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

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Let's Be Sick, But

From George Schmidt, posted at ARN:
Please, let's be "sick" but also get better and better informed.

Nobody who was paying attention to Chicago was surprised that Barack Obama basically endorsed Richard M. Daley's right wing Republican agenda for corporate "school reform" via the appointment of Arne Duncan as CEO of the U.S. Department of Education.

Obama used up his buddyship with those of us in the unions after we put him into the U.S. Senate four years ago (I can introduce you to the four people who were leading the Chicago Teachers Union and Illinois Federation of Teachers then who fought that fight and "won") in typical fashion. His whole history is one of leaving behind those who helped him get to the so-called "next level."None of us here in Chicago was surprised that he put Arne in power after we helped elect him. I know many others are heartbroken, but Chicago heros and saviors will do that to you every time. This town's most powerful politicians don't get there by being progressives.

Since we've published the book on Arne Duncan several times over, however, I urge people to spend some time scanning back issues of Substance on line. Our new Website is being updated as fast as we can on our budget, and our "old" Website (www.substancenews.com) basically covered the years of Duncan (we launched its first iteration in February and March 2002). Arne's big lies began in April 2002 after some serious rehearsals from July 2001 (when he was appointed) through the Spring of 2002 (when he began closing "failing schools" to the universal chorus of praise from Chicago's corporate media whores).

Now that people have had a few (small) doses of Arnespeak (like "incent" as a verb), it's time to get ready for the full foulness of the programs. These range from the ruthless closing of "failing" schools to mass privatization via anti-union charter schools. Merit pay is another sideshow, although it will attract a lot of comment (and some mercenaries).

Ironically, this level of exposure of Arne (and Barack) and their education policies may make it easier to block them. Most of their corporate "reform"things are attacking the basis of democratic public schools (behind a screen of University of Chicago fundamentalist economic jargon and BS). From "choice" (i.e., vouchers and privatized very corrupt charter schools) to the outsourcing of curriculum work from local teachers (and school boards) to outfits like Kaplan Education Systems (and The Washington Post corporation).

Be sure to subscribe to Substance if you enjoy reading that stuff. We've decided to stay in business (print and on the Web) for another five years, at least. You might say that Arne Duncan and Barack Obama have given us the hope we can believe in -- but not the kind that their lies might want.

George N. Schmidt
Editor, Substance

www.substancenews.net

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