Limited time only: education privatisation

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Via Yves at Naked Capitalism, you have a few hours left to read this article by Yasha Levine at NSFWCORP (the article is pretty much safe for work…). It’s normally behind a paywall, but using a model that allows philanthropically-minded people to expose the article to the public by paying for limited-time general access.

The subject is the massive onslaught of attempts at “philanthro-capitalist” K-12 privatisation in the USA that have been proceeding for the past few years and are one of the most under-reported big US news stories. It deserves a lot more attention, especially with the Michelle Rhee test faking scandal. In this case, it’s about intimidating poor people.

It’s a story of utter corruption packaged and sold as a Triumph of the Human Spirit. It’s nothing less than a collective molestation. A sample:

I first heard about the fight through the local right-wing paper, the Victorville Daily Press, which gleefully announced on its front page that a local school, Desert Trails Elementary, had just made history as the first school in the nation to be privatized under California’s new “parent trigger” law. The paper described the takeover as “promising a fresh start to the failing elementary school,” and claimed it had received widespread support from parents.

Put simply, a parent trigger law allows a group of parents to hand over their kids’ public schools to private contractors, and then allows these new private contractors to tear up teacher union contracts and fire or hire as they see fit — all while receiving taxpayer money to fund their private-charter school business.

The law works like this: If enough parents sign a trigger petition (representing more than 50% of the number of students in the school), they can fire its principal, lay off unionized teachers or hand it over to a private charter school company.

“They were there every day, every morning and every afternoon,” says Maggie Flamenco, a mother of two special-needs children enrolled in Desert Trails, and a member of the Adelanto’s Special Education Parent Advisory Committee. We met at a Denny’s just around the corner from Desert Trails Elementary. The way Flamenco describes it, the trigger campaign was much more like a low-intensity war designed to break the parents’ will using intimidation, harassment and deception, than anything like the “empowerment” that the Parent Trigger advocates claimed it was.

She described to me how Parent Revolution volunteers would block cars with their bodies to get the parent driver to sign their parent -trigger petition; how they’d knock on windows, hound and follow parents when they dropped their kids off and when they picked them up after school. They were so persistent about it that it got to the point where parents like Maggie dreaded going to collect their own children.

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This page contains a single entry by Mandos published on April 19, 2013 6:45 AM.

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