Tom Cahill describes the five famous billionaires who are intent on dismantling public education, especially public education for African American children.
He writes that “The charter school movement is particularly insidious, as it’s essentially a form of institutionalized racism veiled in altruism.”
They call themselves “reformers,” but in fact they are destroying a vital democratic institution.
The process, he says, begins with Common Core standards that disregard all individual or local differences. That is followed by high-stakes testing that fails most students.
Finally, schools are labeled as “failing” due to the lopsided evaluation process, and privately-run charters are forced onto inner-city populations, paving the way for the privatization of public education in predominantly black and latino communities. (Actually, the “failing schools” narrative was launched prior to Common Core. Arne Duncan started closing public schools in Chicago when he was Superintendent. NCLB prescribed school-closings as an antidote to low scores. Low test scores, wherever they came from, were used as weapons to replace public schools with charter schools. Common Core just speeded up the demolition strategy.)
The five white billionaires he points to are: Mark Zuckerberg; the Walton family; Carl Icahn; Bill Gates; and Rupert Murdoch.
The list of billionaires who want to privatize the public schools should include Eli Broad, John Arnold, Michael Dell, the Koch brothers, and Michael Bloomberg. I may have missed a few billionaires, but you get the picture. The free market worked for them; why should schools operate in a free market? Why pay attention to the mounds of research showing that charter schools do not get higher test scores when they enroll the same children? Why care that minority children are enrolled in charter schools with harsh and punitive discipline policies that would not be allowed in public schools? Why care if there is no evidence that charter schools and Teach for America do not “close the achievement gap” and have no discernible impact on reducing poverty?