Sam Chaltain, one of our very thoughtful bloggers, urged that we try to find common ground with those who disagree with our views. That is usually sound advice. In the present instance, there are so many who say they want to privatize public education, and whose motives are not disguised, that it is hard to know how to find common ground. I think, for example, of ALEC, the Koch brothers, the governors and legislatures of North Carolina, Tennessee, Wisconsin, and many other states that have made it clear they prefer private management, for-profit vendors, and vouchers, not public education.

Here is an interesting comment on this discussion from a teacher in Douglas County, Colorado:

I think the big problem is that we don’t live in a democracy. This isn’t just an issue around education. Would be easy to find common ground. . . well if we all were on equal ground.

I’m reading Dr. Jim Wallis’ book titled “On God’s Side.”

Here are some quotes that fit so well with this whole issue and why I don’t think there is common ground.

“It’s time we stated the obvious truth: the last remaining obstacle to democracy is the dominant power of rich people, their money, and their institutions over the political process, a power that absolutely corrupts democracy.” Jim Wallis

“Smith said capitalism can’t function properly without a moral framework. Another proponent of capitalism, Austrian economist Joseph Schumpeter, agreed and said that without ethics, the market ends up devouring everything else and , finally, even itself.” Jim Wallis

“It takes the power of movements to change politics. Change never starts in Washington or in our legislatures or houses of government; it almost always begins outside of politics. If public momentum can be built among millions of people, change eventually arrives in the nation’s capital.” Jim Wallis

So Dr. Ravitch, Thank you for helping lead the movement!!

Is she right? Can you find common ground when those at the top have so much power and so little reason to compromise?