TWO PARTIES? — NOT WHEN IT COMES TO EDUCATION POLICY
The Indiana Legislature has a supermajority of Republicans so it’s not surprising that they are opposed in almost everything they do by the Democratic minority.
Republicans have favored, and Democrats have opposed, almost all the public education legislation of the last few years which favors privatizers, opposes public schools and their teachers, and channels money away from public education through for-profit charters and vouchers:
- the end of collective bargaining and due process for teachers
- the increase in funding for charter schools (which, for the umpteenth time do not perform better than regular public schools)
- the voucher plan and the expansion of the voucher plan which transfers public funds to private and parochial schools
- the evaluation of teachers using test scores
In addition, the requirements for becoming an educator (teacher or administrator) in Indiana have now been lowered so that an education background is not necessary.
Is this a case of the Republican Philosophy of public education versus the Democratic Philosophy of public education? Only partially — the exception being vouchers — because in other places, the Democrats lead the fight for so-called “reform” of public education. To see the bipartisanship in the corporate quest to destroy America’s public education system we here in Indiana have only to look next door to our neighbors in Illinois…
[The bill] makes teacher tenure and layoffs contingent on student achievement and makes it easier for school districts to dismiss tenured teachers deemed ineffective based on student performance.
The phrases “student achievement” and “student performance” mean test scores, of course.
Quinn was joined by legislators, a school marching band and other stakeholders such as Dan Montgomery, president of the Illinois Federation of Teachers, Jonah Edelman, head of reform group Stand for Children and Jo Anderson, senior aide to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, who lauded the bill. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel — who will benefit directly from the law by gaining the power to extend his city’s school day — also attended.
Aside from the sell-out IFT president, Jonah Edelman is notorious as an anti-public education “reformer” as readers of Diane Ravitch’s blog are aware. Arne Duncan (and by association, his representative) is no friend of public education. And you can read here to see what Rahm Emanuel has done to the children of Chicago…
The Democratic supermajority in the Illinois legislature and the Democratic governor have supported much of the same “education reform” plan as the Republican supermajority and Republican governor in Indiana. The Democrats in Illinois have gone further in one area, though…they have attacked the teachers’ pension fund.
The sheer arrogance of Illinois Sen.Biss (D) glares from his latest emailed newsletter. After he cut teacher pensions, he offers a workshop for finding “retirement security” – via his buddies.
BEWARE THE FOXES
Someone once said that our two major party politicians are like members of the canine family. Republicans, he said, are wolves: it’s clear where they stand on the issues. Their disdain for public education is open and vicious. On the other hand, the Democrats are like foxes: they smile at you to make you think they’re your friends – and then, when you least expect it, they devour you.
I’m not suggesting to those who are fighting the privatization of public education that they ignore what their local politicians have done when election time rolls around next November. However, we must remember that no matter what the partisan label a politician has next to his or her name the campaign contributions from the Broads, Gates, Waltons and other school “reformers” will go a long way towards corporatizing politicians of both parties.
The corporate takeover of public education is bipartisan. Work for the defeat of the “wolves,” but beware of the “foxes.”
MORE FROM AROUND THE BLOGOSPHERE…
The nation’s third largest school district, the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) has a total of 681 schools. The announcement follows the plans to shut 26 public schools in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and 15 public schools in the nation’s capital, Washington, DC. Detroit, Michigan has closed 130 schools since 2005, including 40 in 2010, and has plans to close another 28.
These closings are part of Obama’s administration’s program of “school reform,” which is aimed at victimizing teachers, shutting down public schools and privatizing education through the expansion of charter schools.
Gordon Hendry may, in fact, be on the state board to carry out the Democrats for Education Reform’s hedge fund agenda for education, since word on the street is the DFER is seeking to buy out the Indiana Democratic Party. There have been signs. In April of 2013, in order to help hide campaign funding, Larry Grau—Hoosier waterboy for the New York hedge fund managers–filed the papers for an Indiana PAC where the hedge fund money will start rolling. Since the hedge fund managers know that Hoosiers may kick the Republicans to the curb in the upcoming elections, they see this as the perfect opportunity to move in for the kill. It would be wise for voters to start monitoring the campaign donations of their local Democrats now.
Interestingly enough, at the same time Ritz’s teacher-backed insurgency prevailed, a Democrats for Education Reform-backed reform slate took strong control of the Indianapolis Public Schools board.
Change within the Indianapolis Public Schools board is coming faster than expected even for The Mind Trust, the locally based education reform group pushing for a sweeping transformation of the district.
Tuesday’s election saw three reform-minded IPS board candidates—Gayle Cosby, Caitlin Hannon and Sam Odle—win their races by sizeable margins. Another candidate, reform-minded incumbent Diane Arnold, ran unopposed.
Combine the four with like-minded board members Samantha Adair-White and Annie Roof, who won in 2010, and The Mind Trust could have allies in six of the seven seats.
MORE FROM THIS BLOG…
All who envision a more just, progressive and fair society cannot ignore the battle for our nation’s educational future. Principals fighting for better schools, teachers fighting for better classrooms, students fighting for greater opportunities, parents fighting for a future worthy of their child’s promise: their fight is our fight. We must all join in.