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

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Corporate Charters Pillage Public Property: Can the Media Be Bothered to Report It?

From Danny Weil's new offering at Dissident Voice:

The Los Angeles Board of Education, little more than a managerial club belonging to LA Mayor Villaraigosa and his privatized charter crew, including Green Dot Schools, other educational maintenance organizations (EMO’s) and deep pocket entrepreneurs approved a resolution in August of 2009 to turn over 12 long-struggling campuses and 18 new ones to bidders from inside or outside the district, including some charter operators.1 The effort is all part and parcel of the capitalist “reform of education” that is sweeping the nation below the radar screen of any national news. It includes using the government, which the neo-liberals say they abhor, to asset strip the public realm; in this case to orchestrate the legal seizure of actual public buildings that house public schools paid for over the decades by public taxpayers.

The insurgency is brutish and the mugging unconscionable as the hostile takeover of public schools is happening precisely at the same time that many schools are being closed and shuttered under the insidious No Child Left Behind provisions that allow for such pernicious disinvestment. Of course the efforts of the neo-liberals are hastily moving along with the disastrous loss of public funds for public schools and the horrific budgetary crisis slamming the state like a virtual Tsunami. Feasting on disaster is the model for these corporate market fundamentalists who see huge profits in the for-profit or non-profit ownership and management of public schools by educational maintenance organizations who want the actual building titles for the public schools and thus the imminently the facilities themselves. This is asset stripping done in broad daylight, a public pillaging that goes unreported by national media on both the ‘left’ and the ‘right.’

Coupled with this is public pillage is the huge amount of authority and autocratic decision-making that the Race to the Top, the neo-liberal brainchild of Arne Duncan and his corporate advisors, will have for the privatization of education. In order for states to qualify for any federal monies under Race to the Top, itself an insidious yet logical rhetorical label for the super-competitive ethos underlying capitalism and its ideological culture, they must meet four assurances that will open up a huge private market in teacher and student surveillance, ala longitudinal test score tracking, supplemental educational materials, merit pay for teachers tied to NCLB accountability and a chokehold on learning and assessment. Reconfigurating education in accordance with Race for the Top will also, of course, be a godsend to the makers of canned curriculum (“best practices”) that will need to be produced in alignment with the new state and federal standards to assure students pass the regimented tests which scores will be then used to rate the teachers and the new primary providers, the charter school EMO’s. Then there is the test prep industry that will dine like vultures off the new assessment obligations imposed on the states by Race to the Top.

UTLA files suit

The good news is that the union representing Los Angeles Unified Teachers (UTLA) filed a lawsuit December 21, 2009 to block the potential hand-over of new campuses to charter school EMO’s and their minions.. . . .
Read the rest here.

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