Following up on a Political Scrapbook report from July, the new issue of Private Eye features an interesting angle on Michael Gove’s relationship with high level directors in Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation.
Last year, News Corp purchased Wireless Generation, a company which makes teaching assistance software, and hired former New York schools Chancellor Joel Klein to head it up. In a June interview with the Times, Murdoch seemed almost giddy at the prospects made available by his new acquisition:
“You can get by with half as many teachers. The teachers can be a lot better and a lot better paid.” As well as cutting back on teacher numbers, there would be a big reduction in textbook budgets. Mr Murdoch joked that he hoped to put textbook publishers out of business.
As we reported in last month, Wireless Generation was awarded multi-million dollar no-bid contracts to provide these very systems to the New York school system. Interestingly, almost as soon as Gove had taken over the Department for Education, the government announced the abolition of BECTA – the quango which oversaw IT procurement in schools.
Klein, now in charge of NewsCorp’s post hacking clean up operation, has visited Gove’s department on two occasions, and describes the education secretary as a “friend”. Prior to the release of Gove’s media meeting lists, he was referred to on the DfE website simply as “former Chancellor of the New York City Department of Education”, without reference to his current position at NewsCorp.