Of course RTTT is extortion. Of course no one is talking much about it beyond some of us in the choir. Fear and intimidation. The rentier class, the big moneyed elite are controlling the message. Witness: Wikileaks, Schwartz, etc. Most conclude NCLB was the scaffolding for RTTT. In fact, the beginning of educational tyranny began long before that fateful report, “A Nation at Risk.”
From the East India Trading Co. to Eisenhower’s warning of the takeover by a military-industrial complex. We already know about all that. Education without Civil Rights, without Brown v. Board of Education overturning Plessy v. Ferguson. We are approaching the culmination of the extraction of our natural resources, our public resources and the financial segregation and creation of a true underclass majority by the will of elitist corporate power with the aid of heavily armed governments. We know the history and continue to avoid the future. What’s that? The future is now. Right? And still, people work within the rules of the tyrannical privatization of the commons and wish and hope their good works can somehow reverse the inevitable takeaway of large public assets?
Our public schools, human beings, are becoming metrics in the global financialization. This is not the generational war of information and politics like the Vietnam Conflict protests of the 60s. It is bipartisan GERM warfare. All the stalls in negotiations, rules changes, extortionist value added measurements are distractions that also serve the purpose of eliminating teachers, unions, and encouraging the return of a segregated society.
[Okay, this is where I usually get, "Don't knock those who are still 'in there' doing their best." I'm not knocking anyone for the choices they make. What concerns me is that not much has been done compared to all the complaining. I could be totally wrong. Maybe education will not be financialized from pre-K through graduate school. Maybe public schools will not be overcome by vulture capitalism. Could be charter online schools are not going to blot out the traditional public school as a community asset of ideas, education, as a means of personal and social advancement. But if we want to save public schools, the autonomy of teachers, our unions, find a true democracy, we need to unite.]
Fear and intimidation.
As the growth of charters continues (continuing to receive funding without strings as public schools are held to increased scrutiny and extortionist policies for funding), parents and their kids will be able to choose the charter that is the best fit for them. As long as they can afford it, while their local public schools approach default.
Those who don’t have the discretionary income to cover tuition and book costs, travel expenses, etc. incurred to attend private charters, have no choice but to send their kids to the public schools where learning opportunities are mostly inferior because teachers have to deal with so many levels of ability and experience in each classroom. Classrooms that continue to grow in size as budgets for public education are increasingly targeted for defunding. Title I public schools, predominant in high poverty areas, are having their budgets cut so much that it becomes almost impossible to create skill level continuity for any classroom. The lineup of poorly trained new TFAs appear with more frequency in the classrooms. As charters, even those initially offering free tuition, free books, computers, etc., are sited within the same neighborhoods where established public schools exist, privatization, like all profit-based enterprises, will quickly shift costs to the consumer. This is a planned quietus of the lower classes.
While public school budgets are purposely defunded, private equity speculation in charter school education is prepensely encouraged by public funding (with no strings attached) and added to an almost unlimited source of private backing. Public schools are likely to become low information, psuedo-vocational schools where those who find a job might survive. For those who don’t make it, there are a lot of burgers to flip, streets to live in, and prisons waiting. Okay, maybe there are great public schools out there in high poverty areas beating the odds. But they face great opposition by the power of Wall Street, our federal government, and private equity buyouts which capitalize and profitize yet another public sector ripe for the picking, public schools.
Fear and intimidation.
So, we have a few schools refusing to test. Where is everybody else? Until we all refuse to participate in the extortionist war on public schools and its staff, until there is unilateral organization to refuse financialization of public schools on a national level, a willingness to teach in an alternative setting to profitized education, to encourage loss of private market share profit through extraordinary means, or find another job until there is a return to schooling as a public good. Such push back efforts become a stimulus to the return of publicly held markets enabling schooling as a public asset that can best school our children. Until then, the extortion as distraction continues.