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

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Neolibs and Neocons in House Join Forces on Charter Schools

As the President warms up his teleprompter for this evening's big speech, the House is talking up H.R. 2218, a bill intended to hasten the corporatization of K12 schools and the further demise of public education, from pre-K through College. The numbers haven't been worked out yet, but hundreds of millions and maybe billions in public school funds will end up diverted to corporate welfare charter schools if this bill becomes law.  The Bill contains grant provisions for charter schools and charter school construction, which no doubt will fit in nicely with Obama's plan to finally fund some school construction.  Could the big announcement this evening provide cover for supporting this bill to fully energize the resegregation of American schools?

Charter schools offer a terrific example of the coalesence of both neoliberal and neconservative goals around a single issue, even though both sides are coming from different angles.  In the case of neolibs like the George Miller (one of  2 Dems co-sponsoring this school corporatization plan), they favor the No Excuses charters as a cheap way to create children who are eager to become adults trained to be complicit in their own subjugation by the corporate state.  This cheapest form of social engineering for disadvantaged children celebrates, in the end, the 40 to 50 percent of kids who work through these corporate reform schools and, thus, are cognitively and behaviorally altered in the KIPP or KIPPist methods to produce transformed, automatistic adolescents.  The ones who wash out are thrown back to the exploded public schools of last resort that have been labeled as failures by a decade of racist and classist testing, where they are allowed to mature enough to be tried in an adult court, and sentenced.  This is the neoliberal method of dealing with the "civil rights issue of our generation," as Arne has called this psychologically abusive and miseducative imposition of a segregated "self-help" protocol on steroids.

The neocons, on the other hand, have much less interest in using government to "improving" anyone's children who are not already committed to supporting their self-serving agendas.  They are focused on how government can serve them and their, otherwise, anti-government friends, and so they see the charter school as a way to offer a private school education to white children at public expense.  It accomplishes everything that private school vouchers would, otherwise, at least as long as the uninformed taxpayers continue to believe the corporate propaganda.  To demonstrate the neocon hostility to the neolib effort (by Miller) to make sure that the poor receive their segregated charter share of abuse, the Hill reports that efforts are underway by
"Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) . . . [to] . . . eliminate language in the bill that defines "high-quality charter schools" as those that demonstrate success in increasing academic achievement for economically disadvantaged students, students from major racial and ethnic groups, students with disabilities, and students with limited English proficiency."
If you look at the development of charter schools in the Old Confederacy, you see this dominant pattern private white "academies" pretending to be public schools.  Never mind that they are mostly located in the leafy suburbs and do not provide transportation or even lunch.

Notice, too, who is given special consideration for these new charter school millions to be handed out as soon as both sides can make sure their ideologies are protected.  This bill simply picks up with the extortion where Race to the Top left off, so that neocons, neolibs, and the cons of Wall Street all make out:
Favors grantees: (1) from states that have an appeals process for the denial of a charter school application when entities other than the state educational agency are allowed to be public chartering agencies; (2) from states that do not impose any limitation on the number or percentage of charter schools that may exist or the number or percentage of students that may attend charter schools; (3) from states that ensure equitable financing, as compared to traditional public schools, for charter schools and students in a prompt manner; (4) that support full-, blended-, or hybrid-online charter school models; (5) from states that use charter schools and best practices from charter schools to help improve struggling schools and local educational agencies (LEAs); (6) that partner with an organization experienced in developing management organizations to support charter school development; and (7) that effectively support and monitor charter schools.

1 comment:

  1. I think Chris Hedges might be right. From "Death of the Liberal Class" pg. 193: "All resistance must recognize that the corporate coup d'etat is complete. We must not waste our energy trying to reform or appeal to systems of power. This does not mean the end of resistance, but it does mean very different forms of resistance."