Tuesday, September 11, 2012

They "Won't Back Down"... & Neither Should We.

Earlier today, The Sun posted a gushing review topical piece on "education reform" and the conversation being sparked by the new Michelle Rhee approved propaganda film, "Won't Back Down". If this seems like deja vu, that's because it is. Consider "Won't Back Down" the (even more) fictionalized version of "Waiting for Superman".

Fortunately, Desert Beacon then exposed the fallacy of the "magic elixir" being offered by both "Waiting for Superman" and "Won't Back Down". Basically, what they claim to be a "school choice movement" is really a back door effort to privatize our public schools. And beneath the premise of "giving parents a voice" is actually a concerted effort to turn our schools into engines for corporate profit at the expense of real public education.

The proposed legislation rationalizing the privatization of our public schools rests on the highly questionable premise that parents have “no voice” in the operation of their schools. Not True. At worst, this premise discourages parents and guardians from active participation in school district discussions by informing parents in advance that they are powerless in the face of overwhelming bureaucracy. After spending many a less than thrilling hour attending school board meetings, I can say without much fear of too much contradiction, a packed room works wonders in terms of the enlight in enment of school committee or board members. Nothing so moves a recalcitrant principal to action as a few telephone calls from parents, and nothing is more appreciated by classroom teachers than calls from parents asking what they can do to get Johnny or Susie’s arithmetic grades up.

Parental involvement matters. Better still, parents don’t have to adopt proposals for expensive consultants, pricey Silver Bullets from corporate vendors, and for-profit “management solutions.” Corporate proposals for education are analogous to selling any other product —We, say the corporations, will do for you what you don’t want to do for yourself. And, that’s the premise of any private service, from selling carpet cleaning to lawn care — the corporation or firm will do for us what we do not wish to do for ourselves.

It’s ironic that while stoutly defending and “promoting” parental involvement in the education of their children, the proponents of the right wing privatization plans are essentially telling parents: Here’s a legislative answer to your desire for better education which allows you to outsource the education of your children to for-profit corporations. And, IF your local elementary school is transferred to the management of a private corporation answerable to their shareholders from an elected board of education who are members of the community — then which organizational structure is obviously more closely accountable to parents in the LOCAL area? In which structure do parents have more power?

Oh, and here's something else to keep in mind. The "trigger" law being championed in "Won't Back Down" is being introduced in the Nevada Legislature... By none other than Michael Roberson, the G-O-TEA leader whose stated goal is busting unions and attacking workers' rights! And that's the real goal of the "trigger" law.

"Trigger"/school privatization advocates are hoping "Won't Back Down" will "trigger" the "Rhee-form" they seek. They have already been attacking teachers in Clark County. And they're hoping we won't notice the "tea party" behind the scenes while they're trying to convince us they really care about our schools.

The real fact of the matter is that "Tea Party, Inc." won't back down until there are no more public schools. That's why true education activists shouldn't back down. And they shouldn't let these "TEA" fueled con artists get away with what they're trying to do.

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