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Member since: Sun Jul 11, 2004, 07:58 PM
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The Big Problem With Time's Teacher-Bashing Cover Story

Wall Street has had their eye on the hundreds of billions of our tax dollars that go to public education for a couple of decades. They think it rightly belongs in their pockets. So they have campaigned relentlessly to demonize teachers and reduce their control over what goes on in the classroom and replace them with short term recent college grads, who quickly burn out and move on to other professions, standardize testing and curriculum to make it easier for a few companies to monopolize, and replace public schools with privatized, for profit charter schools and education management companies (get our tax dollars but skim some off as profits).

The people pushing this movement don't advocate the same changes for the private schools their own children attend.

This movement has had some major setbacks recently with several states investigating fraud and embezzling at charter chains, and the superintendent of LA schools being fired in part for buying a billion dollars worth of iPads at full retail price, acting as an agent of Apple rather than of the public.
With this movement on the ropes, Time magazine decided that this was a good time to bash teachers again rather than investigate how a few wealthy people bought our federal education policy, and are doing to public education what they did to our manufacturing base and housing market.

If Democrats wanted to turn the election around, they could drop this corrupt education policy that puts Wall Street profits ahead of our kids' futures.

There are a few problems with the story, but the biggest one is pretty familiar: It buries the lead. The Time piece, by Haley Sweetland Edwards, waits until the very end to tell readers that the teacher evaluation scheme central to argument is advancing is highly dubious.

The article is about how a small group of very wealthy Silicon Valley millionaires have decided they're the ones who can fix America's public schools–a "half-dozen tech titans who are making the repair of public education something of a second career." The movement has been joined by people like "CNN anchor turned education activist Campbell Brown."

The piece focuses on a relatively unknown figure named David Welch, an "unassuming father of three" who "clearly prefers a world of concrete facts to taking sides." Welch evidently came up with the novel legal strategy behind the Vergara case in California. A court ruling in June found that tenure provisions serve to protect failing public school teachers, and thus the civil rights of the students forced to endure these conditions have been violated.

Time tells readers that Welch arrived at this simple conclusion by asking a "big-city California superintendent" how to fix the schools. His answer "blew Welch away"...


Obama could do labor a big favor WITHOUT the help of Congress

Simply enforce the anti-union Taft Hartley law as vigorously as every president since Reagan has enforced the Sherman Anti-Trust law, which is to say as close as possible to not at all.

That would slightly even the playing field between big corporations and average Americans.

I don't think it will happen, but for our DLC friends who hide behind the skirts of Republican obstruction, it's a good example of what a creative president could still get done.

We sure as hell see this kind of creativity on drone strikes and military action against the terrorist group of the week.

GLENN FORD: How to Pay for a Free, Non-Racist Higher Education

Cut off the federal financial aid for for-profit colleges, which amount to welfare for Wall Street and hedge fund managers, and we could use the money we save to make real colleges (public and non-profit private) cheaper or even free.

As a college instructor myself who teaches at community colleges, I tell my students an ironic truth about higher education: since most instructors are forced to string together multiple part time jobs, some of my colleagues teach at private for-profit colleges as well as community college and others at prestigious, nationally recognized non-profits.

They deliver the same content at every school.

The only thing that changes is the price tag.

The premium price you pay at a non-profit gets you smaller classes and networking with wealthier classmates. At a for profit, it gets you life-crushing debt.

Democrats need to get off the Wall Street teat on this one, put more daylight between themselves and Republicans, and put the future of kids trying to better themselves ahead of for profit scammers.

The dominos are falling in the for-profit college racket, a cauldron of corruption that has crushed the dreams of millions of African Americans in desperate search for tools to navigate their way through a racist, cut-throat capitalist society. Corinthian College’s stock fell from a peak of $33 a share, ten years ago, to 33 cents last month, when it became clear that the federal government intended to pull the plug on the $1.6 billion a year rip-off. Corinthian – known to victims by the brand names Heald College, Everest, and WyoTech – will soon file for bankruptcy protection, shielding its bankster and hedge fund profiteers from liability for wanton theft and massive life-wrecking. More than 70,000 students at 107 campuses, half of whom were statistically certain to drop out before completely their courses, will struggle to find another route to mobility and dignity.

Corinthian is only the third or fourth-worst offender in the pantheon of for-profit colleges created for the sole purpose of diverting public money to the coffers of hedge funds and mega-banks. Although the titans of this fraudulent industry have committed crimes far larger than Bernard Madoff, none of them will join him in prison, since their victims are largely Black people whose usefulness to Wall Street is limited to availability for super-exploitation, demonization and incarceration.

Corinthian’s collapse – and the panic that reigns in the rest of the for-profit education pack – was triggered by the Obama administration’s decision to shut off the criminal enterprise’s federal funding faucet, which accounted for at least 83 percent of the company’s revenue stream. Since Corinthian, like its sister shysters, was created as a pass-through of federal dollars, it could not withstand the slightest pause in payments from various federal agencies. So, it folded. Other corporate educational fraudsters will soon follow Corinthian into bankruptcy, causing a shakeup in the industry that will probably result in a leaner and more vertically integrated structure of dream-sploitation. Billions of educational dollars will continue flowing straight from federal programs to Wall Street, but with little improvement to the life-chances of the supposed beneficiaries: the educationally deprived.

“For-profit colleges educate only 12 percent of all college students in America. Yet, a disproportionate 25 percent of all federal aid to education goes to for-profit colleges. And a staggering 47 percent of all student loan defaults are among for-profit school students.


Sen. Durbin points out that $32 billion dollars a year is the spending equivalent of “the ninth-largest agency in our government.” If that is the case, then why not create such an agency? With Wall Street no longer skimming profits, $32 billion would go a lot farther in providing free public education and training to the huge population that has already been defined and reached by the predatory for-profit outfits.

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