Sunday, March 22, 2009

Schmidt on Charters and Chicago

Are parents of charter school children across the city being organized into shock troops for Mayor Bloomberg's continued control of the public school system?

March 21, 2009

Norm and friends:

The answer is "Yes." They do the same thing in Chicago, only putting more dollars behind it.

After each conversion, a group of parents if formed to go around praising the charter (and damning the "bad" public school that the children had been forced to endure before they reached the promised land of charters). If you listen carefully (and you should really tape these scripted things), they will all repeated the same teacher bashing bullshit.

-- The teachers rush out of the building at the public school at the end of the day

-- The teachers in the public school did not believe "all children can learn" (a veritable mantra, since the days of "Stand and Deliver" -- which they still are required to memorize, I'm sure)

-- The "bad teachers" in the old public school simply sat at their desks and handed out worksheets, etc., etc., etc.

-- The public school teachers allowed violence and bullying to prevail, but finally our children are "safe" ete.

If you collate all of this garbage, you can actually hear the echnoes of their scripts.

What's interesting is that the two groups of people who repeat these scripts (the charter school TFA type teachers; the charter "parents") usually can't answer the simple question: What public school was that, where all those terrible things happened to you and your children?

They are usually repeating articles of faith, like scripture. Since the right wing talking points are never challenged, they get away with it. (Especially if, in the case of the parents, they introduce themselves as being poor and minority -- which usually they are not, since hustles like this don't go to the poor).

Here in Chicago, the breeding ground for these parents is a thing called the "Renaissance Schools Fund", which currently has more than $50 million to spend on privatization and its necessary "choice" propaganda.

The Renaissance Schools Fund sponsored an annual "choice" fair at Soldier Field (where the Bears play football; honest) in January. It could have been called "Charter Schools and Privatization Expo". Also, union busting Expo.

Their funding comes from the largest corporations in the USA, which is one of the reasons, as a side line, that CORE Chicago organized a boycott of Walgreens (basically, it's the Business Roundtable, which in Chicago is called the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club and includes all the CEOs of the biggest corporations and is straight out of Ayn Rand in its ideology).

They also sponsor several black women who are called "Parents for School Choice" who are always on call to speak at public meetings and denounce anyone who wants to reform the existing public schools and oppose charters. "Parents for School Choice" jobs will doubtless proliferate as these things do.

If some of the parts of these scripts haven't reached you yet in New York, they will.

One of the most fun things is to ask these people where they get their information and who is paying them. The answer to (a) is usually "everybody knows that" (for example, that union teachers trample the children rushing to the parking lot at the end of the day, while the noble charter school teachers work form pre-dawn until post-sunset for the sake of "the children") and (b) "Why are you asking that question? How is that relevant to what's best for my child's future? HOW DARE YOU !!!!"



Let's continue to share these experiences.

George N. Schmidt
Editor, Substance

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