"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

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Coming Soon to a City Near You -- Part II*

City after city and, in the case of Louisiana, even states, are losing their public school system to privatization -- through corporate charters and vouchers. New Orleans (where Arne Duncan claimed that Katrina was the best thing that happened to education) and all of Louisiana, as well as Detroit, Philadelphia, New York, Chicago...and now...

Memphis
Memphis District to Lose $212 Million to Charter Schools by 2016

The story unfolding in Memphis around the consolidation of Memphis and Shelby County Schools gets more and more interesting. Today one of the Gates front men, Gary Shorb, published a plea in the Commercial-Appeal for all sides to come together to embrace what is essentially a resegregation merger plan written by the Gates Foundation and their political arm-twisting outfit, Stand On For Children (SFC). SFC has successfully led the anti-teacher, anti-child, and anti-parent fight for corporate education reform in Colorado, Ilinois, Massachusetts, and Tennessee. It is most interesting and the ultimate irony that the County Commission, which supports the "merger" plan, is now accusing outlying Shelby County towns of racism for planning to bail out on this corporate-sponsored apartheid plan for Memphis.
There are obvious conflicts of interest here...yet no one seems to notice or care. There is also the fact that the public school system is being removed from public control.
Theft of Public Education in Memphis
By 2016, a mere four years from now, enrollment in charter schools will increase from 4% to 19%. This will happen not because parents or students have asked to be assigned to charters but because the planners want it to happen (one guess as to who devised the plan).

This will result in a handover of $212 million of public funds to privately managed charter schools.

That is, $212 million will be removed from the budget of the public schools and transferred to charter schools whose governance is private and not subject to local, democratic control.
Cleveland

...and add Cleveland to the list, too. Cleveland is already home to America's oldest voucher plan in which millions of dollars each year are given to private schools. Research has shown that the achievement of the students in the privately run, but publicly funded schools is no better than the public schools.
Cleveland's corporate reform bill signed by Kasich

The new law overrides the union's contract and discards previous board-union agreements governing teacher pay and layoffs, does away with tenure, lengthens the school day and year without accompanying compensation, evaluates and pays teachers based largely on student test scores, and pushes the biggest move yet towards privately managed charter schools along the lines of the Philadelphia model. The new law is also an affront to parents, requiring them to attend meetings under penalty of law. It will take badly-needed funds away from neighborhood public schools and line the pockets of politically connected consultants.
This is not a case of so-called "failing" public schools being improved by corporate intervention or of privately run schools doing a better job with the influx of public funds. This is simply a giveaway of the public schools by corporate and conservative interests. It's privatization of public schools for the sake of profit. America needs it's public schools...and we need them under public control and scrutiny, not run by the same people who gave us our current economy. If schools are broken, invest in them and fix them. Don't give them away.

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Stop the Testing Insanity!


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*Coming Soon to a City Near You, Part I dealt with the publication of teacher evaluations.

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