Peter Greene paints an ugly picture of the dominant forces of privatization in Florida and their plans to destroy public education and share the spoils.

He begins by asking these questions:

Here are two not-entirely-academic questions:

Is it possible to end public education in an entire state?

Can Florida become any more hostile to public education than it already is?

Newly-minted Governor Ron DeSantis and a wild cast of privatization cronies seem to answer a resounding “yes” to both questions.

The trick they play is to say that anything funded by the public, no matter who owns it, runs it, or uses it, is “public,” by definition.

Florida has become a playground for for-profit entrepreneurs and religious zealots, and the new governor Ron DeSantis is on their team.

He describes the leaders of a group that calls itself the “School Choice Movement,” and they are people who never give a moment’s thought to the public interest or the common good.

There is a lot of dirty politics in the Sunshine State, and a good deal of money to line someone’s pockets. Up until now, the courts have blocked the goals of the privatizers, which directly violate the state constitution. But Governor DeSantis just replaced some of those pesky judges to get the courts out of his way.

Greene writes:

Calling charter schools public creates a nice batch of smoke and mirrors, allowing DeSantis and his cronies to privatize giant chunks of Florida’s school system while still proclaiming, “No need to worry. You still have public schools!” You could completely shift the education system to privately owned and operated schools while still reassuring parents, taxpayers, and, perhaps, courts, that you haven’t done a thing because it’s still all public schools.

It’s not just marketing. It’s stealing the Mona Lisa and hanging up a Polaroid picture of the painting in its place. It’s kidnapping your spouse and replacing them with an inflatable doll. It is a gaslighting of epic proportions.

In the meantime, Florida taxpayers, you probably should not try to just stroll into the public governor’s mansion you paid for or borrow one of those public vehicles that you bought for officials to drive around in (especially don’t try to commandeer a public army tank). Instead, I would keep a close eye on your public schools while you’ve still got them. And if it’s already too late in your county, don’t be sad– your loss of public education has at least made some of your leaders really wealthy.

And the rest of us need to pay attention, too. Remember– Betsy DeVos is among the many people who think Florida is an educational exemplar.