Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Democracy for Sale

It is March 9, 2011 and WI has just passed the legislation to end collective bargaining. As much as I try to post to Facebook and Twitter, I feel the need to share my thoughts and views on what is being reported as an educational crisis and the vitriolic attacks on teachers. The name of my blog is Pedagogical Consciousness. The name implies a call for awareness and action to all who care about public education in our nation. It is imperative that we fight for and defend our profession, our schools, and our youth.

Let's consider some proposals that take aim at public education. First in Wisconsin, the goal is to end collective bargaining rights for public employees. By purporting a so-called crisis, public workers, whose pensions make up
6% of the total budget, are being blamed for the woes of the state's finances. What is less talked about is how the governor is reducing funding for schools by over $800 million. The goal is to destroy public education and move charters in. And to the unsuspecting public, charters seem like such a great option. What the public is not told, is that charters have not been shown by research to show any significant improvement of student performance as measured by standardized tests. But what does a charter really mean? It means a privatized school with no elected school board. A cornerstone of American public education is that it is under local control through elected school board members. If you are unhappy with the direction of your school, yes you the American voter, can unseat those school board members and replace them. In a privatized educational system, the American voter loses local control. You lose your voice in the democratic process. A corporation now controls the schools and you, the citizen, the parent, the taxpayer, have no voice. You can't elect a new board of directors. Do you really think that taxes will be reduced? Instead of property tax money being allocated to the school board, it will now be allocated to a corporation that controls the schools. In essence, your democratic rights will be sold.

While the focus is on a national crisis, your local governments are being threatened. Consider what is being proposed in Michigan.

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Did you watch the video? Emergency power to divest local government. Your government. The government that impacts you the most. And the new call is for school consolidation for fiscal reasons. Read the research that contradicts the claims of these political plans. These plans are leveraging fiscal crisis to undermine local government.

Stand up and refuse to be sold. Educate your neighbors and friends. This is a corporate grab for an untapped source of wealth, your tax money that is allocated for public services. Tax money that is an investment in community infrastructure and educational opportunities. Keep control of your investment in your community.


  1. Mike, you took the words right out of my mouth! I was practically in tears last night at the news in WI and the way in which education has been getting hammered lately. It is beyond me that people are so blind as to think that privately controlled schools will be better than the schools that they themselves CAN have control over! Why would anyone choose to lose control over where their local tax money goes? Public schools are one of the few places where our tax money stays local and we can actually see how it's used!

  2. Amen brother. My deepest concern is the now firmly divided and nearly conquered middle class is not going to see the end game in time. Your comments point people in the right direction as opposed to the smoke and mirrors of budget crisis and blaming unions. People look up - the sky is not falling!

  3. A public education is the only part of this whole "all men created equal / endowed with equal rights" promise that America even partially fulfills. Strike that and what will be left but total hypocrisy?