The public education deterioration metastasizes  Crime scene: Rhode Island

It seems that the “turnover artists” (for they turnover schools to privatizers) are pillaging Rhode Island public schools as we knew they eventually would.  While Obama plays hacki sak with Republicans over a public option for health care on TV, capitalism takes more and more victims in our public schools.  This time, 93 teachers in Rhode Island will be fired.  Yes, the ‘turnaround artists’, as they like to call themselves, are at it again, feeding off disaster economics as I have noted in many cities.  The carnage is brutal, the attack unrelenting.

Be clear: it is a crime scene and needs to be seen as such.  The Obama administration is channeling the destruction of public education through Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, water carrier for the ruling class.  It goes unnoticed in the corporate press of course; but not in the head count of those slain by Gates, The Walton Family (Wal-Mart (who now has ‘internships’ in at least four Detroit High Schools) Eli Broad, The Fisher Family (owners of the Gap) Reed Hastings (NetFlix) and a host of other such philanthro-capitalists.  These barons of the Gilded Age of late stage capitalism are decimating education while feasting off of huge bailouts and bonuses and they accomplish their ravaging by assuring the massive hemorrhaging of public education and then stepping in with their Wal-Mart plans for reconstituting the institutions.  In this plan for the “new schools” parents and their children become ‘consumers’, teachers and their aids become ‘associates’ and the ‘educational product’ becomes similar to a cheap Chinese import.

The following sums it up nicely from veteran teacher, Paul Moore.  Thank you, Paul.

By Paul A. Moore, 27 year veteran teacher in a “failing inner city school

Lately I’ve been trying to figure out which has been the lowest performing US bank. Can’t tell if it was Goldman Sachs. Must not have been because they’re giving their chief, Lloyd Blankfein, a $9 million bonus this year.  Maybe it was J.P. Morgan Chase because they needed a multi-billion dollar taxpayer bailout. But it couldn’t be them because their headmaster, Jamie Dimon, is due a $17.9 million bonus.

Hell, whichever banks it was that nearly plunged this country into an economic Stone Age and martial law, they seem to have gotten a pass. Their excuse, “to big to fail”, seems to have actually been bought. There has been no “reconstitution” or “turnaround” for anybody at Goldman, J.P. Morgan, Citigroup, BOA, Wells Fargo, and their gambling buddies at AIG. What a strange form of accountability!

It’s crazy. There are about a hundred teachers at this poverty-ridden community school in Rhode Island and if you added their salaries together and multiplied by a hundred you would not be even close to Blankfein’s bonus. And even after the school’s parents and the teacher’s families and loved ones turned out in huge numbers to plead for justice. And even after it has been established beyond all doubt that a perfect correlation exists between a child’s economic station and academic achievement as it is measured by standardized tests, these teachers are going to be destroyed.

Destroyed is a strong word but suggest another one for arbitrarily and unfairly taking a working mother or father’s livelihood, men and women without stock options and investment portfolios to tide them over until another job comes along. The school’s students are living in the most desperate circumstances Rhode Island suffers. But no excuses, dammit! Accountability will be served, as long as you don’t summer in a Swiss chalet.

As a teacher in a “failing” inner city high school for 27 years now, I’m as powerless and vulnerable as my brothers and sisters in Rhode Island, but a warning to those hurting people whose only sin is to teach the children of the working poor. If you are making these decisions President Obama, then be warned. If you are making these decisions, US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, then be warned. If the oligarchs, Gates, Broad, Bloomberg, are making these decisions, be warned. If the banks on welfare or the men of the Business Roundtable are making these decisions, be warned.

History is replete with instances of empires, nations and societies turned upside down. When that happens the social order that shields the decision makers from their victims evaporates overnight. Suddenly humble working people like those at Central Falls High are able to reach out and touch their former overlords. Under this new set of circumstances you can probably look forward to a simple and straightforward one-question exam.

And when they ask, “Why did you do these things to us?”, you had better have a good answer prepared. The strictest accountability will apply on this test. No bailouts permitted.

Paul A. Moore

You can read more about the carnage at:

http://www.examiner.com/x-22126-Worcester-County-Progressive-Examiner~y2010m2d25-School-District-fires-93-people-from-Central-Falls-RI-High-School-Part-1

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/24/education/24teacher.html?hpw