Monday, November 23, 2009

Neighborhood Schools a Corporate Option! Bottom Line Decides Whether they Stay or Go.

Let's start with the premise that privatizing public education will reap huge profits while serving up a substandard corporate menu of subjects parents will have no choice but to except. Their kids will have to get an education. No options. The conversion is happening now. From

DePaul University professor and author Ken Saltman spoke about what Richland Parish Superintendent Cathy Stockton called "the other side of the story, what could happen to education." Saltman is the author of "Capitalizing on Disaster: Taking and Breaking Public Schools," a book that talks about the influence of business in public education, using the Recovery School District in New Orleans as one example.

Following Hurricane Katrina, many New Orleans area schools were reopened as charters and are operated by private companies. According to Saltman, states open the door for the expansion of private influence in education through charter schools. "What the advocates for charters … do not seem to realize is that once traditional public schools are transformed into charters, they are easy to close and replace with private providers. My research has found the push for privatization is
based less in evidence and far more in ideology and profit seeking."

Expanding this model statewide and involving business in education through charter schools is supported by Gov. Bobby Jindal.

"The point not to be missed and one that applies very much today in Louisiana is that if business models of efficiency work so well, why aren't the for profit charter schools getting the same per pupil funding (they're getting a lot more, $15,000) as the traditional public schools against which they are allegedly competing?" Saltman asked.

"Race to the Top has lots of traps for local boards and lots of people," Board of Elementary and Secondary Education President Keith Guice said. "It's cheese in the rat trap and we better be watching the rat trap," he said paraphrasing state Sen. Ben Nevers of Bogalusa.

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