Monday, August 6, 2012

Charter School Shock and Awe 101

When Obama's Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan let slip the unfortunate quote about Hurricane Katrina being the best thing ever to happen to New Orleans Public Schools, he telegraphed one of the main strategies of the "reformers." If you've been fortunate enough to read Naomi Klein's book The Shock Doctrine you should be nodding your head about now. If not here's a little taste that shows exactly where this is headed :

“Countries are shocked—by wars, terror attacks, coups d’├ętat and natural disasters,” she writes. Then “they are shocked again—by corporations and politicians who exploit the fear and disorientation of this first shock to push through economic shock therapy.” People who resist are shocked for a third time, “by police, soldiers and prison interrogators.”  

In the case of New Orleans the city was decimated by Katrina and the eroding levees that allowed entire sections of the city to be submerged for days on end. It is precisely this sense of disorientation and desperation that the so called agents of change use to their advantage to ram through any and all of their agenda items while the populace is still reeling and in a compliant mood. While the deformers haven't to my knowledge figured out how to plan hurricanes and earthquakes they are extremely devoted to the narrative that THERE IS A CRISIS IN PUBLIC EDUCATION.  Or as one of the "consultants" at a high end breakfast meeting of investors puts it : 

The investors gathered in a tony private club in Manhattan were eager to hear about the next big thing, and education consultant Rob Lytle was happy to oblige. Think about the upcoming rollout of new national academic standards for public schools, he urged the crowd. If they're as rigorous as advertised, a huge number of schools will suddenly look really bad, their students testing way behind in reading and math. They'll want help, quick. And private, for-profit vendors selling lesson plans, educational software and student assessments will be right there to provide it.
"You start to see entire ecosystems of investment opportunity lining up," said Lytle, a partner at The Parthenon Group, a Boston consulting firm. "It could get really, really big."

Lesson Number One of Charter School 101 - Shock the public with HOW BAD PUBLIC SCHOOLS ARE.  This will soften them up for the AWE of what a nifty idea charter schools are. (And nobody has to know that yet again a small handful of people are getting VERY VERY RICH.)

In Buffalo we saw just last week a letter to the editor from yet another "reformer" lamenting the small gains in state test scores. She called it AN OUTRAGE. I think if all the scores went down 20% we'd have an outrage. The fact that they improved slightly seems to make sense just as the economy has improved slightly and we had a slight hope of improvement under Amber Dixon's leadership here.  But the "reformers" have their agenda and number one on the list is to make public schools look as bad possible no matter what it takes. And if anyone's wondering about these moronic APPR requirements and this asinine high stakes testing campaign, you guessed it. They both serve to make public school teachers and their students look BAD. As long as public schools look good the Charterians have nothing to shock the public into compliance with. But can you imagine for one second Linda Darling Hammond whom Duncan nosed out for the job saying anything as irresponsible and downright dumb? No that's why they picked Arne, a useful idiot who will do the bidding of the corporate master in Charterland.  And just as the Original Shock and Awers would point and scream accusingly at anyone who opposed them DON'T YOU LOVE YOUR COUNTRY ?  our new crew uses a similar tact in their own mantra when they say IT'S ALL FOR THE CHILDREN.


  1. So here we are--the charterlitans are doing whatever they can to secure themselves in the public's eye. I really hope people who read this honestly don't think that they "DO IT FOR THE CHILDREN." I honestly hope that people realize that none of this is for the children. It's for a select few's pocket books.

    Remember when James A. Williams came to Buffalo and many BTF members said that he would ruin the BPS? Here it is. He did what he could to smash the union (didn't succeed). He definitely had a great hand in creating more chaos in the BPS than has ever been seen before.

    And those who believe in "REFORM" are the same people who cheered for JAWs when he was hired in Buffalo. Seriously. I remember having conversations with people (many of whom are currently cheering on the deform movement) when he came to town and they were SO EXCITED for his arrival!

    And now look at us...

  2. Yeah Slim it does seem to be part of the same dynamic in play. M&T CEO and Bordeaux chateau owner Robert Wilmers was allowed to handle the search and found an anti-union pro charter wrecking ball who'd be able to create such chaos that there'd simply be no other option but to open up more charters. It worked in Dayton, at least for a little while so Wilmers thought it might work here too. There's the rub that gets me every time, that millionaire old prick knew EXACTLY what he was bringing in here and it was NOT for the good of anyone's children or anyone's education. It was to SHOCK everyone with what a CRISIS the Buffalo Public Schools were in which would open the floodgates to charters. But Nobody in this fucking city has or had the balls to get up in his banker face and say you son of a bitch, look what you did to our schools, you have really brought down some seriously bad karma on yourself and I hope I am nowhere near you when that meteorite hits. Not ONE of the blowhards in or out of the school system or any of the spineless politicians took him to task for the willfull and premeditated destruction of Buffalo's Schools. That's the problem with being one of the players, you can't lay into a banker whose influence you might need no matter what kind of scumbag deals he swings. Naturally the cheerleaders have all moved on to cheer for charters which is probably the only reason they cheered Williams too. The guy was not a warm fuzzy just folks kinda guy he was an arrogant SOB so don't tell me Chris Jacobs about the "friendship" he betrayed when he applied secretly for the Memphis Schools job. None of the perps did any time for this disaster, they all walked, like the good Dr. and Casey Anthony and we all sat here with our jaws on the floor saying I can't effing believe this. It's like Jesus with some of the so called Christians you meet. If true REFORM ever came to town the "REFORMERS" would be the last people to know it.

  3. The "millionaire pricks" generally don't care too much about what happens to their "customers", only what happens to their bottom lines.