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

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Meier, Mullen, and Markets

From Deb Meier:

Free Market Schooling

"This is a perilous moment. The individualist, greed-driven free-market ideology that both our major parties have pursued is at odds with what most Americans really care about....Working families and poor communities need and deserve help because the free market has failed to generate shared prosperity — its famous unseen hand has become a closed fist." Bill Moyers and Michael Winship, and I, agree. But the public seems just as suspicious—if not more so—about public institutions as the private ones. Thus the relative lack of alarm over the extraordinary shift in "ownership" of our public schools. We are witnessing more federal intervention at virtually all levels of schooling, more power in the hands of private wealth, and more "market-driven" decisions — at the same time! And there is almost no well-funded opposition, except for teacher unions who are then villainized as being anti-reform, self-interested, too protective of their bad apples.

What epitomizes the latest "true reform" is that it cuts off both teacher professional and parent/family judgment about what goes on in publicly-financed schools. Above all in urban areas, but overtime perhaps to rural and suburban communities too.

In case you missed it, Anthony Mullen's, "The Scarlet T," captures the feelings of many teachers as pink slips continue to come down the pipe amid the news of corporations paying very little, if any, in taxes while the unregulated Wall Street casino capitalists play poker with the national and world economy in their endless quest for cash, the public be damned. Politicians will always pay lip service to teachers as a way to score political points, claiming to hold the profession in high regard, on the one hand, while the other hand grips the knife slicing apart any form of professionalism.

In their epic quest to score political points and appeal to parents, these politicians and businessmen will outsource schooling to nonprofits with self-appointed boards and minimal, if any, accountability. Moyers notes, and Meier concurs, that both political parties have embraced the free-market ideology looking to eradicate any and all government, including all vestiges of one of America's greatest inventions: our public schools. It was our last Democratic President that proudly helped usher in the corporation, choice, and testing insanity, and the current administration appears unwilling to deviate from that path.

"The enemies of public education are well armed, well organized, and well funded," Jerry said at the Fighting Bob Fest (among other places). Ain't that the truth.

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