Over a number of decades, some fabulously wealthy right-wingers and the think tanks they support have determined to convince African-American families that privately managed charters and vouchers would “save” their children from “failing” public schools. If you are very rich and you don’t want your taxes to become outrageous, then it makes sense to persuade people who have little that poverty is just an excuse for bad teachers. Forget about poverty. Why should our society invest hundreds of billions of dollars in restoring our infrastructure and creating good jobs for everyone willing to work, when it is so much less costly to get people angry at teachers and public schools? Who cares if we spent two trillion (with a T) on war in the past dozen years? Why waste time imagining what half of that would have done to reduce income inequality in this country? So the right-wing think tanks adopted the views of their founders and their funders, which was that the 1% are job-producers, and they must not have higher taxes. Nope.


This is the background to the nasty confrontation between teacher Patrick Hayes and Dr. Steve Perry of Hartford, Connecticut. Dr. Perry brought his message about how poverty doesn’t matter, how kids are hurt by their teachers, and how they should be in charter schools and they should get vouchers to get away from teachers’ unions. South Carolina doesn’t have teachers’ unions, but that is beside the point. And of course, he talked about the miracles at his school in Hartford.


It is somewhat startling to think that African American families in South Carolina might take up the cause that once belonged to White Citizens Councils in the South, supporting vouchers to avoid desegregation.


Here is an audio file of the event.


Patrick Hayes had the effrontery to challenge Dr. Perry. Dr. Perry referred to Hayes as a Satan and a blogger (yes, a blogger!).


Well, read it for yourself. And ask yourself what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., might say today about those who say that poverty doesn’t matter, that vouchers are necessary to escape public education, and that unions are the enemies of oppressed minorities.


Someone has been hoodwinked. But let’s not talk about hoods in South Carolina.