Sunday, December 4, 2016

Another Way for the Rich to Make Life Worse for the Poor

As our government looks more and more like a plutocracy with every new announcement from the President-elect, it is worth remembering that attacks on public education are as significant as those on climate control. In the latest (December 8) issue of The New York Review, Diane Ravitch has written a piece about two recent studies of the efforts to privatize our education system. The second of these, by Mercedes K. Schneider, says it all in the book title: School Choice: The End of Public Education?

One paragraph from Ravitch's treatment of this book is worth reproducing:
Schneider documents the encouragement by the administrations of George W. Bush and Barack Obama for the growth of the charter industry. And she follows the money trail, showing the millions poured into charter proliferation by the Waltons and other billionaires. Charter advocates say that they support charters and minority students from "failing" public schools. Walmart employs an astonishing 1.4 million people in the United States alone, many of whom are paid less than the minimum wage. The Waltons would have a more dramatic impact on the well-being of children by paying their workers a minimum wage of $15 an hour than they do by opening charter schools and enfeebling community public school.
In other words "the well-being of children" is simply not part of the equation, particularly if those children are in or near poverty. The change that Obmaha encouraged us to hope for is not going to happen because the rich are not content with having it all. They also insist of keeping it all. The idea that education may enable a future generation to rise to similar heights is simply not acceptable to them.

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