"The whole people must take upon themselves the education of the whole people and be willing to bear the expenses of it. There should not be a district of one mile square, without a school in it, not founded by a charitable individual, but maintained at the public expense of the people themselves." -- John Adams

"No money shall be drawn from the treasury, for the benefit of any religious or theological institution." -- Indiana Constitution Article 1, Section 6.

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilisation, it expects what never was and never will be...nor can they be safe with them without information. Where the press is free and every man able to read, all is safe." – Thomas Jefferson

Monday, June 18, 2012

Democratic Mayors Join their Republican Colleagues in Selling Out Public Education

The Democrats have decided that they don't care about teachers' votes.

That's right. Teachers and their unions are so vilified, so hated, receive such bad press and are so undervalued by the public that even the Democrats don't care if they lose our votes.

Those of you who have been following politics in the US for the last 20 years might have seen this coming, and the Obama administration has proven it with Race to the Top.

Does anyone still think that the Democrats will see the damage being done to public education and help us? Does anyone still think that NEA's and AFT's endorsement of Obama will mean that the Democrats will fall in line and suddenly become "friends of public education?" Well, think again.

On Saturday the US Conference of mayors endorsed the use of the parent trigger for "failing" public schools. They endorsed it...not just by a majority...but unanimously! That's right...ALL the mayors at the conference...Republicans and Democrats alike. It seems that even in an election year...and even when the political atmosphere in the country is as polarized as it is, the one issue that Democrats and Republicans can agree on is the selling of America's public school system to the highest bidder.
Mayors back parents seizing control of schools

Hundreds of mayors from across the United States this weekend called for new laws letting parents seize control of low-performing public schools and fire the teachers, oust the administrators or turn the schools over to private management.

The U.S. Conference of Mayors, meeting in Orlando, Florida, on Saturday unanimously endorsed "parent trigger" laws aimed at bypassing elected school boards and giving parents at the worst public schools the opportunity to band together and force immediate change.

...But in a sign of the unions' diminishing clout, their traditional political allies, the Democrats, abandoned them in droves during the Orlando vote. [emphasis mine]
There are reasons that the teachers unions reject the parent trigger as a way to "save" failing schools.

It takes all public control of public institutions away from the public. What happens in two years, when the CMO running the new school misuses funds? Who's going to know about it? Who is keeping watch for the public? Who guarantees stability for the students?

Who owns the school? 51% of this year's parents? The students? No. Public schools are owned by the public. Elected school boards are responsible for running the schools -- or should be. As Diane Ravitch has reasoned...
A parent trigger...enables 51 percent of parents in any school to close the school or hand it over to private management. This is inherently a terrible idea. Why should 51 percent of people using a public service have the power to privatize it? Should 51 percent of the people in Central Park on any given day have the power to transfer it to private management? Should 51 percent of those riding a public bus have the power to privatize it?
It's all about the money. Politicians know that their campaign money is coming from those who want to make a profit off public education.

It certainly isn't about the students. Look at the corporate reformer's focus. Is it for smaller class size? more money for supplies? better trained teachers? equitable funding? No. The push is to divide and conquer...pit parents and taxpayers against teachers, push for more money for privatized schools, crush the union.

Read more about the parent trigger here.

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Stop the Testing Insanity!


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