Thursday, March 14, 2013

Here's one I missed in 2011

Now that Google Reader is shutting down, I've been going back through the stacks of stuff I have not yet read, and I found this 2011 piece by education blogger Jim Horn on the start of "KIPPster" Karl Dean's budget commitments to the charter school corporation:

No leaky roofs in the Mayor's office.
After the Brown v Board of Education decision in 1954, Southern governors and mayors spent large sums of cash to fix up ramshackle black schools in an attempt to placate African-American communities and, thus, seek to avoid the white nightmare of court-ordered desegregation.  Now a half century later, Mayor Karl Dean of Nashville is doing something similar, but this time the effort not only serves segregationists but also the corporations in need of a compliant and positivized work force that is to include a few black and brown faces that can be counted upon to keep their mouths shut.

Mayor Dean has committed almost 10 percent of Nashville Metro’s 4-year school building budget for a new segregated KIPP, Inc. corporate charter school, which lays claim to the exemplary urban penal pedagogy model that has the backing of all the oligarchs of the Billionaire Boys’ Club, regardless of whether they keep Republican or Democratic politicians in their stables.

Meanwhile, Nashville's public schools that serve the poor and the brown use garbage cans to collect water from leaky roofs and cram their kids into overcrowded and damaged classrooms.  At Hume-Fogg Academic Magnet, a high-performing integrated public school, kids eat lunch in the hallways and do not have a functioning gym.

Never mind that KIPP has unlimited funds at its disposal and more on the way, thanks to bottom feeders like hedge funder, Whitney Tilson, who beats the Wall Street bushes daily for new philanthro-capitalists looking for big tax breaks and a sure-fire way to behaviorally neuter and culturally sterilize minority schoolchildren.  Meanwhile, KIPP, Inc. spares no expense to shuttle children around to Ivy League schools under the pretense that a significant percentage of these kids will someday actually attend college at Ivy League schools.

Now that we are about halfway through Hizzoner's commitment, how does Jim's criticism hold up? Is KIPP doing anything more than resegregating public education and raking in the bling via Mayor Dean's regressive education policies? And is Metro Nashville Public Schools really doing anything better than it was before Dean's infatuation with privatizing education began?

UPDATE:  I neglected to mention in this context that Karl Dean recently lent vigorous support to a state charter school authorizer that would effectively remove power to approve charter schools from Nashville and Memphis school boards (what's the legality of that narrow focus?). Hizzoner believes so fervently in privatization that he is willing to invite the state to wrest political control from the hands of local voters, putting it in the hands of a conservative, bureaucratic state board that does not have to be directly accountable to Nashvillians or Memphians.

UPDATE: To reiterate, Williamson Co schools emphasize infrastructure over charter choices. Yet, Hizzoner believes that charter choices make Davidson more competitive.

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