White Hat Shell Game, in their own words

It took me five tries before I passed the typing test I needed to pass for my first paying job after college. But I did it.

And so I have also, painstakingly, with an emphasis on pain, transcribed the relevant parts of yesterday’s Sound of Ideas, that focused on charter schools and included a panelist from White Hat Management, and the relevant part of today’s Sound of Ideas, which revealed that the White Hat Management panelist lied on the air the day before. I can’t make this stuff up. And believe me, I’m sorry that it’s happened because this man’s performance unfairly mucks things up for valuable education efforts like John Zitzner’s E-City charter school, which was also featured on Sound of Ideas yesterday.

From Wednesday, 3/21/07:

Dan Moulthrop (WCPN): “Can we sort of clear up – just how much profit is White Hat Management making in running 32 charter schools?”

Rod Coker (White Hat VP): “I couldn’t give you an exact figure…”

DM: “Well for the life skills center for which you’re the vice president of that program – can you give us a sense of how much money comes in and how much you make as a profit?”

RC: “No I really couldn’t. Once we get through – and that’s what I think is misunderstood too – it appears as if we’re making a huge amount of profit – once we get through the actual operating costs, the costs of the facilities and all that stuff at the end of the year, the profit really isn’t as great as everyone thinks. I think an article came out years ago about hundreds of millions of dollars or something like that … That is not accurate. When the money comes in, it’s being spent on the schools, on education, on the kids. And so operating the way that we operate as far as taking the dollars that come in and maximizing on how it’s expended and how its saved in certain areas and bargaining on behalf of a number of schools, we’re able to actually use that money to stretch it further to kind of level the playing field in some of the areas where those schools don’t benefit from the extra dollars.”

DM: “Why not structure yourselves as a nonprofit instead? Avoid all that criticism? What do you get out of being a for profit company? Are you getting private investment money, that kind of thing?”

RC: “We do have private investment money as far as if we need it, if it occurs, on behalf of the schools. But what it allows us to do is also, as a for-profit, plug our own money from profits or whatever into a school that needs additional help. Some schools may be performing better than other schools and when a school starts up, it requires more capital outlay. So rather than us pocketing profit, we can take that profit and use it to help another school develop in another community.

And now, as they say on the cable channels, The Reveal, broadcast on today’s Sound of Ideas:

“Last Word” caller message: “The gentleman from White Hat education says they don’t make a lot of money, says they’re not overprofiting but he also can’t answer any questions specific to how much he’s making profit. No one called him on that. Questions were asked, he didn’t answer ‘em. Those answers have to be made.”

Dan Moulthrop: “And indeed that was the most frustrating part of yesterday’s show. When we got off the air, White Hat Management Vice President Rod Coker told me that he does indeed actually know exactly how much profit White Hat makes, but those figures are not something the company discloses. I’m sure we all wish he’d said as much yesterday.”

Hmm. So that’s what ideas sound like to White Hat? No wonder they’re not doing so well with Ohio’s kids.

4 thoughts on “White Hat Shell Game, in their own words

  1. Thanks, Unique. From what I’m turning up, looks like White Hat is having similar troubles in Florida. Now we’ll just have to see how the auditor who received $$ from the White Hat folks acts in regard to White Hat’s obligations.

  2. I’m a language buff (okay, nitpicker) But I’ve been watching people in the news – what they say – how they prevaricate without flat out lying.He says: “So rather than us pocketing profit, we can take that profit and use it to help another school develop in another community. “Key words here: We *can*. He did *not* say, ‘we do’, ‘we have’.Didn’t your momma ever dig you this way: ‘I don’t know, can you? You *may* but I don’t know if you can or not’. ‘May’ here giving permission, ‘can’ here implying possibility. Watch ’em Jill, watch ’em close. I don’t know these guys. Maybe they do provide a legitimate service but if that were the case, they aren’t making a GOOD case.Makes ‘run it like a business’ fall flat. Run it like their business and you’ll be out of business in a big fat hurry. (Unless you manage to get no bid contracts……)

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