Silicon Valley investor ripped for his privilege over ‘microschool’ ad in search for ‘best teacher in Bay Area’

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A wealthy Silicon Valley investor was lambasted for his privilege after placing an ad on social media in search of the “best teacher in the Bay Area” to educate his kids at a ‘micro-school’ as California learning centers remain shuttered due to coronavirus.

Angel financier Jason Calacanis, 49, who has put money into start-ups like Uber and Robinhood, posted that he was looking for “the best 4th to 6th grade teacher” and offered the prospective candidate a salary that would “beat whatever they are getting paid.”

In addition, Calacanis threw in a $2,000 UberEats gift card as a finder’s fee.

“Looking for the best 4-6th grade teacher in Bay Area who wants a 10-year contract, that will beat whatever they are getting paid, to teach 2-7 students in my back yard,” Calacanis wrote on Twitter.

“If you know this teacher, refer them & we hire them, I will give you a $2k UberEats gift card,” Calacanis wrote, adding the hashtag “#microschool.”

Calacanis also offered “scholarships” to some Bay Area children whose parents could not afford to hire their own educators.

“We are offering 100% scholarships for folks who can’t afford to chip in. If you live in the bay and are in the 4th or 5th grade we will take applications based on merit,” Calacanis added in a second tweet.

Calacanis’ plan is part of a trend called “learning pods” or “pandemic pods” which consist of a small number of students who gather in a shared space either by online instruction or via a tutor who provides in-person learning as the COVID-19 outbreak continues.

His proposal comes at a time when the subject of reopening schools for in-classroom instruction has become controversial amid the pandemic.

President Donald Trump and most of his administration have been recommending schools reopen for weeks. The president himself said in May he disagreed with lead immunologist Dr. Anthony Fauci’s recommendation to keep them shuttered.

But teacher’s unions and their allies in the Democrat Party have pushed back, arguing that it’s not safe to reopen schools, claiming that children can be ‘super spreaders’ who put teachers and older loved ones at risk.

That said, schools in Europe, Asia, and Australia have already reopened. Also, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued reopening guidelines using information and data gathered from European and Asian governments, while nevertheless leaving decisions to states and local school districts.

“Prior evidence from other countries is limited and should be interpreted with caution, but according to the release suggests that the majority of children with COVID-19 were infected by a family member in the household rather than a fellow student at school,” notes Contagion Live, citing the CDC’s data.

As for Calacanis, he’s not alone. Scores of other parents have already hired private tutors and formed small learning pods.

Nevertheless, his proposal sparked widespread outrage about ‘privilege.’ (** Language warning)

“I found a topic that is much more polarizing than wearing a mask—starting a school in your back yard,” Calacanis tweeted Monday following the backlash.

Nevertheless, he remains undaunted.

“We have a child in public school, we’re in the Bay Area. Schools are not going to open up. Our child does not learn well over Zoom. I’m not an expert on health, I’m not an expert on education, but I do have some expertise in starting entrepreneurial companies,” he told TMZ earlier this week.

“I decided I would put up a tweet and today’s tweet went viral. I think the applications we’re getting are from people who are not currently working so this would be a net new job for society and we’re going to give spots to families in need. In other words, families who, like myself, was the product of the public school system in Brooklyn,” he said.

Calacanis added that “of six kids, three will go for free.”

Responding to critics and supporters online, Calacanis defended small learning pods as something most parents can afford and which could be a new learning trend given that the U.S. spends hundreds of billions per year on primary education but test scores and other metrics have not improved.

Jon Dougherty

Staff Writer
[email protected]

Jon is a staff writer for BizPac Review with 30 years' worth of reporting experience, as well as an author and U.S. Army veteran. He has a BA in political science from Ashford University and an MA in national security studies/intelligence analysis from American Military University.
Jon Dougherty

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