This coming week will see the “Nation’s Largest-Ever School Choice Celebration.” With the ESEA reauthorization process firmly underway and charter school funding largely undebated and undiscussed as a failed experiment by federal policy makers, clearly a celebration is in order for free market devotees and corporate/entrepreneur ed reformers. Sure, Lamar Alexander is hailed as a hero for holding congressional hearings to discuss the overuse and misuse of standardized testing, but he and his cronies are are very pleased to divert attention away from the big grab for the privatization of public schools.
January 23-31 is now officially, albeit self-proclaimed by school choice/charter advocates, National School Choice Week:
“The largest celebration of school choice in US history will officially start on Friday, January 23, 2015 at a special event in Jacksonville, Florida.
National School Choice Week 2015 will kick off at the Florida Theatre at 12:30 pm on January 23. The event is the first event of an unprecedented 11,082 independently planned and independently funded special events taking place across all 50 states during the Week, which runs until January 31, 2015.
The goal of the Week is to shine a positive spotlight on effective education options for children, and to raise awareness of the importance of, and benefits of, school choice in a variety of forms.”
Headliners for the School Choice Week kickoff celebration include Senator John McCain and Vice President Joe Biden’s brother, Frank, along with other notables from well-funded charter school organizations and we can look forward to a dizzying 11,000 events across the country.
Milton Friedman would be so proud. What an absolute testament to the economic policies of Ronald Reagan. This is the fruition of all they hoped for in education policy for the U.S. We can thank Reagan for making Friedman’s voucher concept politically palatable in our country when he substituted the term “school vouchers” to the more benign term “school choice.” H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and now Barack Obama, would continue to promote school choice through charter schools — attaching all the accoutrements of equity, civil rights, and education excellence to the p.r. campaign to the American public — while stripping away the democratic intentions of local school governance. The free market of education policy is the clear winner. The private sector is celebrating and planning their next strategy for grabbing the tax dollars that students carry with them into the schoolhouse door and the federal grants that will help create more and more charter schools. And now they’ve claimed a national week of celebration. Presidents get a day to honor them; Martin Luther King gets a day; labor gets a day; there’s one 4th of July; but — school choice advocates have proclaimed an entire week. The dog is off the chain!