed over the next 20 or 30 years, that will be one of the fastest rates of change ever seen around the world for a large system, it’s hard. [applause]

Reed Hastings Keynote speech to the CCSA, March 4, 2014

You can watch the full 17 minute keynote speech here.


This story, first broken by, is trending in print, blogs, editorials, and throughout social media!

The Washington Post:  Netflix’s Reed Hastings has a big idea: Kill elected school boards

Esquire:  What Does The Netflix Guy Have To Say About Public Education?

San Jose Inside/San Jose Metro:  Netflix CEO Reed Hastings: Get Rid of School Boards

San Jose Mercury News: Reed Hastings is wrong: A school board member’s defense

San Jose Mercury News Internal Affairs

The Raw Story:  Netflix CEO Reed Hastings wants to ‘steadlily’ replace school boards with charter schools

Diane Ravitch: Charter School Magnate Wants to End Local School Boards: Democracy is the Problem — Diane Ravitch & many others cancel their Netflix Subscription!!

EduShyster:  Education Reform, Inc. vs. democracy—now playing on a screen near you

The Left Hook

Beyond Chron

The San Francisco Chronicle:  Keep the ‘public’ in public school boards

MLive:  School districts succeed when board members focus on academics, Fordham report says

EdWeek:  Living in Dialog — Why Do Corporate Reformers Hate Democracy?

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