Tuesday, May 1, 2018

The Plan? A Low-wage Life thanks to Corporate backed Private Schools!!!

Public education continues to take a beating from Republicans, hell-bent on privatizing everything.

What I can't figure out is why the public is allowing all this to happen despite their own overwhelming support for teacher and school funding. Go figure.

So, where are Republican privatization efforts taking us? Let's start with this Midland, Texas horror story rolling out nationwide:
Kristen Covington went to public schools in the Midland Independent School District. She and her husband have kids age 2 and 5, and education weighs on her mind a lot. “Private school is not something that I can afford," she said. "My son’s going to be starting kindergarten ... We’re sending him to a charter school ... a lot of good MISD teachers have moved to that school.” The MISD teachers who have stuck around, that is. “The teachers are moving away because the cost of living is going up, but their pay’s not going up.” She explained that good teachers get poached by private schools or other higher-paying school districts. MISD schools, she said, have lots of permanent substitute teachers.
"Permanent substitute teachers," and "private school is not something I can afford." The GOP said the Dems were just being partisan, but as it turns out, their warnings were on point. Do we need to make getting an education more difficult and uncertain for every American family's?

The following is a nightmare scenario that's real. It's part of the "force people to work for anything" agenda we're seeing now with mandatory work requirements for food stamps, unemployment, and healthcare. Don't say we weren't warned: 
The Corporate Plan to Groom U.S. Kids for Servitude by Wiping Out Public Schools:They began to study the tsunami of corporate-backed legislation that swept the country in early 2011 in the wake of Citizens United—the 2010 Supreme Court decision that gave corporations the green light to spend unlimited sums to influence the political system … Headlines blamed globalization and technology for the squeeze ... the activities of business lobbying groups like the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) ... promote privatization ... the Koch network. Again and again, corporate-backed lobbyists were able to subvert the clear preferences of the public ... the most effective organizations were public education. 

For these U.S. corporations, undermining the public school system was the Holy Grail ... by lobbying to make changes like increasing class sizes, pushing for online instruction, lowering accreditation requirements for teachers, replacing public schools with privately-run charters, getting rid of publicly elected school boards and a host of other tactics, Big Business was aiming to dismantle public education. 

Step one:These titans of business wished to completely change the way Americans and their children viewed their life potential. Transforming education was the key. Raise fears about an American educational crisis that did not, in fact, exist … the reading and math scores of American students have remained largely unchanged for forty years. Nonetheless, the corporate-backed alarmists worked to convince the public that the school system was in dire condition.

Step two: was to claim that unproven reforms to fix the fictional crisis, like online learning, were sure to improve outcomes, despite the fact that such schemes go directly against hard evidence and deny students the socialization that is crucial to a child’s progress. Sometimes the reformers said the changes were needed because of budget deficits; other times, they claimed altruistic aims to improve the quality schools.

Why would business lobbies deliberately strive to create what amounts to widespread education failure ... (why would) Corporate leaders ... devote so much time and attention to making sure, for example, that no public high school student in the state of Florida could take home a diploma without taking an online course. (Yes, that’s now law in the Sunshine State) … big corporations are actually more worried about something far more pragmatic: how to protect themselves from the masses as they engineer rising economic inequality.

“One of the ways I think that they try to avoid a populist backlash is by lowering everybody’s expectations of what we have a right to demand as citizens. When you think about what Americans think we have a right to, just by living here, it’s really pretty little. Most people don’t think you have a right to healthcare or a house. You don’t necessarily have a right to food and water. But people think you have a right to have your kids get a decent education.” Not for long, if Big Business has its way. 

Large corporations are scoring huge successes in replacing this system with a two-tiered model and a whole new notion of identity.

The new system, the children of the wealthy will be taught a broad, rich curriculum in small classes led by experienced teachers. The kind of thing everybody wants for kids. But the majority of America’s children will be consigned to a narrow curriculum delivered in large classes by inexperienced staff —or through digital platforms with no teachers at all.

Most kids will be trained for a life that is more circumscribed, less vibrant, and, quite literally, shorter, than what past generations have known. They will be groomed for insecure service jobs that dull their minds and depress their spirits.

Economist Peter Temin, former head of MIT’s economics department and INET grantee, has written a book, The Vanishing Middle Class. According to Temin, America is clearly breaking down into two sectors: Roughly 20% of the population are members of what he calls the “FTE sector” (i.e., the finance, technology, and electronics sectors). These lucky people get college educations, land good jobs, enjoy social networks that enhance their success, and generally have access to enough money to meet most of life’s challenges. The remaining 80% live in a world nothing like this; they live in different geographies and have different legal statuses, healthcare systems, and schools. This is the low-wage sector, where life is getting harder.
People in the low-wage sector carry debt. They worry about insecure jobs and unemployment. They get sick more often and die younger than previous generations had. If they are able go to college, they end up in debt. “While members of the first sector act,” Temin has said, “these people are acted upon.”

The dismantling of public education, as Temin sees it, will shut off that route for vastly more people. Like the privatization of prisons, which has increased incarceration rates and cut the mobility path off for more Americans, putting schools into private hands will land even more on the road to nowhere. Even those who were born into the middle class will increasingly get pushed back.
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