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More on Teach for America…

May 31, 2011

Those who know me know that I follow not only education, but the financial industry quite closely.  When I was in my twenties, I worked in that industry, and it has been a hobby of mine to follow it since that time.  I have been aghast at two decisions by President Obama since his election:  One: his decision to choose Arne Duncan as his Education Secretary (I will have more on this choice and how Linda Darling-Hammond was passed over.  Two: his staffing of the financial insiders who close work with him on monetary policy and how in my opinion that has led to NO prosecutions for outright financial crimes and taxpayer robbery in this country (see: Matt Taibbi in People vs. Goldman).

I have always sensed a link between the wealthy and Arne Duncan and “reformers.”  Diane Ravitch has spoken many times about the “Billionaire Boys Club” so when I read this from Barbara Miner’s piece on “Rethinking Schools” I was struck by how accurate my thinking has been:

“Wendy Puriefoy is president of the Public Education Network, a national association focused on public school reform in low-income communities, and was on the board of Teach for America in the early 1990s. She believes the organization has expanded its agenda in recent years and chooses her words carefully in analyzing its current role because, she says, “it is going to sound harsh.”

Likening market-oriented reforms in public education to the deregulation of the financial industry that culminated in a recession, she says that the very same people who promoted economic deregulation are influential supporters of organizations such as Teach for America. They want to sidestep professional teachers, unions, and schools of education “and let loose the forces of the market,” Puriefoy says. “The marketplace of education is a big market. There is a lot of money to be made.

I don’t think it needs to be any clearer that what you just read in that statement.  The very same people who promoted deregulation of our financial industry, which led to disastrous consequences, tight fiscal budgets, and a new persecution of teachers as if it is our fault, are influential supporters of the “reform” groups such as TFA.  Funny how that is huh?

Naomi Klein has an excellent book written a couple of years ago called “Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism” and this ties in as well.  Any disaster is seized upon by wealthy interests as a way to further what they want.  States going broke…blame unions and teachers…install TFA educators, break traditional teaching, instill doubt about teachers, say all schools are failing…you get the drift.

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