Wednesday, July 25, 2012

I'm Fed up With Advocates of Charter Schools and Vouchers: Public Schools Made America Great

I'm Fed up With Advocates of Charter Schools and Vouchers:

Perhaps it's a coincidence that the decline of the American empire is occurring as there has been an increasing advocacy for profit-driven charter schools and vouchers for corporate-run private schools.
But maybe it's really a symptom of a nation that once drew its ingenuity and creativity from the collective knowledge imbued through public education. As BuzzFlash at Truthout has noted before, there is no public education crisis in upper middle class and wealthy suburban public schools.
Saying there is a crisis in public education is like saying we have an immigration problem. We don't have a general "immigration" problem; we have a society that wants to make sure that more brown-skinned people don't enter the US and quicken the timetable for whites becoming a minority in America. Similarly, we don't have a public education problem; we have a problem of education in poor areas where there are no jobs and in areas that have endured social neglect, but is this anything new?
No, this nation just ignored its economically depressed urban areas for decades. Now, the for-profit school industry has given enough money to people in power to suddenly say: "Oh, it's not the poverty and multi-generational gridlock due to the lack of economic opportunity; it's the teachers' unions."
Maybe the teachers' unions aren't perfect; maybe some teachers get burned out from being punching bags for the result of society's neglect of the poor without economic opportunity. But putting in for-profit schools whose goal is to make big bucks off of public funds by hiring inexperienced teachers at rock-bottom salaries isn't going to change the cultural/economic context in which such public education takes place.
Charter schools and vouchers are just another way for the one percent to make a profit off of the poor. It's no coincidence that wealthy and well-off suburbs and neighborhoods don't have the "shock doctrine need" for charter schools and vouchers.
Today, Truthout has begun offering "Precious Knowledge: Arizona's Battle Over Ethnic Studies," a documentary by Ari Luis Palos and Eren Isabel McGinnis.  It is a brilliant detailing of how some white "Eurocentric" politicians in Arizona banned a Mexican-American curriculum that nearly doubled the graduation rate of students enrolled in the program in Tucson.
Since the Tucson public school system far exceeds 50% Mexican-American enrollment, with whites being only about a quarter of the school system students, you would thinking bringing the graduation rate for Latinos up to above 90% would be a cause for celebrating the power of public schools. Instead, it became a white power structure (for the one percent) reason to suppress the curriculum. Why? Because the empowerment and education of minority young people is a threat to white Arizonans.
Like the privatization of prisons, charter schools and vouchers are meant to enrich the wealthy not to improve anything -- in this case the education of children who live in economically distressed communities -- but rather to improve the profits of "education" corporations who have bought off politicians.

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