In district after district, budget cuts are decimating the curriculum. Teachers are laid off, programs are cut, class sizes are rising, libraries are closing.
This is insane. We are supposed to be in the midst of a great education “reform” movement, but for reasons that are not obvious, the alleged reformers never say anything about budget cuts. They don’t care if the public schools are devastated. They claim to care about education, but budget cuts don’t seem to cross their radar screen.
The more they are silent, the more it demonstrates that they don’t care about education; they don’t even care about children. They care about power. They care about gaining control of public schools and of the funding stream that goes to public schools.
So, those who are silent reveal their fundamental beliefs. The more that public schools are impaired, the better the case for privatization.
In fact, we can discern a train of events. First, the reformers’ favorite experts assure us that we spend way too much on education. Second, the message is amplified by public figures like Bill Gates, even Arne Duncan (remember his claim at the conservative American Enterprise Institute that reduced budgets are “the new normal”?). Third, public schools feel the devastation of the budget cuts as class sizes rise to 35 then 40 or more; as the arts are eliminated; as libraries close; as facilities are untended because custodians were dismissed. In the final act of this play, the reformers step forward to save the children from their “failing” schools.
Those who claim to be reformers should speak out against the budget cuts or lose all credibility. If they do not, we will know them for what they are and we will know what they want.