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

Friday, October 01, 2010

The New Segregated Buses Are Lining Up for Arne Duncan's Rosa Parks Moment

Two weeks ago in DC, hedge funders, vulture venture philanthropists, lobbyists, their hosts (our politicians), a sprinkling of black folks who could pass the brown paper bag test, and a host of corporate underlings glassy-eyed with positivity, all came together in what Arne Duncan described as a Rosa Parks moment, this one sponsored by America's richest billionaires and aimed at marketing a new kind of bus for those contained and segregated in urban America. Yesterday Arne Duncan followed up on that head-spinning analogy with this further elaboration, responding to questions by Michele Martin of PBS:
. . . ."It wasn't just African Americans who looked to Rosa Parks," Duncan said. "White folks looked at her and said, 'Something's wrong with our country.' When you look at our country and you look at this movie, you realize it's not just your kids."

Martin prodded Duncan about what Washington, DC's recent rejection of Mayor Adrian Fenty means for Fenty's education reform efforts. Is it a setback, she asked?

"Absolutely not," Duncan said. "My read is very simple. Again, I'm not the politician here. If you look at the polls, the vast majority of people in DC thought the schools got better. And guess what? They did get better."
So what happened? Martin asked.

Duncan shrugged. "We lost the race."
Addressing the growing gender gap in education and the high drop-out rate among boys, Duncan had a surprising suggestion: "I'm a fan of single-sex schools," he said. "Based on, I think there are young men who need a really structured and disciplined environment and can do really well in that. . . .
If Duncan doesn't know that the corporate education racket lost the race because parents, children, and teachers don't want to ride on his bus, then he is dumber than he pretends to be.  Reality, however, has not yet altered the new national blitzkrieg that, with Arne's support, wants to put many new chartered buses on every corner of urban America.  These new publicly-funded buses are run by corporations and they are strictly segregated so that minorities do not have to disturb any white person to sit on the front seat.  And now some of them, where the need for "a structured and disciplined environment" is the greatest based on determinations by white privileged elites like Arne, will be segregated by gender as well as by race.  Their destination?  Don't worry, poor black boys--just get on the bus and keep your mouth shut.  Work hard, be nice.

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