Britt Dickerson wrote an insightful essay entitled “Investors Ready to Liquidate Public Schools” about the corporate raid on America’s public schools. Dickerson writes:
“Plans are under way for investment corporations to execute the biggest conversion – some call it theft – of public schools property in U.S. history.
That is not hyperbole. Investment bankers themselves estimate that their taking over public schools is going to result in hundreds of billions of dollars in profit, if they can pull it off.”
Much has been written about the free market corporate plans to cash in on the public dollars associated with RTTT policies and the exploitation of children as profit producing capital. However, less has been written about how to stop the freight train loaded with venture capitalists hell-bent on reaching the destination of a totally unfettered free market of education in the U.S.
Dickerson succinctly distills the solution. Who has the power to stop the corporate raiders?
- Educators, parents, and concerned community members who “rally to maintain local, democratic control of public schools” … who understand that “any degree of standardization that comes from beyond the state only serves large, nation-wide investor interests.”
- Educators who “successfully counter the investor propaganda that parents are the only true stakeholders in a child’s education.” Only “then raiders can be opposed successfully. The oldest to the youngest and richest to poorest members of every community are the true stakeholders in public schools and public education.”
- Democratically elected school boards that “stay empowered to make decisions for the local public schools,” … able to resist the raider process.”
- Stakeholders who “successfully press legislators to listen to them instead of paid, professional lobbyists hired by large, investor-owned charter corporations… .”
The total destruction of our nation’s public school system is predicated on the elimination of local control over public schools. Lou Gerstner, former CEO of IBM and current advisor to the Carlyle Group, who served as a chief architect of systemic education reform in the 90s, understood the need to wrestle control away from local school boards in order to push forward free market corporate education reforms. Gerstner’s legacy among corporate education reformers was cemented in 1996 when he brought together the corporate world with state governors at the IBM headquarters in Palisades to establish the education reform agenda for the nation. This meeting brought us Achieve — the organization that is credited with the development of the Common Core standards. In 2008, Gerstner summarized what he had learned over the years as a leading voice in education reform for the The Wall Street Journal. One of his recommendations addressed the issue of local control over public schools:
“Abolish all local school districts, save 70 (50 states; 20 largest cities). Some states may choose to leave some of the rest as community service organizations, but they would have no direct involvement in the critical task of establishing standards, selecting teachers, and developing curricula.”
Need I say more?