|Using federal school rescue funds to feed private school operators.
I find myself wishing for a storm in Chicago — an unpredictable, haughty, devastating swirl of fury. A dramatic levee break. Geysers bursting through manhole covers. A sleeping city, forced onto the rooftops. " -- Kristen McQueary, Chicago Tribune Editorial BoardRethinking corona-era schooling seems to be the order of the day for progressives and community educators. But rest assured, we're not the only ones doing the rethinking. Fifteen years ago, the shock & awe that came with Hurricane Katrina, left the door open for conservative ideologues like Friedman, along with the privateers and charter hustlers to reimagine the Gulf Coast disaster not as a crisis, but as an opportunity for privatization and profit.
I remember Obama's Secretary of Education Arne Duncan calling Katrina “the best thing that happened to the education system in New Orleans,” because it gave the city a chance to bust the teachers union, fire the predominantly-black teaching force, and replace every public school with a privately-run charter.
Back home in Chicago, the Tribune's Kristen McQueary wished for a similar disaster to strike our city so it might follow the New Orleans example.
It looks like she finally got her wish.
Now, as educators, parents, students, and local officials ponder the impending reopening of schools, another battle is brewing between the defenders of public space and decision-making and the same group of corporate "reformers", now headed by the likes of Trump's ed secretary Betsy DeVos.
Case in point -- While we try and reimagine post-corona schools as small, safe, public centers of community health and education, where ubiquitous technology supports teacher/student relationships, Trump/DeVos are forcing public school districts to spend their federal rescue funding on private school students, regardless of income.
The New York Times reports:
A range of education officials say Ms. DeVos’s guidance would divert millions of dollars from disadvantaged students and force districts starved of tax revenues during an economic crisis to support even the wealthiest private schools. The association representing the nation’s schools superintendents told districts to ignore the guidance, and at least two states — Indiana and Maine — said they would.to impose his Race To The Top "reform" strategy on local school districts and to punish mostly black and Latino, inner-city schools for their low test scores, to leverage mass school closings and teacher firings.
More on the coming battle and rethinking corona-era schools to follow.
TOMORROW ON HITTING LEFT... Brother Fred and I will be doing our own reimagining along with Chicago teacher/author Greg Michie and some of his students. The show is scheduled to run tomorrow at 11 CT but may run instead on Saturday due to corona-related issues. Check out our FB page @HittingLeft for more on this. You can now download the Lumpen Radio app for easy listening.
Greg is the author of two must-reads for educators: Holler If You Hear Me & Same As It Never Was.