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Forum Post: On Education, Barack Obama is the President of Privatization. Can We Stop Him? Will We?

Posted 5 years ago on Feb. 23, 2013, 3:30 a.m. EST by PeterKropotkin (1050) from Oakland, CA
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

By the time his term is over, President Obama and his Race To The Top program will have forced the closure and privatization of thousands of inner-city schools, a feat no white Republican or Democrat could have accomplished. But he'll only be president 4 more years. If we can stop this now, his successors won't be able to do this again. Can we? Will we? On Education, Barack Obama is the President of Privatization. Can We Stop Him? Will We?

Last year we asked why the announcement that the city of Philadelphia planned to close 40 more public schools over the next few months wasn't national news. This year, we could ask the same about Chicago, where officials have announced plans to close more than a hundred schools, or about Los Angeles, New York, Cleveland, Atlanta and dozens of other cities.

The national wave of school closings not national news because our nation's elite, from Wall Street and the hedge fund guys to the chambers of commerce and the business establishment, from corporate media and all the elite politicians of both parties from the president down to local mayors and state legislators are working diligently to privatize public education as quickly as possible. They're not stupid. They've done the polling and the focus groups. They know with dead certainty that the p-word is massively unpopular, and that parents, teachers, students and communities aren't clamoring to hand schools over to greedy profiteers. On every level, the advocates of educational privatization strive to avoid using the p-word. They deliberately mislabel charter schools, just as unaccountable as every other private business in the land as “public charter schools,” because after all, they use public money. So do Boeing, Lockheed, General Dynamics, Bank of America and Goldman Sachs, but nobody calls these “public aerospace companies,” “public military contractors,” or “public banks.” For the same reason, corporate media refuse to cover the extent of the school closing epidemic, or local opposition to it, for fear of feeding the development of a popular movement against privatization, and Race To The Top, the Obama administration's signature public education initiative, and the sharp edge of the privatizers, literally driving the wave of school closings, teacher firings, and the adoption of “run-the-school-like-a-business” methods everywhere.

The privatizers know the clock is ticking. They know that no white Republican or Democrat could have successfully closed thousands of schools, mainly in the inner city and low-income neighborhoods without a tidal wave of noisy opposition. No white Republican or Democrat could have fired or replaced tens of thousands of experienced, mostly black qualified, experienced classroom teachers with younger, whiter, cheaper “graduates” of 5 week “teacher training” programs like Teach For America.

President Obama's black face, and the connivance of the black political class of which he is the reigning exemplar enables the implementation of right wing policies in the areas of war and peace, in growing the police and prison states, in shrinking the parts of the state that protect economic and civil rights, in guaranteeing Big Oil, Wall Street and other corporate malefactors continued immunity and impunity, in privatizing the Postal Service and of course public education. That's the bad news. The good news is that Barack Obama will only be president less than four more years. If a noisy, contentious, civilly disobedient popular movement to protect public education can be brought into existence in the next year this president and our turncoat black political class can be stopped. The clock is ticking for us too.

The privatizers know that this is their chance to succeed. We must this is our best chance to stop them.

What can we do? What can you do?

If you live in one of the hundreds of jurisdictions that elect school board members in November 2013, now is the time to call your neighbors together and choose which one of you will be a candidate. School board elections are low impact, low budget, low attention and low turnout affairs, the most favorable electoral terrain for amateur and grassroots activists. In Georgia the Green Party will be calling together search and support committees to seek and support school board candidates who oppose privatization. So if you live in Georgia you can email me. My email is at the end of this article.

Join or start an organization of parents, teachers, students or all three in your neighborhood to halt the privatizations. Next week Black Agenda Report will have a resource page for school activists, from which you can read and download materials that will help you educate and inform your neighbors and co-workers on the issue of school privatization. You can join the parents, students and teachers who are coming to DC the first week of April to Occupy the Department of Education. We'll have more information here at Black Agenda Report on that too. The clock is ticking. Once we lose the public schools we won't get them back. And if we can stop the black President of Privatization from doing this to us, it should be easy to prevent the next white one from continuing this evil and destructive policy.




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[-] 2 points by Shule (2638) 5 years ago

How are you so sure the next President will be a White one?

[-] 1 points by Middleaged (5140) 5 years ago

It is a Race to the bottom ... Like bankers selling toxic assets, getting big salaries & Bonuses, wreking their banks, and destroying the tax base, the US & Global Economy, and the USA as a Country. I'm with you. I don't like Privatization. I don't like public private partnerships. I think the government should take over Energy, Invvest in Solar, Wind, and alternative Energy Plants, ... and take over banking as a Utility too. Privaitization increases costs and Risk and is not stable for any country if it is core fuction for the USA.

1) Stop congress from receiving gifts valued over a dollar from people and outlaw PACs, 501(c), and corporate contributions, Lobbyies and gifts (everything is a gift).
2) Nationalize Media time for all political candidates on TV, Cable, and radio... equal time for all candidates, like 15 minutes spots which forces them to say what their plan is, require them to report their position, force them to publish a plan, and force them to publish position papers every quarter to their constituents.
3) Reform Taxes to only 6 tax credits for person or corporation, mortgage interest up to like $100K, health care Insurance, health care expense, deductions for dependents, deductions for Charities up to $100K, encourge savings and retirement savings like in IRA.
4) Savings Interest Rate for people at 5%.
5) Free or 1% Loans on Tuition to encourage education
6) Free College for 2 years.
7) cut Defense down to $400 Billion
8) banks become utities under the Treasury.
9) No more Private banking all banking and financial Instruments are regulated and registered so that national risk can be recognized.
10) Government Employees are given Lifetime employment and prevented from taking jobs with the people they regulate or the industry they regulate.
11) End the Central bank by creating regional banks that can provide cash if there is a bank run, and other fuctions of Central Bank go to Treasury which is prohibited from hiring bankers, and employees can't go to work for Banks, Treasury creates money and provides to federal government without interest.
12) End Foregin Occupation, Foreign wars, and Limit foreign bases to small airports and small camps in maximum of 30 countries with only 300 vehicles maximum total. Vacate Germany, South Korea, Japan, Spain, Italy, and WWII era bases other than 2 maximum camps with 300 vehicles.
13) Legalize Hemp & Marijuana, treat drug possession as an illness, don't send people to jail for drug possession, community programs to help feed and house and bring families together ... to draw people together rather than criminalized them, force them into crime to earn money and get an apartment.
14) Get people out of the Rent Seeking jobs like Financial Managment, Lobbying, Tax Accounting, Tax Sheltering, Career Politics, ...
15) Break up Corporations based on Market Share, international market Share, and Total Capitalization ... Anti-Trust Law is applied. Probably need committees to look at how big is defined as too big. Telecoms can be broken down to 700 mile or regional area. Defense Contractors have to be broken down differently. Media might compete better with more channels or just more brands, but the problem is they cover the whole country, have few reporters, and are top heavy with huge revenue and huge executive pay. The FTC was Created to Break up monopolies, so they can figure this out.
16) There has to be a kind of Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) provision the creates transparency in government, allows auditing of government, and limits the Secrets kept by government people and government agencies. Maybe hold back pay checks for everyone from clerks to the President himself if they don't comply with requests for info as least 80% compliance with details and documents.
17) Political Reform & Election Reform also demand national referendums be held every year to tell politicians what we want ... this has to be a series of events to actually get the important issues on the Vote.
18) Corporations are not People, Money is not a Vote or free speach.
19) All of this could be done by Amendements to the Constitution, but so far looks like congress will block any change at all.

[-] 1 points by GirlFriday (17435) 5 years ago

Yes, he is the president of privatization. I keep asking this question. I have had one person answer. How much does your state spend per year on testing?

[-] 0 points by OTP (-203) from Tampa, FL 5 years ago

Says here that the entire US spends 1.7 Billion, so Im going to put Florida at the low end at around 20 million.

[-] 1 points by GirlFriday (17435) 5 years ago
  1. How much does the FCAT cost taxpayers annually?

The answer is B. Since 2002, the annual cost for developing, administering, scoring and reporting the FCAT has ranged from $38-million to $44-million. That is just from 2008 link

But, you guys now have Bennett (insert insane cackle) http://www.naplesnews.com/news/2013/feb/19/bennett-florida-needs-plan-b-fcat-replacement/

[-] 0 points by OTP (-203) from Tampa, FL 5 years ago

44 million to make dumber students....I dont even know where to start with all this!!!

[-] 1 points by GirlFriday (17435) 5 years ago

$62 million: Amount spent by Florida in 2011-12 for testing


[-] 0 points by OTP (-203) from Tampa, FL 5 years ago

62 million?!! Even better....

[-] 1 points by GirlFriday (17435) 5 years ago

I know, right? And the the testing companies, grading, etc. don't have to pay taxes. It's a huge scam designed to force the public education into faux privatization.

[-] 0 points by bensdad (8977) 5 years ago

I know it is fun to blame Obama for everything like fox does, but the superintendent of the Philly schools disagrees with the reasons -

One in six Philadelphia public schools could close December 14, 2012 By Kristen A. Graham, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER Superintendent Bill Hite announces the process of the closure of 37 Philadelphia schools during a press conference at the School Administration Building on north Broad Street December 13, 2012. Superintendent Bill Hite announces the process of the closure of 37 Philadelphia schools…

Proposing the largest contraction in the history of the Philadelphia School District, Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. said that come June, he wants to shut one out of six city schools and relocate, close programs, or reshuffle grades at many more.

The numbers released Thursday are staggering: 17,000 students and 2,000 staffers would be affected by the moves. Thirty-seven buildings would close for a savings of about $28 million, money the nearly broke district says it needs to survive.

Overall, 22 elementary, four middle, and 11 high schools, in nearly every neighborhood of the city, would close if Hite's recommendations are adopted by the School Reform Commission, which will vote on the shutdowns in March. Jobs would likely be lost as a result of the closings, though there's likely to be "minimal impact" at the teacher level, Hite said. Principals and other support staff are more vulnerable.

Acknowledging that the changes would bring "tremendous controversy, angst, and emotions," Hite vowed that the district would invest heavily in programs and safety to help the remaining 200 schools thrive.

The superintendent said all closing decisions were made with two goals - boosting academics throughout the district and ensuring its long-term financial viability.

A financial picture bleak and fragile is the key driver of the proposed changes.

The district recently borrowed $300 million just to pay bills and issue paychecks through the end of the school year. It faces an equally tough picture for next year, and if one action built into its five-year plan doesn't happen, dominoes would start to tumble.

"If we don't take these actions now, we actually have no money to spend," Hite said of the closings.

Some of the $28 million saved if the changes are enacted would be plowed back into programs and safety initiatives. But some would have to go toward start-up costs for merged or new schools created from closed programs.

Academics are also a major consideration in the changes, officials promised. The schools targeted are largely under-enrolled and underperforming.

Some buildings are dramatically underutilized. Shaw Middle School in Southwest Philadelphia has 193 students in a building that has room for 1,071.
The changes would take the district from about 67 percent utilization to about 80 percent.

Notice - no teacher cuts & no mention of charter schools

[-] 2 points by PeterKropotkin (1050) from Oakland, CA 5 years ago

Its the politics of identity. And you I belive are guilty of it. The traditional political parties in this country have no ideology anymore the people that claim allegence to them identify with the parties on a cultural level and don't really care about the policies that they inact. The only real way in which the parties differ are on cultural issues like abortion and gay marriage( which are important issues) In fact both parties are pushing for austerity which is defined as cutting spending and raising taxes, which is what obama proposes to do. The only difference between the two parties is the degree to which they should impose it on the population.

So for instance if obama hires a secretary of education whos main accomplishment was dismantling, privatizing and opening up over 70 charter schools in chicago then thats ok because obama is a sophisticated ubane lawyer. Meanwhile you will come on here and post about the evils of republicans privatization.


It's also ok if the president decides that its acceptable to kill american citizens without trail or hold them in indefinate detention then thats fine as well because he has a D before his name and you identify with him on a cultural level. Irregardless if he abuses these new powers or if he makes it possible for future presidents to abuse these rules that he inacts today. Or if he allows and supports the dismantling of the public education system so that corporations can ine their pockets with more tax payer money. These things don't matter.

But lets say an inarticulate texan or a evangelical religious fanatic becomes president and inacts these policies then you would be up in arms. You would protest in the streets and would post on this forum about the insanity of these new powers that the president has given himself or the privitization of the public education system. Or the any number of the "liberal" betrayal's obama is guilty of. You are the same people in moveon.org that led the anti war movement while bush was in office and then went home after 07 because they got a bunch of democrats elected because its ok if we are in perpetual war if the democrats are in charge.

Its the same thing with the other side as well. They are two factions of the big buisness party and there base regards each side with a cult like status because they identify with them on a cultural level.

[-] 0 points by bensdad (8977) 5 years ago

"It's also ok if the president decides that its acceptable to kill american citizens without trail or hold them in indefinate detention " There was a president with an R who did the same - his name was Lincoln

I do not like charter schools, but there are some good ones. From what I know, a comparison does not show charters ON AVERAGE do better. Especially since many charters can refuse students.

So when I advocate what D does, it is not everything they do, but out of over 600 elected federal officials, I can think of only two that are NOT D or R. I vote for ELECTABLE people, not people people who make me feel good. If I lived in VT, I would vote for (I) Sanders.