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

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

The Awkward Guilting By MA Charter Zealots

Richard Whitmire has been a mercenary scribe for the corporate education master class for a number of years.  In 2011, Whitmire wrote a book-length public relations gloss celebrating the toxic Michelle Rhee and her corporate education exploits.

In 2012, he penned a swooning paean to Gaston Caperton, the College Board CEO with a $1.3 million salary, who was exiting the presidential suite in 2012 to make way for David Coleman of Common Core infamy, who had just been promoted for his fealty to the Gates education agenda. 

In 2014, Whitmire wrote On the Rocketship. . ., a celebration of the computer-centric charter hell chain, Rocketship Charter Schools, which has one of worst academic performance records ever amassed, along with an impoverished clientele who are bug-eyed from spending half-days chained to a computer screen doing digital worksheets. It saves money.

And most recently in 2016, Whitmire published an ebook ($4.99) entitled The Founders, which is a soft-focus and soft-headed celebration of hard-fisted philanthrocapitalists like Reed Hastings and ballsy foul-mouthed profiteers like Steve Barr, who have made the "no excuses" charter industry into the dehumanizing metastasized corporate cancer that it is today, persistently eating away at the stressed body of public education.

Standing in the way of the paternalistic dream of an urban America where poor children are brainwashed to serve the corporate interests of oligarchic overlords are the stubborn pockets of resistance to corporate charter reform school takeover.  The present cap on charter expansion in Massachusetts is an example, and the upcoming vote in November has attracted more than $11 million from outsider corporate interests pushing for unlimited expansion of"no excuses" charters.  

Today the whining Whitmire has a piece in The 74, an online corporate education "news" outlet that can claim Campbell Brown, Jon Alter, and Andrew (Eduwank) Rotherham as Board members. 

In today's piece, Whitmire first tries to shame towns like Newton, MA for their strong support for keeping the charter cap in place.  

Big rich Newton trying to keep poor Roxbury from having more charters.  What's up with that, Newton?  As Whitmire asks, 
Why would Newton teachers and parents, who are unaffected by charters, vote to deny better schools for the low-income neighborhoods of Boston?
You see, in Whitmire and his patrons' self-absorbed Randian worldview, if a social policy does not take money out your own pocket or add to it, why would even bother to express an opinion?

Thank goodness that there are towns like Newton all over America that still care about the the world beyond the city limits
--towns where the social welfare of the democracy is of deep concern and where consideration for how kids are treated elsewhere is a major consideration in the way they act on social policy.

You see, Mr. Whitmire, there are people in Newton and every other city and town in MA who understand that exclusionary and abusive schools like KIPP make the weakest public schools even weaker by depriving them of public resources that are lost to the chain gang charters, which regularly mislead the public with slick advertising and high-dollar public relations campaigns.  

So even if the "no excuses" hell schools were earning the test scores they claim, which they are not, and even if they were not draining public coffers, which they are, there would be deeper reason, still, for citizens in Newton and elsewhere to recoil at lifting the charter cap.  And that reason has to do with the way children and teachers are treated and mistreated in these schools.  

When the majority of parents ask, would I send my child to one of these total compliance, grit-grinding test prep camps to be alienated and abused in hostile environments of enforced silence, they say no, or hell no.  

When they ask themselves, do children in poor neighborhoods deserve another choice besides a neglected public school or a dehumanizing charter school, they say yes, or hell yes.

And when the majority of parents ask, would I want my son or daughter to work in one of these unrelenting and unsustainable corporate school environments where teachers commonly burn out in two years with health problems or nervous breakdowns, they say no, or hell no.

And when they ask, do I want my tax dollars to fund these unregulated corporate enterprises run by clueless non-educators trained in 19th Century management strategies, they say no, or hell no.

We can only wonder how Mr. Whitmire would answer these questions if he were not paid so handsomely to guilt others for doing what moral necessity requires.

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