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Starry Messenger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-17-10 09:57 PM
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The Big Enchilada (The real motive behind school "choice")
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This is a few years old, but I thought it was quite eyeopening.

The Big Enchilada

by Jonathan Kozol

Harper's Magazine Notebook (August 2007)

Loyal defenders of our nation's public schools have for decades ardently opposed the concept of "school vouchers" and other privatizing schemes that threaten to dismantle the democratic legacy of public education. In recent years, however, even as privatizing forces have made massive inroads into public schools, many of those who profess to believe in public education have been lulled into a puzzling passivity and silence on this issue. But the voucher movement has not gone away, and the threat it represents to democratic education is more dangerous than ever.

Privatizing advocates tend to employ a familiar set of strategies in their campaign to replace public education, which they deride as "Soviet" or "socialist" in nature, with a market system in which public dollars no longer go to public schools but are distributed directly to parents, who in theory will be free to spend the money at either a public school or a private institution. Recognizing as they do that vouchers have had little appeal to parents in suburban areas, where public schools are highly funded and the kids generally do well, voucher advocates focus instead on winning over parents of poor children in the inner-city schools, whom they promise to deliver from the clutches of a failing "state monopoly".


Advocates for vouchers nonetheless insist that any difficulties presented by self-selectivity will cease to be real problems once market mechanisms are in place. One of the most influential of these advocates, a skillful and politically sophisticated propagandist named John Chubb, dismisses any likelihood that parents who are overwhelmed by problems in their private lives may be incapable of making wise decisions - or, more important, that they may find it difficult to act on these decisions. "It is really hard for me to believe", Chubb once told the New York Times, that if vouchers were available to parents of poor children, "those people couldn't decide on what they prefer". He accused critics of voucher schemes of being condescending to the poor, of arguing, in essence, that poor parents are "too stupid" to select the schools they want their children to attend.

But Chubb, who is now a top executive at Edison Schools, one of the largest private education corporations, does not hesitate to contradict himself when speaking to a different kind of audience. One of the disadvantages of public schools, Chubb has said in a more candid statement he coauthored with another voucher advocate, Terry Moe, is that they "must take whoever walks in the door" and "do not have the luxury of being able to select" their students. By comparison, they note in the pages of a right-wing policy review unlikely to be seen by parents of poor children, under a voucher system a "constellation of ... different schools serving different kinds of students differently would probably emerge". And in a book advancing private education markets, Chubb and Moe have made the additional argument that schools "must be free to admit as many or as few students as they want, based on whatever criteria they think relevant - intelligence, interest, motivation, behavior, special needs".


Some years ago, a friend who works on Wall Street handed me a stock-market prospectus in which a group of analysts at an investment-banking firm known as Montgomery Securities~described the financial benefits to be derived from privatizing our public schools. "The education industry", according to these analysts, "represents, in our opinion, the final frontier of a number of sectors once under public control" that "have either voluntarily opened" or, they note in pointed terms, have "been forced" to open up to private enterprise. Indeed, they write, "the education industry represents the largest market opportunity" since health-care services were privatized during the 1970s. Referring to private education companies as "EMOs" ("Education Management Organizations"), they note that college education also offers some "attractive investment returns" for corporations, but then come back to what they see as the much greater profits to be gained by moving into public elementary and secondary schools. "The larger developing opportunity is in the K-12 EMO market, led by private elementary school providers", which, they emphasize, "are well positioned to exploit potential political reforms such as school vouchers". From the point of view of private profit, one of these analysts enthusiastically observes, "the K-12 market is the Big Enchilada".

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  -The Big Enchilada (The real motive behind school "choice") Starry Messenger  Oct-17-10 09:57 PM   #0 
  - I always believed that vouchers = white kids not having to attend school with black kids! n/t  Liberal_Stalwart71   Oct-17-10 09:59 PM   #1 
  - That's how they started  proud2BlibKansan   Oct-17-10 10:06 PM   #6 
  - knr. of course it's about privatization.  Hannah Bell   Oct-17-10 09:59 PM   #2 
  - Where are Uncle Miltie's Marketeers?  Starry Messenger   Oct-17-10 10:44 PM   #12 
  - Imagine what a private school that ends up with the problem kids would look like  DJ13   Oct-17-10 10:05 PM   #3 
  - You're wrong. A private school would simply disenroll a problem kid.  TheDebbieDee   Oct-17-10 10:45 PM   #13 
  - It's not the private schools that get the "problem kids".  Starry Messenger   Oct-17-10 11:16 PM   #15 
  - It wouldn't BE.  WinkyDink   Oct-18-10 05:32 PM   #49 
  - Bingo.  proud2BlibKansan   Oct-17-10 10:05 PM   #4 
  - I wonder that too.  Starry Messenger   Oct-17-10 10:13 PM   #7 
  - The sad thing is...  CoffeeCat   Oct-17-10 10:18 PM   #8 
  - You got it  proud2BlibKansan   Oct-17-10 10:25 PM   #10 
  - Major Political Parties  november3rd   Oct-19-10 02:23 PM   #80 
  - K & R just on the strength of Jonathan Kozol. n/t  Tansy_Gold   Oct-17-10 10:05 PM   #5 
  - I found the link via another great article, Tansy  Starry Messenger   Oct-17-10 10:25 PM   #9 
     - K&R for that n/t  Panaconda   Oct-18-10 06:49 AM   #22 
     - THe author of that article is being web-stalked by one of the founders of the Green Dot charters.  Starry Messenger   Oct-18-10 08:45 AM   #27 
        - Please, please do. Kozol's earned his props--that just goes to show that  blondeatlast   Oct-18-10 09:26 AM   #30 
        - is it the guy who was kicked upstairs after 50K went missing in LA?  Gabi Hayes   Oct-18-10 06:13 PM   #55 
        - Bill Grundfest?  Starry Messenger   Oct-18-10 06:25 PM   #57 
           - don't think you're going to make me work hard! will check.  Gabi Hayes   Oct-18-10 07:53 PM   #63 
        - here you go: Steve Barr, founder of Green Dot. several links. not much other news  Gabi Hayes   Oct-18-10 08:09 PM   #67 
           - Oh wow, that guy! Frak!  Starry Messenger   Oct-18-10 08:15 PM   #68 
              - hope you check this when you get back....a great article by a guy who confronted massa arne:  Gabi Hayes   Oct-18-10 08:24 PM   #70 
                 - I'll check it out, looks good!  Starry Messenger   Oct-18-10 08:44 PM   #71 
                    - you go! here's something on New York state emo failure, mentioning pataki's role in  Gabi Hayes   Oct-18-10 09:01 PM   #74 
                       - guess they're still waiting for Superman in Albany. or is it Lex Luthor?  Gabi Hayes   Oct-18-10 09:02 PM   #75 
     - The  chervilant   Oct-18-10 11:13 AM   #34 
  - D'oh... accidentally unrecc'd... missed... oops. Distracted thinking of enchiladas me'thinks...  LooseWilly   Oct-17-10 10:32 PM   #11 
  - I got your back! A kick and a rec to cancel out the unrec  riderinthestorm   Oct-18-10 09:36 AM   #31 
     - Cheers...  LooseWilly   Oct-18-10 10:12 AM   #33 
  - Isn't a lip licking vulturer just a sight to behold.  lonestarnot   Oct-17-10 10:52 PM   #14 
  - Barf indeed! n/t  Starry Messenger   Oct-17-10 11:55 PM   #16 
  - K&R  Solly Mack   Oct-18-10 12:07 AM   #17 
  - Thank you SM!  Starry Messenger   Oct-18-10 12:48 AM   #18 
     - My pleasure.  Solly Mack   Oct-18-10 01:05 AM   #19 
  - Makes my eyes sting...  maryf   Oct-18-10 05:35 AM   #20 
  - I'm so pissed, I'm in a strange state of calm.  Starry Messenger   Oct-18-10 05:33 PM   #50 
  - k&r  blindpig   Oct-18-10 06:42 AM   #21 
  - Yes I certainly can  maryf   Oct-18-10 05:24 PM   #48 
     - It's probably illegal for many teachers.  Starry Messenger   Oct-18-10 06:08 PM   #52 
        - Actually  maryf   Oct-18-10 07:48 PM   #60 
           - I'm sure that will be next.  Starry Messenger   Oct-18-10 07:52 PM   #61 
              - Better have muzzles too...  maryf   Oct-18-10 07:54 PM   #64 
  - Morning kick nt  TBF   Oct-18-10 06:54 AM   #23 
  - Blast from the Past right here on DU 2003  Evasporque   Oct-18-10 06:55 AM   #24 
  - Thank you for this!  Starry Messenger   Oct-18-10 08:25 AM   #26 
  - It's time to bring this one back.  LWolf   Oct-19-10 07:06 AM   #79 
  - kick n/t  RainDog   Oct-18-10 06:59 AM   #25 
  - Thank you RD!  Starry Messenger   Oct-18-10 09:11 AM   #28 
  - "Education corporations" "Wall Street" "Education industry  blondeatlast   Oct-18-10 09:23 AM   #29 
  - Thank you blondeatlast!  Starry Messenger   Oct-18-10 09:45 AM   #32 
  - This begs the question:  Reader Rabbit   Oct-18-10 11:31 AM   #35 
  - That is the million dollar question.  Starry Messenger   Oct-18-10 11:51 AM   #37 
  - hmm....  chervilant   Oct-18-10 11:32 AM   #36 
  - "Race to the Top," my ass!  Starry Messenger   Oct-18-10 03:51 PM   #44 
  - Disgusting! Can anyone explain to me why Democrats from Obama down  nonoxy9   Oct-18-10 12:42 PM   #38 
  - It's about the money, Lebowski!  theaocp   Oct-18-10 01:05 PM   #39 
  - +1000  Starry Messenger   Oct-18-10 03:03 PM   #43 
  - Several companies have offered to get my district a toe, with nail polish,  callous taoboy   Oct-18-10 08:16 PM   #69 
  - That's no big enchilada  slackmaster   Oct-18-10 01:09 PM   #40 
  - More research here from another well informed blogger.  proverbialwisdom   Oct-18-10 02:12 PM   #41 
  - Thank you pw!  Starry Messenger   Oct-18-10 03:00 PM   #42 
  - And after they have privatized the schools, water and the air we breathe  JDPriestly   Oct-18-10 03:55 PM   #45 
  - The real motive behind the whole authoritarian agenda;  Greyhound   Oct-18-10 04:50 PM   #46 
  - K + R For free education.  felix_numinous   Oct-18-10 05:16 PM   #47 
  - My pleasure, thank you for reading it.  Starry Messenger   Oct-18-10 06:09 PM   #53 
  - I don't get vouchers in any way, shape or form.  barb162   Oct-18-10 05:56 PM   #51 
  - I take issue with your post  CreekDog   Oct-18-10 06:10 PM   #54 
  - I haven't heard the word "enchirito" in years. Do they still have those things?  Starry Messenger   Oct-18-10 06:23 PM   #56 
     - yes my child  CreekDog   Oct-18-10 06:29 PM   #58 
        - I am totally craving one now.  Starry Messenger   Oct-18-10 07:05 PM   #59 
           - Incremental steps  maryf   Oct-18-10 07:53 PM   #62 
           - "Have it Your Way"  Starry Messenger   Oct-18-10 08:07 PM   #66 
           - I went to a Wawa, the customer doesn't have to speak  CreekDog   Oct-18-10 09:43 PM   #76 
              - This is starting to sound like the end of Wall-E, Creekdog.  Starry Messenger   Oct-18-10 10:28 PM   #78 
  - K & R nt  laughingliberal   Oct-18-10 08:02 PM   #65 
  - None of this can happen without Obama's support. Go after him on this. (nt)  w4rma   Oct-18-10 08:55 PM   #72 
     - absolutely  ibegurpard   Oct-18-10 08:55 PM   #73 
     - Oh I will (and do).  Starry Messenger   Oct-18-10 10:07 PM   #77 

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