Monday, July 22, 2013

Education Investors Meet a Popular Revolt



After the housing market collapsed, wealthy investors began honing in on the education sector, especially public K-12 education, as the next great opportunity for private investment. The main way to do this is was to define the entire sector as a "failure" divide it's stakeholders ( parents, teachers and students) against one another, and convince the public that teachers were both easily replaceable by technology and spoiled and over paid. To a remarkable degree, these investors succeeded in getting top leaders of the Democratic Party, including the Clintons, and an up and coming leader named Barack Obama, to buy into this vision, thereby undermining the normal political lines of defense against public services and public employees. The result has been an orgy of privatization and profiteering endorsed by both major parties. But then something incredible happened. While this "Great Barbecue" was taking place, once successful public schools were so deformed by excessive testing, and data driven teacher evaluation regimens, that parents from all sides of the political spectrum started rebellions and wondering why their children's school experience was becoming a nightmare. And so opposition to profiteering and privatization arose, not from unions and the Democratic Party, but from Republican, libertarian, moderate, liberal and leftist parents and teachers who in the past never cooperated with one another. Welcome to our reality- the Opt Out Zone and the BAT Cave! Warning Billionaires- Our Children and Our Schools and Our Jobs are not your pawns, not your playthings, not your data producers.

3 comments:

Sheila Resseger said...

Thanks so much, Mark, for continuing to tell it like it is.

Michael Fiorillo said...

Glad to finally see you referring to Obama as the neoliberal Trojan Horse he is, and always has been.

jcg said...

Please spread the word! This is slightly off topic but I just received this action alert from Council for Exceptional Children, (TED) about HQT amendment to ESEA.

HOT OFF THE PRESS, TED PALS and GALS! AACTE ACTION ALERT! PLEASE TAKE ACTION TOMORROW (TUESDAY) MORNING BY CALLING THE SENATE SWITCHBOARD (202) 224-3121 AND ASKING TO SPEAK WITH SOMEONE IN YOUR REPRESENTATIVES' OFFICES! SEE BELOW FOR SPECIFIC INFORMATION. MANY THANKS, MLR

Sen. Alexander (R-TN) may introduce an amendment to the student loan bill tomorrow related to the Highly Qualified Teacher (HQT) definition in ESEA. The amendment will permanently extend the provision in current law (which is scheduled to expire June 2014) that allows teachers-in-training to be designated as “highly qualified teachers.” This is particularly troubling because we know that low-income students, students of color, students with disabilities, and English Language Learners are disproportionately taught by less-prepared and less effective teachers. For the past two years AACTE has worked with over 90 organizations to challenge this provision and to ensure all students are taught by fully prepared and qualified teachers.

This amendment may be offered tomorrow when the Senate votes on the student loan bill.

Action is Needed: Call your Senators today or tomorrow morning. If you do not know the phone number for your Senator, you can call the Senate switchboard (202) 224-3121 and request to be connected to that office. You can also go to your Senator’s website to find their D.C. office phone number.

Tell them:

Vote NO on Senator Alexander’s Highly Qualified Teacher amendment to the student loan bill.
This controversial issue should be debated as part of the Elementary and Secondary Reauthorization Act. It should not be attached to a bill that is intended to address the high cost of student loans.
The 90+ civil rights, disabilities, education and community organizations that comprise the Coalition for Teaching Quality (of which AACTE is a member) oppose weakening the definition of a highly qualified teacher.
If this amendment passes it will exacerbate the current problem of disproportionate numbers of underprepared teachers serving high-need classrooms.
Federal law should set a standard for teacher quality that ensures that all students are taught by teachers who are well-prepared for the job.

STAND UP FOR CHILDREN! VOTE NO ON THE ALEXANDER HIGHLY QUALIFIED TEACHER AMENDMENT TO THE STUDENT LOAN BILL.