Sunday, March 06, 2011

The President now toasting Teabaggers. What's next, touting Texas textbooks?

"You know, I'm amused. I can't tell you how many foreign leaders who are heads of center-right governments say to me, I don't understand why people would call you socialist, in my country, you'd be considered a conservative." — President Barack H. Obama (CNN’s State of the Union 2009-09-20)

Arne Duncan's neoliberal dismantling of public education is criminal
I first read about the President praising teabagger and brother of war criminal George W. Bush on Anthony Cody's blog, prompted by his brilliant tweet:

@AnthonyCody | Obama is Right: Education is a Bi-Partisan issue. Both Dems and Repubs are pushing bad ideas. #WakingGiant, #edchat

Another excellent piece addressing this is President Obama shares the stage with Jeb Bush in Miami.

Since I spent most of the weekend polemicizing against HuffPost liberals who were attacking Matt Damon for criticizing the Administration's education policies, this gave me some very current and topical information in which to confront the liberal defenders of right wing privatization schemes.

Here's what I wrote on HuffPost:

Yesterday the President lauded the vile right wing reactionary Jeb Bush as a "champion of education reform." Bush, whose privatization pushing policies include segregation exacerbating charter-voucher schools, and union busting. Moreover, his diverting of resources from public schools into privatization have left public schools with even less funding.

To be sure, Bush's market "solutions" originated from the vile minds of depraved reactionaries like Andy Smarick and Rick Hess, members of some of the most extreme right wing think tanks in the country (ie. AEI, Hoover, Hudson, Cato, etc.). These Ayn Rand/Milton Friedman acolytes aren't interested in public education. Instead their end goal is to eliminate what they consider the "big government monopoly" in education, and to open education up to profit making.

A celebrated education author's prescient essay reveals the real goals of what is currently termed "education reform."

"The education industry represents, in our opinion, the final frontier of a number of sectors once under public control... represents the largest market opportunity... the K-12 market is the Big Enchilada." — Montgomery Securities prospectus quoted in Jonathan Kozol's The Big Enchilada

Here many people unleashed vicious invective against Matt Damon, while the President is heaping praise on one of the most reprehensible corporate education reformers around — Jeb Bush (a teabagger favorite at that). Perhaps now people will see the contradiction in this, Damon sure does.

Using the other sides' (ie. right wing) education policies isn't bipartisanship, it's capitulation. These policies are anathema to the progressive teachings of Paulo Freire, Donaldo Macedo, Jonathan Kozol, Alfie Kohn, Henry Giroux, and so many others. We call on this president to fire the current Secretary of Education and to make wholesale changes to its disastrous education policies.


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