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

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Karl Dean Sits on Left Aisle of Corporate Party Jet

Former Nashville mayor, Karl Dean, is running to be TN's next governor.  He is running as a Democrat, but he is no less a Wall Street corporatist than Michael Bloomberg, Rahm Emanuel, or the Clintons.  As mayor, Dean's most visible accomplishments, aside from killing a mass transit effort that was opposed by the auto lobby and Gov. "Pilot Oil" Bill Haslam, were 1) providing incentives and other tax breaks for big business to locate or expand in Nashville and, 2) leading a muscular advocacy for school privatization via corporate charter school expansion.

Take Hospital Corporation of America, for instance.  Even though HCA was already headquartered in Nashville, Dean was able to wrangle a deal that gives HCA a $3 million annual tax abatement for 20 years, plus moving expenses to relocate into a new headquarters in West Nashville.  The year that Dean provided his corporate welfare deal to HCA, the company brought in over $30 billion and had a net profit of $2.45 billion.

And then there is the Omni Hotel deal, which provided Omni $103 million in tax breaks over 20 years, plus another $25 million to acquire the building site near downtown.  And, of course, there are other sweet deals of less impressive proportions.

Dean's generosity with public funds for corporate welfare projects was just as striking when it came the white elites' final solution for schooling the children of the disenfranchised.  In 2011, as public school buildings were crumbling and teachers were running around with garbage cans to catch the rain from leaky roofs, Dean ponied up 10 percent of Nashville's four-year school building budget, $10 million, for one KIPP, Inc. school in Nashville. 

When Dean left his mayoral post, he joined the board of a national charter school privatization venture bent on spreading the paternalistic gospel of "no excuses" charter schools as replacements for urban public schools. He still serves in that post.

In spite of the fact that the appetite for charters in Tennessee has waned as Tennessee taxpayers now realize that the only people getting fat from this deal are the charter operators and corporate foundations, Dean has doubled down on his charter zealotry:
Dean is unapologetic about his pro-charter position, which he said is in line with other big city mayors and with President Barack Obama.

“The important message for me is that charter schools are public schools,” he said. “It’s a different way of management, it’s a way that gives parents more choices and has produced very positive results in Nashville.”

“I don’t regret my support for charter schools and I think it’s consistent with being a good Democrat, and in line with some very, very good Democrats,” he said.
Will a real Democrat emerge in the gubernatorial race to support public schools?  Only time will tell. 

One thing is for sure: there is no appetite among progressives for the Republican Lite candidates that the DNC has supported in the past.  On education issues, the difference between Dean and the Republicans is that the Republicans love vouchers with their charters for school privatization, whereas Dean is strictly a charter man.

1 comment:

  1. Yes this guy is bad news. Wish I could agree that the taste for Charters is waning in Tennessee. There might be a lot more public push back the the bought and paid for elected in Nashville still have a hunger for privatization. It brings some nice campaign contributions.

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