Archive for the ‘Public education in the US’ Category

Seeds of Freedom in Fertile Soil

Take heart in knowing that the arc of history is long, as [Martin Luther] King noted, but it bends toward justice.  Take courage in knowing that where a community of hands comes together to work toward justice, a freedom seed will grow.  And take pride in knowing, when the work is challenging and setbacks come—as they must when anything important is happening—that you are building a better future for every child and family and community you touch (emphasis added).

Linda Darling-Hammond (pictured above) spoke these words at a ceremony where she was awarded the Columbia University Teachers College medal for distinguished service.  The Nation introduction to a transcription of her acceptance speech described her as “a nationally renowned leader in education reform.”  She was considered for the post of Secretary of Education in the Obama administration, but lost out to a member of the high-stakes-testing coalition of a different kind of reformers.

Critics of the latter, President Obama-supported reformers, agree that public schools, particularly those in low-income urban areas, need deep-rooted improvement. Continue reading

Billionaire-Powered Education

Once, back in the late sixties, I studied the interlocking boards of directors of major corporations, banks, hospitals and cultural institutions in a small mid-western city.  The power elite of the metropolitan area came sharply into view.  With that “power map” in hand I could follow the values and money shaping the community where I lived—and become a more effective community organizer.

In previous posts I have been following the values and money that shape the current “education reform” movement in the U.S.  Billionaire funders of the movement may not be represented on a formal set of interlocking directorates, but their goals overlap to serve interests of the corporate sector and the ideological right wing.  Continue reading

ALEC: Planting Seeds of Domination

A secretive alliance has been percolating for years between representatives of major US-based corporations and far right Republican state legislators.  Its real purpose is to stack the legislative deck in favor of corporate-agenda profits and against the interests of the voting public.  Its members meet off-the-record to develop ideas and model language for legislation that weakens democratic government by promoting the privatizing of public services such as education and prisons.  The bills then flood state legislatures throughout the country.  Continue reading