PRIVATIZING EDUCATION–YET ANOTHER ELITIST SCAM

In 1988, my first and only child was born and with her birth came the almost indescribable and unimaginable mixture of emotions that I’m certain most new parents experience.  The minute she appeared, I knew without hesitation that someone with a severely twisted sense of humor was standing over some cosmic blender creating ad hoc a numbing concoction of torturous emotions.

This twisted chef with green drool dripping from its evil grin, glowing eyes and demonic chuckle was tossing in equal parts of excitement, trepidation, fear, angst, joy, hope, worry and some extra “holy shit; what in hell did we do?” then for a little extra fun pours in some exhaustion and some god-awfully smelly diapers; turns on the blender to puree and sits back to enjoy the fun.

And there you have it; the very reason(s) my daughter is an only child AND my utter confusion as to why the rest of the world fails to see and utilize the easiest, cheapest, most natural form of population-limiting birth control available; the experience of the first child.

What person bearing any semblance of sanity whatsoever would do such a thing more than once???  Even in my youthful stupidity I learned after the first time not to jump out of the back of a pickup onto the gravel road while traveling at 30mph, so I ask; why does ANYONE repeatedly slam their heads against the proverbial concrete sidewalk?

As if the concoction wasn’t quite right, the demon cook, now bored with the original maelstrom swirling around in the pureed mass of what was once a stable, happily married, fun-loving, human couple belatedly tosses in education to spice it up a bit.

What to do!  Where to go!  How do we know what’s right for her?  “Holy shit; what in hell did we do?”

In California, shortly after the human can of gasoline was tossed into our fire, a hotly debated issue began to emerge during what can easily be seen now as the dawn of the decline of the world’s seventh largest economy; a debate centered around what, perhaps arguably was once the premier system of easily accessible higher education as it began showing the signs of failure and in fact is now literally coming apart at the seams.  Granted, we had a few years to worry about higher education, but the immediate concern of primary education was even then a system that was already in the throes of decay.

If one studies education in the United States they can readily see a less than stellar system from the very beginning.  We have, rather than education, a means to instill conformity and rudimentary training, the development of which, curiously enough coincided with the Industrial Revolution.

For the average Jack and Jill in the United States we don’t actually have a system of personal education and never have; what we do have is a hodgepodge of the six “Rs” – readin, rote, ritin, rithmatic, religion and racism; all traits that were necessary to work in the United States’ industrial complex developed simultaneously with the “education” system of the mid 19th century, the system that still exists (all be it in a dilapidated form) today.

Ralph Waldo Emerson – “We learn nothing rightly until we learn the symbolical character of life….I believe that our own experience instructs us that the secret of Education lies in respecting the pupil. It is not for you to choose what he shall know, what he shall do. It is chosen and foreordained, and he only holds the key to his own secret. By your tampering and thwarting and too much governing he may be hindered from his end and kept out of his own. Respect the child. Wait and see the new product of Nature. Nature loves analogies, but not repetitions. Respect the child. Be not too much his parent. Trespass not on his solitude.”

Also, in the womb of American education was a system developed in the far northeastern sector of the United States, a system of vouchers which would allow a student to attend a public school in a local community outside that in which the student lived as a stop-gap measure for small townships which could not afford to establish a formal education system on their own.

However! In the mid 1950s, an economist and metacapitalist by the name of Milton Friedman promoted the concept of vouchers for an entirely different reason – to promote privatization of public education.  Friedman’s theory was that privatizing the education system would promote “healthy competition,” thereby improving the quality of education.  Given the fact that this debate was considered as long ago as 62 years, gives reason to believe that education in America was less than stellar even then.

Friedman’s theory of “free market education” is widely accepted by most, if not all right-wing ultra-conservatives (and to be fair, a small congregation of “Democrats” as well) including billionaire John T Walton (son of Walmart’s founder Sam Walton), Grover Norquist, David Boaz and Ed Crane of the Cato Institute; conservative author Dinesh D’Souza; Dean Clancy, who was an education policy analyst for House Majority Leader Dennis Hastert; and Howard Phillips, the once president of the Conservative Caucus.

Wisconsin State Representative Chris Sinicki, who was a Milwaukee School Board member when vouchers began in Milwaukee in 1990, says there is no doubt that vouchers “are a Republican strategy to take down public education and the unions. This is partisan politics, completely.”

Other very notable conservatives include John McCain and the Republican Party’s heir-apparent, Willard Mitt Romney.

When you look at the true underlying reasons in support for privatization of education, you quickly realize that it has absolutely nothing to do with education in and of itself, in fact I dare say that most of the supporters probably couldn’t care less about the benefits of real education for those in what they perceive as the lessor ranks of America’s society; or perhaps they do care and fear the results that educating the masses would give rise to; at any rate the issue emanates purely from political and economical classification; it divides the classes more effectively than anything else other than direct ethnic and racist policies.

From an ultra-capitalist’s “republic” perspective, the privatization of education accomplishes the following:

  • Creates a multi-billion dollar windfall for corporations
  • Aids in the ever-present goal of the conservative’s superiority concept of separating the cream from the milk so to speak
  • Reduces the concept of public sector
  • Drastically reduces, if not totally disbanding unions related to education, one of the few remaining union strongholds and arguably the most influential
  • Redistribution of wealth and political power

The name of another supporter should be of no surprise to you for his home state continues to make attempts to privatize education and George W Bush continues to promote his reign’s failures in education policies.

In less than a month, on June 22, King George II will bring his charade-parade to Las Vegas to continue his promotion of separating the economic and social classes in the U.S.  He will be speaking (if one can logically use that term within the same sentence as George W Bush) at Mandalay Bay during a meeting of the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities – APSCU an organization that promotes furthering the already misuse of more than 32 billion dollars in OUR tax money for private business, a presentation sponsored by an organization highly suspect in fraudulent use of non-profit funds to influence politics – Pearson

Pearson is a large, publicly-traded, corporate conglomerate diversified in publishing textbooks (ask ANY student about the absurd costs of textbooks and see for yourself the wondrous effects of capitalism in education), testing and certification, education software development and consumer publication.

Any time King George II is in town, I will be there along with the rest of Occupy Las Vegas, to protest the continued funneling of tax dollars to private organizations.  We need to improve education for our children and for the future of this country, not hand over to Wall Street our tax money to do what we’ve seen them do best – destroy our future.

There are social benefits that should NEVER be privatized; education, healthcare, fire and police protection, social aid and government itself and  I worry the latter on the list is not far away as we continue to see our social programs be consumed as rapidly as we consume fossil fuels.

I worry about the future of my daughter and the future of all Earth’s children as our politicians continue to give what wealth we have remaining to the private corporations to expand the ever-widening gap between the elite and the rest of us.

For more on this story, see David Halperin’s article on “Huff Post.”

 

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