When I asked readers to tell me about the reforms in their own state, I received dozens of replies.
It is hard to say which state has the most destructive reforms. By destructive, I refer to legislation that is anti-teacher, anti-public education, anti-education, and anti-child. This means legislation that strips teachers of any job protections and that prohibits them from bargaining collectively, as well as legislation that bases teacher evaluation on student test scores and that hands public school dollars over to private interests, whether for profit or for private management.
This writer describes what is happening in Pennsylvania, under Tea-Party governor Tom Corbett, who seems determined to rid the state of public education:
|In Pennsylvania Governor Corbett has been following the ALEC script to the letter. This year he cut education funding by $1 billion and raised funding for prisons by $700 million. This includes what will be three new privately owned, for profit prisons. School districts throughout the state are cutting programs and laying off teachers.In Philadelphia, public schools are under full scale attack. The School Reform Commission has announced plans to turn over 65 public schools to charters and a goal of have 40% of Philadelphia’s students be in charters by 2017. All blue collar workers are in the process of being laid off and replaced with a low paid, non-union workforce.The School Reform Commission is the state body (three members appointed by the Governor and two appointed by the Mayor) that has been running Philadelphia schools for ten years. It ostensibly took over the Philadelphia School District due to mismanagement, but in the last ten years has made the District’s financial situation much worse.After repeated attempts to privatize schools over massive community opposition, the agenda of a series of SRC’s to privatize Philadelphia’s public schools was greatly advanced during the tenure of Dr. Arlene Ackerman. At the same time as she was Superintendent, she was serving on the Board of the Broad Foundation. After she was forced to resign in August, 2011 after getting into a turf war over proposed charters with Mayor Nutter, her appointments, most who received training from the Broad Foundation, continue to advance the privatization agenda. They have brought in the corporate raider the Boston Consulting Group and a group of corporate privatizers calling themselves the Great Schools Compact to oversee the transfer of public schools to charters.
Here is another report from Pennsylvania:
In my state, Pennsylvania, we have a Governor who is deliberately underfunding true public education while actively seeking to privatize education using Charter managers and vouchers. In my district, Philadelphia, things are even worse: ten years of State Control through a ‘School Reform Commission’ have left with a horrible budget crisis and ‘solutions’ that only make the problem worse. They are cutting us to the bone marrow and then decrying our ‘failure’ with the poorest children in our city. They are closing or turning over neighborhood school that serve as refuges in the community to charter companies. Companies that exist to make money for CEOs and ‘counsel’ the neediest at every turn. Sixty million dollar district buildings are given free to millionaires (Kenny Gamble’s Universal Company), major charter operators (Mastery) are allowed to say educating Special Ed students is ‘too expensive’ and get monetary help from a broke district. All this is done without votes or transparency!