You think it can’t happen here?
You think your state is immune?
Read about the war on public education in Texas and think again.
Some part of this radical agenda is being promoted in almost every state.
This comment was written by Bonnie Lesley of “Texas Kids Can’t Wait”:
“I worry a lot whether public schools will continue to exist in some states. Our organization, Texas Kids Cant Wait, has felt overwhelmed at times this legislative session about the sheer number of privatization bills, all either sponsored by Sen. Dan Patrick or by someone close to him. We have been battling a big charter (what is in reality the gateway drug to privatization) expansion bill, a parent-trigger bill, opportunity scholarships, taxpayer savings grants, achievement district, “FamiliesFirstSchools”, home-rule districts, vouchers for kids with disabilities, online course expansion, numerous bills to close public schools and turn them over to private charter companies, and on and on. A friend said it is as if they threw a whole bowl full of spaghetti at the wall, believing something would stick.
Every one of the ALEC bills we have seen introduced in other states has been introduced in Texas this year.
The privatizers have also held hostage the very popular bills such as HB 5 to reduce testing significantly unless their privatization bills advanced, and advance they have. So lots of folks are playing poker with kids’s lives and futures.
What keeps many of us fighting 20 hours a day and digging into our own pockets to fund the work is our understanding that these bills are not the end game. We’ve read the web sites, beginning with Milton Freidman’s epistle on the Cato Institute’s website, that lay out the insidious plan we are seeing played out. We have also read Naomi Klein’s brilliant book, Shock Doctrine.
First, impose ridiculous standards and assessments on every school.
Second, create cut points on the assessments to guarantee high rates of failure. (I was in the room when it was done in the State of Delaware, protesting all the way, but losing).
Third, implement draconian accountability systems designed to close as many schools as possible. Then W took the plan national with NCLB.
Fourth, use the accountability system to undermine the credibility and trust that almost everyone gave to public schools. increase the difficulty of reaching goals annually.
Fifth, de-professionalize educators with alternative certification, merit pay, evaluations tied to test scores, scripted curriculum, attacks on professional organizations, phony research that tries to make the case that credentials and experience don’t matter, etc.
Sixth, start privatization with public funded charters with a promise that they will be laboratories of innovation. Many of us fell for that falsehood. Apply pressure each legislative session to implement more and more of them. Then Arne Duncan did so on steroids.
Seventh, use Madison Avenue messaging to name bills to further trick people into acceptance, if not support, of every conceivable voucher scheme. The big push now as states implement Freidman austerity budgets to create a crisis is to portray vouchers as a cheaper way to “save” schools. The bills that would force local boards to sell off publicly owned facilities for $1 each is also part of the overall scheme not only to destroy our schools, but also to make it fiscally impossible for us to recover them if we ever again elect a sane government. Too, districts had to make cuts in their budgets in precisely the areas that research says matter most: quality teachers, preschool, small classes, interventions for struggling students, and rigorous expectations and curriculum. See our report: http://www.equitycenter.org. Click on book, Money STILL Matters in bottom right corner.
Eighth, totally destroy public education with so-called universal vouchers. They have literally already published the handbook. You can find it numerous places on the web.
Ninth, start eliminating the vouchers and charters, little by little.
And, tenth, totally eliminate the costs of education from local, state, and national budgets, thereby providing another huge transfer of wealth through huge tax cuts to the already-billionaire class.
And then only the wealthy will have schools for their kids.
Aw, you may say. They can’t do that! My response is that yes, they most certainly will unless you and I stop it!”