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

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Jeb Bush's Ghastly Gall and Bad Motives

As it proved to be George W's presidential calling to finish Poppy's war in Iraq, it looks as if 2016 could be the beginning and end of Jeb's crusade to finish the education privatization plan that got put on hold in 1992 by Poppy's crushing defeat.  

Actually, the plan was on life support when Poppy got beat, as the New York Times had reported in 1991 that Daddy Bush's ED secretary, Lamar Alexander, was fashioning the "education president's" reforms to fit hand in glove with the business plans of Lamar's former partner, Chris Whittle:
He [Whittle] plans to establish a laboratory called the Edison Project in Knoxville, Tenn., where his Whittle Communications empire is based, staffed by 100 yet-unselected people culled from education, business and science who will try to sketch out a blueprint for a new breed of elementary and secondary schools.

Once the outline is complete, Whittle intends to build 200 schools around the country, to open in the fall of 1996. The cost, he imagines, could approach $3 billion, which he might raise by selling shares to large companies. Within 15 years, Whittle foresees 1,000 Whittle schools educating as many as two million students. Whittle's initiative will run parallel to the new education plan unveiled by President Bush and Education Secretary Lamar Alexander (a Whittle friend and former member of the Channel One board), which calls for grants to invent experimental public schools and for the building of 535 model schools by 1996.
When Congress got wind of this emerging scandal at the heart of the thinly-veiled Bush privatization plan, Poppy's whittling of public education got zeroed out of the budget.  

In a recent book review that used up most of the space to provide a neoliberal revision of recent education history, one that softens the hard facts on Reagan, Lamar, and Poppy, it was none other than Diane Ravitch who put the blame on the Democratically-controlled Congress back then for not setting Poppy's plan into action.  

If Congress had supported the Alexander/Whittle plan, perhaps the privatization would have already been complete, and Ravitch's painful, though lucrative, "conversion" experience would have been entirely unnecessary.  From Ravitch:
Starting with President George H.W. Bush in 1988, every president wanted to be remembered as “the education president.” His plan was called America 2000, and its purpose was to encourage the American people to strive to reach the national goals set by the governors at Charlottesville. Stymied by a Democratic Congress, Bush was unable to pass any legislation, and America 2000 soon faded into obscurity.
Those mean old congressmen.  Poor Poppy.

And so now it is now Jeb's turn to do his part to eviscerate the democratic space.  Last week the puffy, angry fool was in Washington to try out his tired talking points as he girds his lardy loins for the 2016 campaign.  The speech contains a litany of lies and obfuscations, but by far, the least likely to be believed is this one:
"Nobody in this debate has a bad motive.... Even if we don't all agree on Common Core, there are many principles we can agree on."
No, Jeb, there are no principles we can all agree on because there are some in this "debate" who are without principles, and whose motives are bad.  Really, really bad.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous12:20 PM

    We should raise standards for politicians formerly thought to be public servants.

    Abigail Shure