Barack Obama has far exceeded George Bush in corporatization of education in the United States. — Glen Ford
Master dialectician Glen Ford's speech "Corporate Assault on Public Education" draws out all of the historical and material conditions that have created the current crop of African Americans who serve the most reactionary sectors of the corporate education cabal. His peerless voice matched with his uncanny ability to narrate compelling facts like Cory Booker's deep ties to the arch-reactionary The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation make for a powerful and informative speech. This is required viewing for every social justice advocate engaged in the desperate struggle to keep the remaining public commons out of the clutches of corporate coffers.
Professor Ravitch posted the following commentary on her blog today regarding the video that is extremely apropos:
In the space of less than 20 years, the public school privatization movement has emerged from the narrow, right wing fringes to dominate both major political parties. From vouchers to school choice to charter schools, the issue has divided even Black Americans, who were once public education's most fervent supporters. Glen Ford explains how this came about by wealthy individuals buying black politicians and promoting their careers, particularly Corey Booker.
Glen Ford is a veteran of more than 40 years in broadcast, print and Internet journalism. A former Washington Bureau Chief and White House, Capitol Hill, and State Department correspondent, he is currently Executive Editor of Black Agenda Report (BlackAgendaReport.com), a weekly magazine of news, commentary and analysis from the Black Left. Along with co-host Nellie Hester Bailey, Ford hosts and produces the weekly, one-hour Black Agenda Radio program on the Progressive Radio Network.
Sponsored by LifeLines and Peace and Justice Task Force of All Souls Church. Event May 9, 2012 Camera, sound Joe Friendly
Several people sent me a video of Glen Ford of the Black Agenda Report skewering Corey Booker, the mayor of Newark, and Howard Fuller of Black Alliance for Educational Options as sell-outs for a rightwing agenda. See it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JdPACwRgw04
I must say there was nothing in the video that surprised me. Back in the late 1990s, when I was involved in three different conservative organizations, there was a concerted effort to find and promote black advocates for choice. The leaders on the right wanted to promote charters as a boon to minorities and the poor. The pitch was, "We are saving poor kids from failing schools." After all, they couldn't very well go to state capitols and say, "Please pass charter legislation so that we can get government off our backs." Or, "please pass charter legislation because we can't get vouchers."
So the strategists on the right devised a clever campaign that was irresistible to liberals and conservatives alike: Create privately-managed schools to save poor black and Hispanic kids. Republicans would like the privatization aspect and liberals would fall for the "save poor minorities" part.
Glen Ford, Bruce Dixon, and all the other contributors to Black Agenda Report have consistently been the most principled and acerbic critics of the corporate education reform agenda. Please donate to their site to keep it going, and share their site far and wide.