Thomas J. Adams, on the faculty of Tulane University, has a startling and funny column at Huffington Post about what the East Coast can learn from the Gulf Coast.
Now, New York, New Jersey, and other states have had their own version of Hurricane Katrina. Ours is Sandy.
Adams says we can do what New Orleans did:
The absolute first thing you have to do is fire all your public school teachers. Just fire them. We all know education is broken in this country and that teachers are to blame. So why not take this opportunity to do what you helped us do back in 2005? It might create a bit of confusion when the power gets turned back on and the debris gets removed, but that’s a small price to pay for our children’s future. Besides, if there’s a shortage of teachers we can help with that the same way you helped us. We certainly have a surfeit of energetic recent college graduates who we’ll happily send up there to fix your ailing schools. They may have no experience and most peer-reviewed education research concludes they’re not as effective as your former teachers, but they bring energy to the classroom! Sure, they may only stay for a year or two, but their M.B.A. and law school applications will be so much stronger because of it and they’ll make quality education a national issue.
Then he says, what follows easily is complete privatization and new opportunities:
After you get rid of your teachers it will be that much easier to turn control of your schools over to a variety of non- and for-profit groups. Don’t worry, you need not be concerned about whether these schools are effective or not, whether they cherry pick students, cook their test scores, get rid of education professionals in favor of computers, what kinds of salaries their board members are taking in, etc. As you’ve told us many times on countless of your leading editorial pages, this is the model for education reform in the country. In fact if you’re as lucky as us, this will lead you down an easy road to a voucher system in the next few years. Educational equality will come shortly thereafter, I promise.
While the privatization fever is raging, next to go is public housing, then free clinics.
Read it and remember that Arne Duncan said that Hurricane Katrina was the best thing ever to happen to education in New Orleans. I’m waiting to hear if he says the same about Hurricane Sandy.