Thursday, March 13, 2014

Destroying Public Education: A Fourth Inner City Catastrophe?

One of the great ironies in contemporary American History is that top leaders of the Democratic Party are supporting the elimination of public education in Urban America - even though the public schools are the one institution in inner city neighborhoods that survived de-industrialization, the crack epidemic, and the war on drugs.

Instead of treating schools in those communities, which certainly had their share of problems, as sites of resilience that could be built on moving forward, and their teachers administrators, staff and parents as heroes, Democratic Party leaders bought into the view that these institutions were toxic, fatally corrupted by the trials they had gone through, and that they had to be removed entirely for their communities to progress.

We can blame many current education policies on leaders of both parties, but when it comes to closing Urban Public schools and replacing them with charters, that responsibility falls squarely on the Democrats, especially our current president who institutionalized that policy in Race to the Top.

But what if this policy is flawed in conception? What if replacing public schools with charters will, in the long run, destabilize communities and demoralize, rather than inspire their residents, maximizing existing inequalities

Then we will have added a fourth inner city catastrophe to the three listed above.