"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Arne Duncan's Preppy Brand of Corporate Socialism

"Corporate socialism" -- the privatization of profit and the socialization of risks and misconduct -- is displacing capitalist canons. . . . Civic and political movements must call for a decent separation of corporation and state. --Ralph Nader

We're trying to blur the lines between the public and the private. --Arne Duncan

In a modern-day version of A Modest Proposal that, unfortunately, must be read as allegory rather than satire, the scions of the Business Roundtable have a plan to replace urban public schools with test prep chain gangs chartered by non-profit corporations. These non-profit corporations are to be funded by tax dollars and by corporate donations that garner dollar for dollar tax credits for the corporate givers. The management of these schools may then be farmed out to Edison, Green Dot, or another of the for-profit macschool outfits. Everyone gets fat in the process except, of course, the taxpayers and the children, who become units churned out by the testing machine. No school boards to provide oversight, accountability, or standards of conduct, and none of those professionally-prepared teachers who have diversionary and expensive interests in academic freedom, collective bargaining, or retirement plans. Meanwhile, the gaps remain gaping.

Arne Duncan has been the poster boy for this movement in Chicago. Below is a piece that is posted at Common Dreams and elsewhere:
Published on Monday, January 19, 2009 by TomDispatch.com


  1. Once again, Jim, your first paragraph is on the mark.

  2. Anonymous12:35 AM

    I'm not involved in the education system really, so as an interested outside observer, I am not quite sure what to make of this. What do you think that Duncan will do as Secretary of Education? What is possible for him to do from a federal post? I would be curious to see your predictions.

  3. Anonymous12:07 PM

    Thanks for a great article.

  4. Anonymous6:13 AM

    What will happen to the veteran teachers that no one wants to hire?

  5. Anonymous7:16 PM

    Here's the real story on Arne Duncan:

    and its related story: