A reader in Tennessee comments on the steady advance of privatization in that state, starting with Memphis, then moving to other urban areas. And when the Legislature passes a voucher bill, the stage will be set to decimate public education and leave it as a remnant of what was once known as the portal to opportunity in America. Thanks to Governor Haslam, his compatriots in the Legislature, and Kevin Huffman, one of TFA’s finest products. Doing it “for the kids,” no doubt. Shameful. Shameful.

The reader writes:

“Memphis and actually the entire state of Tennessee is “all in” as it pertains to turning over our schools to private interests for profit. Memphis schools are being systematically dismantled. They are now run by a lawyer. Everyone with any sense in central administration has already abandoned ship. Non-profits and charter groups are basically being asked “which schools do you want”. Our bargained contract is being trampled in the process. Gates Foundation partner organizations are asking principals “who do you want to get rid of? We will help you.” Principals are being given the green light to surplus (lay off) anyone they want, regardless of their performance.

“Nashville, Knoxville and Chattanooga are next. They started with Memphis because that was the district with the highest poverty. They bet on the fact that the state and citizens of Memphis would basically give the schools to whoever was willing to take them. In steps the Gates Foundation and with that single agreement the demise of public education in our community was sealed. That bet will pay off to the tune of 1.4 billion education dollars per year in our county alone.

“Within 5 years TEA and all the locals will be relegated to cursory “remember whens” as the major population centers of the state no longer are in the business of educating their own children. Charters, vouchers and non-profits will have no union affiliates. This will bankrupt the state level organization and open the floodgates for private equity and hedge funds to capitalize off of public tax dollars. All the while those making these decisions have their children in elite private schools that would never take on the ridiculous data-obsessed practices brought to us from Bill and Melinda Gates. No, Mr. Gates, data does not hold the answers to the world’s problems.

“I was termed an “Irreplaceable” teacher based on my personal teaching performance last year. What a joke! We are all replaceable. An iPad or virtual classroom should do the trick. I hoped to spend my life’s work teaching children. Instead, halfway through a career, I am marketing myself to other industries and embarking on a total career change. There is no room for career educators in this process. Especially ones who can not compromise their professional ethics to jump through the hoops of fire required. I hope the career path I choose for the future pays well. I am going to need the extra money to pay for private schools. I would not wish this chaos on anyone’s children. I will not accept it for mine.”

It is a sad day.