K12NN Site Admin

K12NN Site Admin’s Docs Started By Me

You are viewing docs with the following tags: public-schools - View All Docs

Filter by: AttachmentsSearchTag

 Has attachment Title Created Last Edited Tags
Why Are State Budget Cuts to Education the “New Normal”?

When the housing bubble ginned up by Wall Street went into freefall some time around 2007-2008, housing values plummeted and with them evaporated crucial state funding for K-12 schools based on residential real estate valuation. The Center for Budget Policy and Priorities has said that for 2012-2013, the budgets of thirty states will continue to reflect shortfalls in funding and that this graph shows how losses might not be made up until 2019 at the earliest: Consider that in 2010, a number of corporate reformers plotted a hostile takeover of public education and assessed their efforts so far. In 2010, billionaire donors like the Waltons, DeVos and Gates families gathered in Houston, Texas at a Philanthropy Roundtable meeting to discuss ways to create “breakthroughs” in public education. After patting themselves on the back for promoting organizations like Teach for America and KIPP, as well as recognizing Joel Klein and Michelle Rhee, they looked to the future. As they were brainstorming things to note in the current landscape, AEI’s Rick Hess suggested that unions could be co-opted by being encouraged to move from an industrial model to a “professional model”, and then offered this: The fiscal condition of states and towns will open up opportunities, too. “There’s going to be a sustained window of four to five years or longer where you’re going to find local districts with very tight budgets,” Hess said. “This is a huge moment of opportunity for funders to step up to the plate and say, ‘We’re going to help you out—but there’s a quid pro quo.’”[emphasis in the citation] That would be a textbook example of Shock Doctrine education reform right there, funded by the same billionaires who created and continue to maintain the fiscal condition of states and towns. Those same billionaires are now spending hundreds of millions of dollars to keep that window forced open while they work to shift public opinion away from traditional K-12 education into for-profit models that will present “opportunities” for a quid-pro-quo deal. Consider it a multi-pronged approach. Drive a stake into the heart of teachers unions and put proposals in front of them that will need to be “jammed down their throats”, demonize those same teachers in order to manufacture a “crisis” based primarily on flawed testing and unproven evaluation metrics. Add the online education movement amplified via ALEC and state legislatures, where online education isn’t simply an option, but is required in several states. Mix it up with a pinch of teacher humiliation, and the odor of “education deform” begins to permeate and bubble in every community. The tragedy that was Hurricane Katrina for the city of New Orleans was so textbook a case of Shock Doctrine, Naomi Klein spent  a lengthy chapter detailing how the public school system was immediately replaced by for-profit charter schools. In the excerpted introduction to her book of the same name, Klein describes a conversation she had with some New Orleans residents who were at a temporary shelter: The news racing around the shelter that day was that the Republican Congressman Richard Baker had told a group of lobbyists, “We finally cleaned up public housing in New Orleans. We couldn’t do it, but God did.” Joseph Canizaro, one of New Orleans’ wealthiest developers, had just expressed a similar sentiment: “I think we have a clean sheet to start again. And with that clean sheet we have some very big opportunities.” All that week Baton Rouge had been crawling with corporate lobbyists helping to lock in those big opportunities: lower taxes, fewer regulations, cheaper workers and a “smaller, safer city” – which in practice meant plans to level the public housing projects. Hearing all the talk of “fresh starts” and “clean sheets”, you could almost forget the toxic stew of rubble, chemical outflows and human remains just a few miles down the highway. Over at the shelter, Jamar could think of nothing else. “I really don’t see it as cleaning up the city. What I see is that a lot of people got killed uptown. People who shouldn’t have died.” He was speaking quietly, but an older man in line in front of us overheard and whipped around. “What is wrong with these people in Baton Rouge? This isn’t an opportunity. It’s a goddamned tragedy. Are they blind?” A mother with two kids chimed in. “No, they’re not blind, they’re evil. They see just fine.” One of those who saw opportunity in the floodwaters of New Orleans was the late Milton Friedman, grand guru of unfettered capitalism and credited with writing the rulebook for the contemporary, hyper-mobile global economy. Ninety-three years old and in failing health, “Uncle Miltie”, as he was known to his followers, found the strength to write an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal three months after the levees broke. “Most New Orleans schools are in ruins,” Friedman observed, “as are the homes of the children who have attended them. The children are now scattered all over the country. This is a tragedy. It is also an opportunity.” There, in essence, is the Shock Doctrine: your tragedy is my opportunity. Please do read the supplemental materials Klein provides, including the Milton Friedman newspaper editorial that proposes “vulture capitalism” as the way to rebuild New Orleans schools. This is why K12NN’s number one priority, and the priority of anyone who genuinely cares about strengthening public schools, is to fully fund existing public schools. We must repel the carrion-feeders who capitalize from misfortune, and if no natural disaster strikes, they ensure that man-made ones enacted through state legislatures’ austerity budgets, continued chronic underfunding, and cuts and triggers become the “new normal.” If hedge fund and billionaire philanthropists — who openly rub their hands in glee at the prospect of turning public schools into factory-like information delivery systems to children who are little else than sources of data — have their way, the impact of the 2007 Great Recession could be prolonged by deliberate political inaction into 2019 — long enough for profiteers to finish their hostile takeover of public schools. We cannot allow this to happen. We must continually remind each other that scarcity benefits profiteers. All cuts, no taxes ever is NOT the “new normal.” We must look to the ways that schools can and should be funded: by increasing revenue streams. Fund our public schools, or face losing a generation of young people and a vital pillar of our civil society.

June 21, 2012 June 21, 2012 disaster capitalism, Hurricane Katrina, Naomi Klein, New Orleans, public schools, shock doctrine, state K-12 budgets
Education as a Right-Wing Wedge Issue—and How to Stop It

Complete Storify notes of the panel discussion with Q&A and bios of the panelists.

June 15, 2012 June 15, 2012 conservative ed reform, Jose Vilson, Karran Harper Royal, Martha Infante, Public Education, public schools, Sabrina Stevens

There are no docs for this view.

Viewing 1-2 of 2 docs
Skip to toolbar