Saturday, May 10, 2014

An Open Letter to the Southern Poverty Law Center on Common Core and Threats to Public Education

With public schools being closed all over the nation and charter schools being created in their place; with tens of thousands of veteran union teachers, many of them teachers of color, being pushed out of their jobs; with charter schools in inner city neighborhoods practicing zero-tolerance discipline and discriminating against ELL and Special Needs Students, one wonders why the Southern Poverty Law Center would issue a special report focusing on conservative opponents of Common Core as the major threat to public education in the United States today. Their report not only implicitly gives legitimacy to the most undemocratic education policy initiative in modern American History- CCSS- it implies that the greatest threat to pubic education in the nation comes from the far Right, when in fact it comes from the top leadership of both major parties.

Anyone who thinks that public education is only, or largely under attack from the Right and that liberal Democrats are there to save the day with CCSS needs to spend some time in Chicago, or Philadelphia, or Los Angeles where Wall Street funded Democrats have waged war on public schools and teachers unions. Worse yet, many of these attacks have been mandated by the education policy of the Obama administration, Race to the Top, and cheered on by its Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan

I have long respected the Southern Poverty Law Center for speaking out against racial injustice, in times good and bad, but in this instance, they have me, and many other long time supporters shaking their heads, wondering why they would see Glen Beck and his followers, rather than Barack Obama, George Bush, Chris Christie, Scott Walker, Rahm Emmanuel and the Billionaires who support them, as the greatest threats to public education in the United States