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    ] Charter Schools and the ultimate disinformation

    by Michael Martin

    I'm sorry, I fail to see the logic in any of this. I was an early supporter of charter schools and still believe they have a role to play in society. I was on legislative staff in Arizona when a Democratic senator asked me about the idea circulating to create charter schools and I argued that there were many circumstances where a charter school would be valuable, such as a shelter for domestic violence victims, for migrant children where the school could follow the harvest, and other examples.

    But don't make charter schools the scapegoat for what is clearly another agenda that is exploiting charter schools.

    This discussion of why the federal government is mandating charter schools despite evidence they fail to improve test scores should first of all recognize that they may be mandating charter schools BECAUSE they fail to improve test scores. You ASSUME that their impetus is to improve the lives of children because that is what motivates you, but there is no evidence that it motivates them.

    We just completed a thread about a corporate sponsored commission that explicitly excluded any people who have to look at school children each morning. This commission included as its primary sponsor the Achieve organization that was founded by the person who was CEO of R.J. Rynolds Tobacco when it promoted Joe Camel to poison children. So why do you persist in thinking the basis of the argument about education in general has anything to do with the welfare of children?

    Look at the original arguments that formed the basis for charter schools and the primary argument was that charter schools would be cheaper. That private enterprise would run schools cheaper than public schools. Recognize that the primary impetus now for charters is that they will break the unions and their high wage demands. Mandating charter schools represents the same logic as mandating tax cuts regardless of the consequences. Specifically it means they want government cheaper regardless of the consequences.

    You talk about "possible" racism when former President Carter points out that the national discussion about incivility arises only because of the fact that the President is Black. The clear message behind the healthcare controversy is that it will provide healthcare to "them" while most of "us" already have healthcare. Consider why the anti-healthcare rallies often featured angry people who are on the federal healthcare program Medicare opposing a federal healthcare program for the poor and there isn't much logical ground other than to consider racism. But I would suggest that racism is not the primary issue either.

    I suggest it would be more astute to recognize that it is really a synthesis of racism and classism. In particular, we have developed a multinational upper class that sees everything in terms of dollars, including people. They view everyone who is not in their class as "them" and see all children other than their own as nothing more than the equivalent of farm animals, as labor inputs, as creatures. And they see politics as nothing more than dollars spent to control politicians.

    Sitting on my desk are books titled The Global Class War and The Divine Right of Capital and The Transnational Capitalist Class and The Soul of Capitalism and Global Capitalism which talk about a huge reality you are ignoring.

    But don't make corporations the scapegoat for what is clearly another agenda that is exploiting corporations either. Most people work for corporations and most people are justly proud of the corporations they work for and what they contribute to the world. But most people have nothing in common with the multinational upper class that controls most major corporations.

    The fundamental issue is not charter schools and it is not corporations or capitalism (which I also support), it is clearly a class of people who believe that money defines everything. They see nations and citizens as archaic. I call them The New Aryans because they have the same philosophical conception of themselves being supra-national superior beings and everyone else being expendable.

    We are sitting on the verge of an incredible moment in history when the ideals behind America and American public education are poised to sweep the world. For many years we lived by the credo inscribed on the Statue of Liberty that what were considered "refuse" in other lands could come to America and transcend class. Public education was specifically developed to turn the children of refuse into people free to transform the world. Today we are seeing children around the world given the opportunity to go to school and transform themselves and their world. In China and India more and more children of virtual serfs are given the opportunity of an education and the eventual opportunity to create a society that transcends class.

    But today we also see the multinational upper class reacting to these opportunities by creating initiatives in each country through their economic power to ensure that education creates only a worker class. Their vision of the world is a global class of leaders dominating their "workers" as if they were little more than beasts of burden and the workers have no unions, no rights, no opportunity to transcend class. Doesn't it occur to anyone here that the ultimate goal of these New Aryans is to create a sweatshop America? If you look closely at the Abramoff scandal of corrupting Congress a few years ago it was founded on the political machinations of maintaining sweatshops in American Guam.

    Just as a mental exercise, pretend that you are a New Aryan with a global interest in maintaining your class. How would you go about doing that? Think about it. What would you do to ensure that your labor inputs do not influence your decisions? Would you want education to be defined entirely in terms of employability and to de-emphasize civics and history and logical thinking? Would you want schools to be controlled by mandates from easily corrupted federal authorities instead of myriad elected community leaders who have to look parents and teachers and children in the eye every day? Would you see diversity in common schools as a unifying influence, or would you see it as losing the opportunity to pit groups against each other? If you cannot figure it out as a mental exercise, I predict it will be imposed on you. Not difficult to predict since they are obviously in the process of doing it.

    — Michael Martin
    EDDRA discussion list


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