Monday, April 11, 2011

Comments on Hedges on Why the U. S. is Destroying Its Education System

"We have our cake, and are eating it too." — Eli Broad (Predatory Pseudo-Philanthropist and Charter School Backer)

Corporate school privatization criminals Eli Broad and Arne Duncan
Chris Hedges latest enlightened essay entitled Why the U. S. is Destroying Its Education System lays out much of the corporate agenda behind privatization via charters and vouchers, the standardized testing obsession, and the vilification of schoolteachers.

It's a powerful piece and a must read for social justice activists and public education advocates. One of my favorite passages follows:

Up until very recently, the principal of a school was something like the conductor of an orchestra: a person who had deep experience and knowledge of the part and place of every member and every instrument. In the past 10 years we've had the emergence of both [Mayor] Mike Bloomberg's Leadership Academy and Eli Broad's Superintendents Academy, both created exclusively to produce instant principals and superintendents who model themselves after CEOs. How is this kind of thing even legal? How are such 'academies' accredited? What quality of leader needs a 'leadership academy'? What kind of society would allow such people to run their children's schools? The high-stakes tests may be worthless 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."

"What kind of society would allow such people to run their children’s schools?" Indeed, the most important question of our age. The fact that plutocrats can commit such unscrupulous acts against the public good is beyond unconscionable, it's unpardonably criminal.

Hedges' main thrust is that the destruction of public education goes hand-in-hand with corporate dominance. He speaks of the amoral and inhuman pursuit of corporate profits which require the dehumanization and commodification of the many. I posted the following comment, which hopefully added to the discussion:

Hedges' point about charters teaching corporate values isn't merely rhetorical. Let us recall the Eli Broad funded Green Dot Public [sic] Schools' original Alain Leroy Locke Charter High School petition contained language requiring students "demonstrate a belief in the value of capitalism." Professor Ralph Shaffer's exposé of the right wing reactionary American Indian Model Schools' requiring a "pledge to capitalism" is further testimony to the corporatization of pedagogy.

Another egregious example is when the plutocrat funded Celerity Charter CEO Vielka McFarlane [1] dismissed institutional racism by declaring children of color merely need to "dress for success..." rather than "focus on how the history of the country has been checkered."

I'd like to see if people could provide more examples. My goal is to compile a list of these types of corporate ideology being foisted upon today's students for a future essay. Sharon Higgens and Caroline Grannan have done an excellent job exposing the Gulen Movement's involvement in charter schools. I'm certain that solidaridad readers can contribute many more such tales of woe.

[1] The selfsame McFarlane in collusion with the vile Ben Austin to seize McKinley ES in Compton using the callously named "parent trigger."



Unknown said...

The quoted essay and this comment on it should be required reading on this huge issue. Both are extremely clear and concise and truly give me, a parent of boys now past school age, reasons why this issue matters to everyone. Great job here and I urge everyone to pass it on.

peregrine9 said...

When a system isnt working, everyone is an expert until it is clear that it is working. and, because everyone is an expert, it is even harder to get it working.