Friday, August 06, 2010

Open Letter to Journalist Pat Morrison Regarding Public Education

Not only do the teabaggers and the edreform crowd use the same right wing reactionary think tanks, they both cling stubbornly to the thoroughly discredited notion that markets benefit anyone outside the ownership class. That's why Whitney Tilson quotes AEI, Ben Austin quotes the Hoover Institution, and RiShawn Biddle writes for 'Reason' magazine. These, and the rest of Arne Duncan's most stalwart supporters are to public education as the teabaggers are to civil rights. Not that there isn't a ton of overlap between teabagger and edreform memberships in the first place.

Open Letter to Journalist Pat Morrison Regarding Public Education

Written in response to her recent radio show on KPCC featuring CCSA Executives

Defend Public Schools from Corporate Charter-Voucher Charlatans
I want to invite Pat Morrison to discuss this issue with grassroots and volunteer public education activists, rather than just highly paid charter-voucher industry demagogues like Jed Wallace and Ben Austin. While I sincerely hope that Ms. Morrison has had to opportunity to read celebrated education professor and author Diane Ravitch's watershed book: The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education, she would also do well by talking to public education advocates. I for one, and many of my fellow public education activists engaged in the struggle to preserve public education from privatization, would be happy to be interviewed, or consulted on this issue.

Many of us have spent years observing the real effects of privatization and other fallout of the so-called 'edreform' movement (I'm loathe to call anything funded by billionaires a movement). We've also watched hucksters like Wallace, Tuck, Barr, Ponce, Canada, Ressler, Christie, Smith, Piscal, Austin, Petruzzi, Burton, and McFarlane all get rich off the booming charter-voucher industry.

Over the years, Pat Morrison has tended to report from a progressive angle, and we all appreciate that. One wonders if she is aware that not only are these charter-voucher spokespersons she allows on her show in total agreement with institutions like The Heritage Foundation, The Hoover Institution, The Cato Institute, AEI, and other far right think tanks on these issues, but they frequently quote and use information from these reactionary organizations to forward their privatization agenda.

Those of us that advocate public education are in favor of fully funded, democratically run public schools, in which community, families, and faculty participate in the decision making for running schools. This is a far cry from the agenda of those private, secretive, unelected boards of EMO, CMO, and other charter-voucher institutions whose members are typically comprised of investment bankers, CEOs, businessmen, and hedge fund managers--none of whom have children in those schools, nor live in our communities. Rather than pit working class parents against working class unionized teachers, as Wallace and Austin do on a constant basis, we seek to unite both of those groups with the rest of the community and use our public schools as a focal point to forward the struggle for social justice, equality, and egalitarianism.

Please Ms. Morrison, give the social justice side of this debate a fair hearing. Businessmen like Austin and Wallace already have enough corporate media outlets for their antiquated and discredited ideas.


1 comment:

Ralph E. Shaffer said...


I have just read Skeels open letter to you. It states my position far better than I could have done. You would do well to invite Skeels, Sari Rynew and anyone else they suggest to appear on your program. But, please, do not invite someone from UTLA. The false impression has already been widely spread that the opposition to charters comes from the union. That's not the case. The real opposition comes form grass roots activist such as Skeels, Rynew and me.


Ralph E. Shaffer
Professor Emeritus, History
Cal Poly Pomona