A Former Lobbyist Explains How the Privatization Movement Is Trying to End Public Education

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      Their hostility to public education is best described as being the nexus of three parts. First, they want to minimize any government spending whatsoever, and public education is one of the largest line items in any state budget. Getting rid of public education spending would massively reduce the tax burden on wealthy individuals at the state level.

      Public schools are also incredibly popular, and they don’t want the general public to view public institutions as effective or popular. It’s why they’ve driven a false narrative about “failing schools” for decades now, and it’s also why they continually attack Social Security, Medicare, public pensions, public transportation and more because they know it’s impossible to get people to share their vision for limited government when people have so many positive experiences with government programs. And lastly, it’s about diminishing collective power. Taking down public schools also means taking down teachers unions, PTOs, local school boards and all the other ways those of us who aren’t exceptionally wealthy come together to push for collective investment in our communities.

      This discussion is relevant not only at the state level but also at the federal level. The fiscal year 2022 federal budget, which is in development, is likely to include funds for the Charter Schools Program (CSP), a program whose purpose is to expand charter schools, which are privately operated but publicly funded. The CSP is about charter school expansion — which plays right into the right-wing/Libertarian agenda that former lobbyist Siler was hired to expand.

      There may be well-meaning elected officials in Washington and state capitals who think charters and vouchers are about helping disadvantaged students. And no doubt some families have enjoyed choice. But every bill that passes and every program funded furthers the agenda of the radical libertarian right and Betsy DeVos. They know what their endgame is, and they are rapidly making progress.

      Jesus: Hey, Dad? God: Yes, Son? Jesus: Western civilization followed me home. Can I keep it? God: Certainly not! And put it down this minute--you don't know where it's been! Tom Robbins in Another Roadside Attraction

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