As Rahm Emanuel once memorably said, when he was President Obama’s chief of staff, never let a crisis go to waste. Naomi Klein surely agreed in her book “Shock Doctrine,” which showed how crises, both natural and man-made, are used to achieve other goal unrelated to the crisis. Hurricane Katrina made it possible to wipe out public education and the teachers union in New Orleans. The budget cuts and imposed austerity will soon make it possible to crush the teachers union and privatize Philadelphia’s schools.

A teacher in Philadelphia writes, challenging an earlier post that called Los Angeles ground zero for corporate reform:

“Sorry to contradict, but Los Angeles is only at the forefront of the push-back (and a fine thing that is too.) The next big front in corporate “reform” will be in Philadelphia in a little over a month.

“The contract for the PFT is up and we are facing demands from the state-controlled School Reform Commission and their hand-picked Superintendent William Hite, a graduate of the Broad Academy. I and my fellow teachers are facing a demand that we give up $133 million in salary and health benefit concessions, which is bad enough. But we’re also looking at proposals to eliminate seniority, institute performance pay, eliminate contractual caps on class size, and virtually every other fond wish of the “reformers”.

“State and city leaders have engineered a budget crisis and passed only sham fixes, all to set up the PFT to be broken no matter how we react. If we give in to the concessions, we will have lost almost everything the PFT has gained for the schools and teachers since 1968. If not, we will either have a contract imposed on us or we will be forced to strike, but that in itself is illegal according to the law that allowed the state takeover of the district in 2001. The no-strike clause is unique to Philadelphia within the state, so we may be able to successfully challenge it in court, but any way this plays out the SRC and their political masters seem to think that it will give them a free hand to go full bore with every kind of corporate reform. If they succeed, they will have remade the 8th largest school district in the nation into a goldmine of corporatized “education”.

“Unfortunately, they are probably right.”