Saturday, December 8, 2012

The Privatizers Borrowing a Page from War Profiteers

When the Bush regime wanted to invade Iraq they needed to create a case for their war plans. Now they couldn't come right out and say Dick Cheney's former company Halliburton was a ready made war caterer or that Poppa Bush's friendly conglomeration of arms dealers aka The Carlyle Group was waiting in the wings to swell their profits. Erik Prince's dirty little band of ragtag war criminals, drunks, steroid and meth heads with itchy trigger fingers stood poised to become a billion dollar enterprise hiring guns for roughly 5 times the salary of Green Berets, Rangers and SEALS. No, the Bush regime had to come up with a better explanation for their plan than enriching KBR, Blackwater and gun dealers not to mention the oil if they could steal that too.  So they found an old drum and started banging it. Along the way they made their case with some intel that caused the MI6 in London to belly laugh at its poor fake quality as they dismissed it as fraudulent. Bush's guys made no such admission though, they dusted off the boot prints and added it to their folio of why need war, NOW. Eventually they discredited Hans Blix and his UN Inspectors, said they didn't know what they were doing, painted them out as European socialists and shouted down anyone who challenged them as being Un-American which was still pretty easy to do in the earlier post 9-11 window. After a long and exhaustive collection process of laughable intelligence, outright lies and stuff that they either created themselves or knew damned well to be illegitimate, they topped it all off by sending General Powell on the kamikazee mission of his career's credibility. Powell did his best with nifty posters and powerpoints, mobile labs like so many Mr. Softee trucks bristling with warheads full of poison gas.  The Bushies were careful to keep their public priorities straight. They kept their lousy profiteering on the back burner where the public wasn't privy to their true motives for war. And out front they were strong and wrong with their belligerent insistence that Saddham was a rogue elephant who had to be put down and fast. He had to be stopped or he'd destabilize the region and kill everyone with his weapons. The rest as we say is history.

Enter the education privatization movement of our corporate raiders turned self proclaimed education experts. They see billions in federal money going to education that they would love to divert into their own coffers. But that's almost as tacky and outrageous as asking for a war so your corporate pals in the War-Biz can get richer quick. So the Edu profiteers using a page from the War profiteers create their own crisis and they call it : FAILING SCHOOLS! Like the war guys our edu-teers have some sticky wickets to navigate before they can get a green light to start looting and pillaging. They have to overcome these annoying teachers and their selfish, kid hating UNIONS. And since a handful of people here and there seem to like teachers, the decision is made to demonize their unions instead. Well one way of doing this is to EVALUATE these teachers and isolate them as the problem in the equation. It's not FAILING parents, or a FAILING ECONOMY or a FAILED HOUSING MARKET or a $750 Billion BANK BAILOUT because the fast and loose corporate thieves stayed up all night at the card table playing with everyone else's money and ended up in the basement of the casino at sunrise with Laurence Fishburne taking his rings off to punch them into reality (If you havent seen 21 get it, it's amazing). No it wasn't the banker wankers or the de-regulated derivatives gamblers who drove the economy off the cliff. It's not the stinking poverty of the ghettoes or the unemployment rates among males in the ghettoes. It's not the fatherless children or the broken families or the families destroyed by mental illness, drug abuse, domestic violence and zero chance of a decent living. And it surely wasn't legislation by right wingers who cut funding to every and any program that might mitigate some of the suffering of the lower socioeconomic ranks.  It was the TEACHERS. THEY are the ones who are FAILING our kids. 

So the profiteers put their friends in multi billion dollar think tanks to work and they start cranking out their faith based solutions to all that ails public education. I borrow the phrase "faith based" from Bill Ayers who points out that for all of the privatizer's professed love of data, they have an odd aversion to it when it comes to supporting any of their "reform" ideas.  Zero of  4 "turnaround" models divined by Gates drones in a think tank somewhere have any basis in reality, they have no record of  their efficacy or their results because they were never field tested.  It seems they might better be dubbed "Bend Over" than "Turnaround" since their goal is the same and they all focus on teachers as the primary cause of failure in schools. Yet here we are in Buffalo teachers are being called greedy and accused of not caring about the kids because we are refusing to participate in one of the most assholic of the 4 models which coincidentally violates the BTF labor agreement with the district. (See 50% Stupid) In doing his part for his corporate masters the State Ommissioner of Education has tied millions in federal funds to the union's capitulation to an unfair evaluation process designed to devastate their ranks with capricious and arbitrary terminations. The union is refusing to talk about the assessments until the district at least gets itself back to zero and withdraws the appeal they've all ready been denied twice. 

Yet in the opposite world of corporate media we read about the BTF putting "its boot to the throats of Buffalo's students and the region's economic recovery."  Is there a Wal Mart superstore opening somewhere that is going to refuse to hire our students? How exactly are we choking off economic recovery? Whether it's starting a war or stealing education money from kids, the game is essentially the same. A small band of plutocrats with the help of billions of dollars and whorish, soulless politicians can always get their way in this country. The fallout is vaguely similar too -- young people who enlisted in the armed forces after 9-11 in a fit of patriotic duty are sent into a kill zone by people who shrug, look at their cuticles and say "They knew the risks when they enlisted..." And in places like New York we have people like Eva Destruction Moskowitz whose charter schools evict at risk kids who are forced to give up their gym and science labs and the single teen mothers who attend can go find their own daycare now because Eva's kids deserve better than they do. The evictees will be shipped to a new place lacking not only gym and labs but daycare for their babies which these girls relied on to get through school. Too bad. I guess they knew the risks when they enlisted? Can we use that line in education now too? The poor kids get screwed and the rich get richer whether it's a war or the war to steal public schools.


  1. Old RepresentativeDecember 8, 2012 at 5:30 PM

    Sean...This is brilliant. Exactly what I've been telling people for years. I really thought that by now the idiots believing this shite would have figured it out. I am amazed every day when I hear the administration in my building spewing the crap from the city hall/Albany kool-aid bin and NO ONE says anything. And this bullshit has now invaded the fucking newsletter at my daughter's school, which I was hoping was way too hip for the bandwagon. Unfortunately, there are no balls anywhere except in the teachers' union. Your last sentence sums it up and unless a few cool billionaires who do care about the children get up and begin changing the course of this shit, public education is DOOMED. However, we all know why these people are billionaires and it has no connection with caring about anything except filling their personal accounts.

  2. STANDING OVATION!! You are so on target, that I can't imagine anyone reading this blog without totally agreeing with you, Sean.

    If every one who knows anything about education would tell the Kings and Duncans ( and Bush and Obama) to keep their pittance of "reward for racing to the top"...(of another cliff), this immoral, unethical and stupid crap would have to stop. The mandates imposed on the schools cost more to implement than the "perpe"traitors" deign to distribute to the schools.

    Just which bunch is really hurting the kids? We know it is NOT the Teachers. Could it be the guys who take our tax money, and give it to those who are trying to take over Public Education and turn it into a factory model... to sell stock in their new businesses?

    Then there are the "right to work" charlatans who want everyone not in their social circle to work for low wages and few benefits so they can turn us into sweatshop laborers... without power to stand up to them for decent working conditions
    I guess it's back to the 1920's and 30' was not a really "fun time" or "the good old days". I was there for some of it.
    The proposed evaluations that RTtT and NCLB want to use to weed out the teachers, are so moronic and unprofessional, that "the gray haired old men" would never have the stones to impose anything like it on a male dominated profession.

    You still "Can't fix stupid"...especially when you can steal a lot of money legally if you don't even try. Right?

  3. Talking about poor kids getting screwed, today's News article by Mary Pasciak titled "Pastors Support Turning Bad Schools Into Charters" just might set your hair on fire.

    Sam Radford at his finest, in collaboration with BuffaloReformED and the Chameleon Charter Managers, I am sure! They have not been getting the parental buy-in on turning East and Waterfront into charters. In fact, the East alumni are vocally AGAINST the charter proposal. So now they will use the churches for free advertising for charter schools.
    Be aware that there is another big DPCC meeting coming up and I will bet that Sam Radford will be preaching the charter message loud and clear to the assembled parents. Shouldn't there be an alternate message?
    These education privatizers are vile. Shamefully using the church to advertise their politics with the hope of lining their pockets. Is it just me, or does anyone else wish that Sam Radford had just followed through on his ridiculous threat of going on a hunger strike last year?

  4. Peg ( the long winded one )December 9, 2012 at 11:47 PM

    As usual you are also right on target.
    About Sam Radford..He has a lot of time on his hands, he likes to feel important, and he likes to be the center of attention. Had he really gone on a hunger strike, he would have gained a lot of attention...but he would have been very uncomfortable. That is not what he wants to be.

    However , if he succeeds in getting the 5,000 signatures mentioned in the article, and if those 5,000 parents are very unhappy with the schools their children attend, then he will soon be hated by about 4,000 of the signatories he mislead . When they apply for one of the Charter schools, only a few hundred students will be admitted because of limited spaces in order to keep class sizes low. Very few refugee children will be admitted because English is not their "first language". Very few children with special needs will be admitted due to the difficulty of providing them with skills to do well on the many tests required by the state and federal politicians who work for Bill Gates and Eli Broad et al.

    That leaves more room for children not classified ELL and Special ED. When some kids "win the lottery", the majority of those who applied will "lose and not be accepted. Those that do get "in", will do just fine as long as they obey all of the "rules. Dr. King's Roxbury Prep had about 25 pages of his Parent and Student Handbook" dedicated to the "Rules". This provides the Charterizers plenty of reasons for "counseling out" the children who do not abide by the stringent set of rules.
    So, ELL, Special Ed., and behavior problem children will not "fit" into the "program"
    But that is not all...neither will the children who do not do well on tests, or those whose parents are not active and supportive, and those who are chronically absent, or released from Windham Lawn, Randolph, "Juvie", or Hopevale ( to name a few places where troubled kids are adjudicated to spend some time ).
    Now we know who will not be attending a Charter School .These children will be welcomed at their public schools because our country has designed the public schools to serve all children, not just a "selected group".

    Only 1 out of 6 Charters have higher testing results than the local public schools in their neighborhoods. 2 of 6 Charters will do much worse than the public schools and the other 3 Charters out of 6 will get about the same results as the local public schools. So, Sam will get folks all riled up, and the "ins" will have problems with the "outs", and only a small number of the "new" schools will be better .

    The Chameleon Charter Management Company doesn't have any experience to speak of.( although to hear their self-evaluation, you would be impressed with their expertise at prevarication.)

    I think that Sam will reconsider the possibility of a hunger strike , or a long walk on a short pier at the waterfront when faced with lots of unhappy people who signed his petitions and ended up attending way underfunded public schools who are sending taxpayer money to private charter schools . The only thing "Public" about them is that the public taxes pay for them. ( and Bill and Eli and the rich people they invite for dinner and golf.)

    Maybe we should pity Sam... we'll see.
    The Chameleons "got him"... Gulp!

  5. Amen to all the above comments - you regulars summarize this disaster of "reform" perfectly!

    Sam Radford, Buffalo ReformED, The Chameleons, and the News are doing this community a huge disservice. I wonder exactly how they plan to get those signatures - tell congregations to sign if they "care about the kids." Does anyone think for a moment they will reveal the true intentions and ramifications of turning charter - (giving up your voice / vote, private companies siphoning public funds, high paid school "managers", revolving door of uncertified, underpaid "teachers" w/ "haircuts", etc).

    The only glimmer of hope I could find was that Darius Pridgen is not endorsing the petition plan at this point. I emailed him, asking that he check out Diane Ravitch's site, especially read the posts pertaining to minority / high poverty communities where the charter movement has turned the clock back decades on the civil rights movement, and also to listen to Ravitch's conversation with Smiley and West. Someone has to get Sam away from the wheel, he is misleading parents and our students, schools, and community will pay dearly.

    How long did that hunger strike last??? He is so full of himself, absorbed in his image as savior of the schools! He wants us to "pay no attention to the man behind the curtain" (aka ReformEd) pulling the levers and feeding him the script while he projects his mighty image. Shameless.

  6. Mouse,
    "Shoudn't there be an alternate message?"
    YEs, Yes and Yeas!

    What do you want to do? I've been thinking about it too.

  7. I don't need to tell any of you that a good percentage of the desire for charter schools is simply to take the teacher's union out of the privatizers equation. The union is THE stumbling block for privatizers. They HATE the fact that workers will stand up for their rights. Remember Emilio Fuentes "haircut" rant? Also, The Buffalo Fiscal Stability Authority wants to go "hard" for the District only. If this happens, they will have control over the teacher contract.

    I suggest that teachers try to attend the DPCC meeting tomorrow evening. It is important to know what nonsense Sam (BuffaloReformED) is saying to the parents. As to your question, Peg, about what to do, I don't really know! I have two articles I'd like to copy and hand out to parents as they go in to the 3(!) hour meeting. (yuck, that is waaay too much "Sam" for me). Also, remember the folks who showed up to hand out the literature at the screening of "Won't Back Down"? I don't know the name of that group but the literature that they handed out was great!
    You know that Sam will hammer home the idea that the teachers will not negotiate an evaluation plan, the teachers are greedy, the teachers are not doing it "for the children, blah blah blah. He is such a tool for BuffaloReformEd and the public will likely go right along. The other thing that is interesting is that the schools themselves are trying to get parents to participate in tomorrow's meeting by calling homes and encouraging participation. How could this charter privatization petition possibly help the district? By backing up the district's own brand of demonizing the teachers and the union.
    New York City is going through the same scenario right now. Randy Weingarten and the UFT simply want the teachers to agree to all of the evaluation nonsense and then the union can look like the "great collaborator" with the Deformers.

  8. One more addition to my rant:
    Today's News opinion side with the BFSA going "hard" for the school district. No surprise there but for those who do not subscribe, Here is the link. Hope you have already eaten dinner.

  9. 3rd grade in the burbsDecember 10, 2012 at 7:45 PM

    Anonymouse, Where is tomorrow night's meeting?

    I agree that we need to do something but am also at a loss as to what it should be. I think the powers that be know they have us between a rock and a hard place because many are afraid to do anything that might cost them their jobs. I received 3 emails from my union today asking me to send a letter to Albany protesting APPR. I asked one of the union officials in November (when they started this letter campaign) why they didn't stand up for us in the beginning and do something like the Niagara Regional PTA and the Rochester City Schools that filed the paperwork in Albany that testing was excessive, detrimental to everyone in schools. She told me it will be much more effective to have the mass letters go to Albany than it would be for one group to protest. Yikes! Throw us under the bus, why don't you? Now you are barraging (sp?) us to help because so many teachers have been calling you to complain.

    Peg, On another note, I was finally able to post a comment on the Buffalo News but I just used the user name provided by Disqus.

  10. 3rd grade in the burbsDecember 10, 2012 at 8:26 PM

    Check out the Buffalo News: Chameleon has dropped its bid to takeover East HS and Waterfront after receiving feedback from the state that its application would be denied!!!!! Woo Hoo!

  11. 3rd Grade, here is the meeting info:
    Parent Assembly
    Tuesday, December 11, 2012
    5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
    Buffalo Academy of Visual and Performing Arts
    450 Masten Avenue

    Don't think I can attend, but would be great to have your perspective on the proceedings.

    As to the Chameleons dropping their bid to privatize East and Waterfront, I have no trust in them or State Ed. I suspect there are some legalities that occurred to prevent the takeovers, but just this time. Both schools had already selected EPO's or partners. Now, with State Ed asking Chameleons to partner with them to provide easier methods for privatization, I suspect they will be successful on their next attempt. I imagine they need to get in on the action earlier in the transformation process so that there is no confusion as to the restart method. Valerie Nolan can continue to make her $$$$, she'll just be billing the stupid State Ed for a year, then they can salivate over a few different schools. NO TRUST.

    But, still happy to have bought some time and to let East and Waterfront off the hook for now. It's good news in that regard. But the implied threat is that Chameleons are going to hibernate for a while then come back more powerfully with the full force of the State behind them. It would be bad form to take two schools away from the sainted Pamela Brown at this early time in her reign. Give her a year and she'll also be backing the privatizers and can put a different spin on it. Remember, she comes from Philadelphia where the administrative losers gave away MOST of the schools in their city to a slimy charter management company. They hailed the charters as the savior of the city schools.

  12. Peg, the skeptical oneDecember 10, 2012 at 10:36 PM

    Great news for now!!! They will probaly be back in the not too distant future. The thought of how much money there is to be made, wth very little oversight on where it goes...very motivating.

    Maybe the pricipals think that only the smart parents who cannot be duped will go to the meeting. Eh? ( I go to Canada a lot. :)

  13. Peg,
    Terrific response to Mr. C.. on the editorial piece. Oddly, I am now magically automatically logged in on the Buffalo News and can post comments. Think I'll maintain my strike against commenting but I certainly enjoyed yours!

  14. Thanks :)
    I wish you would end the "stike"...but if you think we are helping the News too much, I'll join you.
    If they use my long name one more time, I'll quit anyway.

  15. I would like to thank the author of this blog as well a
    s the other contributors for your support for both Waterfront and East.I know several contributors have actually attended community meetings in support. It has been a very trying 6 months for us. Now we can focus on educating all our students without distraction. The information you have provided this community has been essential in the defeat of this proposal that seemed almost impossible to overcome with the connections Chameleon had in Albany. It is important that we stand with the other schools who will undoubtedly be the next targets.

  16. Hello Amy, thanks for the kind words. To think that this spur of the moment creation I started when I was supposed to be packing for an early summer visit to kin in Pittsburgh is still going amazes me. To hear you say that it's actually made a difference somewhere is more than I ever hoped to hear. We have nobody but ourselves and each other in this fight. The media love charter schools and so do the politicians. Not to mention Gates alone has a 30 billion dollar war chest he will spend to make us look bad. Our best weapon is the truth and the shitty results charters really get when you consider they are cherry picked so carefully and the kids we teach every day aren't welcome there. The corporate privatization movement is quick to scream about accountability for us but they have little to none.And now I am reading that the charter movement is blowing off NYSED's demands that we lose millions of dollars if we blow them off. It's a complete joke but we are going to tell the punch line until enough people have heard it.