Tuesday, April 12, 2011

For education, fringe right wing is no longer confined to the fringe

"[W]orthless as pedagogy but they are a brilliant mechanism for undermining the school systems, instilling fear and creating a rationale for corporate takeover. There is something grotesque about the fact the education reform is being led not by educators but by financers and speculators and billionaires." &mdash Chris Hedges

Anti-immigrant racism from California Charter School Association (CCSA)'s Steve Poizner is a perfect example of right wing charter school ideas.
Larry Miller's Beware of the Heartland Institute: Brought to you in part by the Koch Brothers does yeoman service illuminating the extremists pushing Ayn Rand/Milton Freidman fantasies on behalf of the vile plutocrats funding them. In this passage:

They are key propagandists to the present right wing movement in the U.S, supporting any demand that increases corporate profits and weakens the peoples' movements and democratic rights. In education vouchers are at the center of their reform demands.

Miller highlights Heartland's damaging contributions to the corporate education reform tsunami presently deluging public eduction. What's missing from his analysis is the fact that this frightening agenda is not confined to the teabaggers, proto-fascists, and other right wing reactionaries.

It's important to note that many of the ostensibly "liberal" types in the corporate education "reform" camp, have very close ties to reactionary groups like Heartland.

In fact, just a few weeks ago, privatization pusher and poverty pimp Ben Austin of the Parent Revolution 501C3 and author of the callously named Parent Trigger hosted an event with none other than the Heartland Institute. I like to say that the Heartland Institute is essentially the John Birch Society with a budget.

Michelle Rhee, Gloria Romero, Ben Austin, Whitney Tilson, Steve Barr, Davis Guggenheim and many other charter-voucher school luminaries also draw upon Heartland and other right-wing extremist organizations for both their ideology and "information." A favorite of the DFER/TFA school privatization camp is The Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace, Stanford University. I recently wrote on DFER, and how they've found myriad ways to subvert democratic processes in order to further the corporate agenda.

Sadly, this Administration's education policies are precisely those that were considered the fringe ideas of reactionary think tanks like Heartland, AEI, Cato, Hoover, Hudson, Heritage et al just a decade ago. It's going to take more than pointing out these groups have the most vile right-wing agendas, we need to point out that their deplorable ideas have been adopted by individuals and organizations that people would never associate with these groups.

We need to be clear that it isn't only Koch Kooks that want to eschew public education and create an inferior, racist, discriminatory, but profitable voucher system. Ultimately, the entire impetus behind charter schools and so-called school choice is vouchers as well.

'In the long run, charter schools are being strategically used to pave the way for vouchers. The voucher advocates, who are very powerful and funded by right-wing foundations and families, recognize that the word voucher has been successfully discredited by enlightened Americans who believe in the public sector. So they've resorted to two strategies. First, they no longer use the word "vouchers." They've adopted the seemingly benign phrase "school choice," but they are still voucher advocates.' — Jonathan Kozol


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