Lyndsey Layton has a terrific article in today’s Washington Post about the move by GOP governors to end local control when it suits them. They like to say that they are “saving” people or children. Think Flint. Think Detroit. Think Newark. As the late Derrick Bell said in the title of a book, “And They Are Not Saved.”
The GOP once made local control a basic principle. Now it’s not. As Layton points out, Governor Kasich took over Youngstown schools in quiet coup. Governor Deal of Georgia wants to create a takeover district like the so-called “Achievement School District” in Tennessee. Governor Snyder in Michigan has taken over several cities and school districts. The GOP in Virginia wants to supersede local control.
The one thing that all these takeovers have in common is that none has succeeded. Not one. What they do best is to extinguish democracy and give the governor control of a large pot of money to use as he wishes.
What’s the common thread behind the GOP’s new enthusiasm for state control? Look no farther than ALEC. It has drafted model legislation for state takeovers. Why? Once the governor takes over, he can give the public schools to charter operators. That accomplishes three goals:
- Privatize public schools
- Get rid of unions and contracts with employees
- Campaign contributions from grateful entrepreneurs
A win for everyone but the children, the community, and democracy.