Friday, March 14, 2014

When It Comes to Education Policy- It's All About the Benjamins

One question we have to ask ourselves is how many of the policies we are fighting, from Common Core, to test based teacher evaluation, to school closings and charter school preferences, would have gotten any traction were it not from the support they have gotten from a small group of people whose wealth has reached unprecedented proportions because of changes in tax laws, deregulation of the financial industry, and other policies which have encouraged concentration of wealth at the very top of our society. Imagine what education policy would look like without the influence of Eli Broad, Michael Bloomberg, the Gates and Walton Foundation, and the hedge fund entrepreneurs funding Democrats for Education reform, Students First, and Stand for Children.

These powerful interests have basically hijacked education policy, in both major parties, and control discourse about it in commercial media. But it is not the force of their personalities or the strength of their ideas that has allowed them to do so, it the obscene wealth they have at their command.

This is why we cannot win this battle in the realm of ideas alone. We need mass movements that so destabilize the implementation of education policy that the will of billionaire vulture philanthropists can be challenged, and the basis of education discourse change. Without such movements, our ideas will have no traction.