Why Education ‘Reformers’ Are Useful Idiots

Because these are the idiots you’ve allied yourselves with:

…many of these voucher advocates claim they simply want to expand school choice and improve the quality of education for all.

Yet one group that has been influential in the school voucher push — the Independence Hall Tea Party, which has run a major PAC that operates in Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania — is finally admitting that its true goal is to abolish public education.

Here’s what the head batshitloonitarian thinks:

“We think public schools should go away,” says Teri Adams, the head of the Independence Hall Tea Party and a leading advocate — both in New Jersey and Pennsylvania — of passage of school voucher bills. The tea party operates in those two states and Delaware. They should “go away,” she says, because “they are hurting our children.” [...] Adams says the current voucher program “discriminates” against wealthier students by providing public subsidies only to inner-city children in allegedly failing schools. Her group’s e-mails pushing vouchers caught the attention of James Kovalcin of South Brunswick, a retired public school teacher who asked Adams for clarification. She responded via email: “Our ultimate goal is to shut down public schools and have private schools only, eventually returning responsibility for payment to parents and private charities. It’s going to happen piecemeal and not overnight. It took us years to get into this mess and it’s going to take years to get out of it.”

Meanwhile, the more ‘moderate’ reformers only want to bust unions and subvert open democratic processes, such as Jonah Edelman, head of the misnamed Stand for Children:

In the video, which was taken at the corporate-funded Aspen Institute’s “Ideas Festival”, Edelman lays out how his organization parachuted into Illinois, and cajoled the state legislature, and even statewide teachers unions, into backing legislation largely crafted by his organization that took an axe to the negotiating and bargaining rights of Illinois teachers.
Illinois teacher and union activist Fred Klonsky has been all over the story, and offered this observation:

It was fascinating to watch as Edelman frankly, proudly, described how his group, Stand For Children, outfoxed the CTU, IFT and the IEA into supporting Senate Bill 7. The bill, Edelman openly admits, was designed to fool the union leadership into giving up the right of Chicago teachers to strike.

…Watch the video, and imagine how anyone would “wrongly conclude” that Edelman is against unions. Watch him boast of being able to cajole union reps, because he was amassing the political muscle necessary to ram anti-union legislation “down their throats.” Hard to imagine anyone jumping to the wrong conclusions, based on rhetoric like that….

The truth be told, Edelman has no reason to apologize. His remarks were, to say the least, illuminating. Many in the “educational reform” community will spout all the proper platitudes about respecting the work of teaching. Many, like Michelle Rhee, will point to their own “time in the field” (which, among the reformist crowd, is often limited to sojourns of a few years in the classroom). But, when push comes to shove, they are almost always advocating for teachers having less control over their work environment. They love those teachers, as long as those teachers are not afforded any professional rights of consequence.
Edelman is apologizing because someone caught him saying it out loud, and brought it beyond the friendly confines of the Aspen Institute. He is apologizing because he knows how bad it looks. Like so many people thrust into circumstances like these, he is not apologizing for the agenda he has lobbied for. He apologized for the wrong people hearing him brag about it.

(seriously, watch the video to get the full effect)

They are as committed to improving public education as creationists are to teaching evolution along side creationism–which is to say not at all. When progressives start babbling about how busting teachers unions is vital, they are serving as unwitting stalking horses for well-funded opponents of public education.

They are what Stalin called “useful idiots.”

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10 Responses to Why Education ‘Reformers’ Are Useful Idiots

  1. aquanerd says:

    Why does it feel like the Republicans just want us to regress into the Dark Ages again??? Where only the wealthy get educated and us peons should shut up and go back to farm! What is wrong with this country!!!

  2. Drivebyposter says:

    Why does it feel like the Republicans just want us to regress into the Dark Ages again??? Where only the wealthy get educated and us peons should shut up and go back to farm! What is wrong with this country!!!

    because readin is fer them fagots. Aint nobuddy want fagots around.
    ^That’s the only reason I can come up with.

  3. Pierce R. Butler says:

    Stalin apparently never used the phrase “Useful idiots”. Many have attributed it to Lenin, but that seems incorrect also.
    Amazing how many people in the US want to destroy the US.

  4. . says:

    1. i didn’t spot the area of text stating that ‘progressives’ want to gut (employee) unions.
    2. also, at least in recent years, “useful idiots” is a label most commonly applied to teabaggers.
    3. vouchers ≠ charter schools, but i recently saw ephemeral mention that on average, charter schools haven’t done better than public schools. i haven’t even searched for the possible source of the comment.
    4. http://thinkprogress.org/education/2011/07/11/265663/voucher-tea-party-go-away/
    mispelled “funnell”

  5. M says:

    Keeping in mind that most if not all of these people that want to get rid of public schools came from public schools, I am starting to be inclined to agree with them.
    If these people are what our public schools are turning out, then maybe we need a fresh start.
    Although, public schools also have turned out many well adjusted folks as well.

  6. Interestingly, the proposal would also eliminate the state’s colleges and universities from the Constitution. An effort to do that failed in 1998. Because the schools are in the Constitution, they can’t be closed. The state’s inability to close campuses has often frustrated reformers of higher education who believe the state has too many institutions of higher education. That is certainly a question worth discussing, but not in an all-or-nothing vote with other radical issues.

  7. Surgoshan says:

    For a program initiated by the KKK to fight desegregation, school vouchers have had remarkable staying power.

  8. A few points:
    1. NOT(education=attendance at school).
    2. NOT(“public education”=government-operated schools).
    3. In abstract, the education industry is a very unlikely candidate for State (government, generally) operation. What we in the US call “the public school system” originated in religious indoctrination and anti-Catholic bigotry.
    4. It does not take 12 years at $12,000 per pupil-year to teach a normal child to read and compute. Most vocational training occurs more effectively on the job than in a classroom. State (government, generally) provision of History, Economics, and Civics instruction is a threat to democracy, just as State operation of newspapers and electronic broadcast news media would be, and are, in totalitarian countries like Cuba and North Korea.

  9. (Surgoshan): “For a program initiated by the KKK to fight desegregation, school vouchers have had remarkable staying power.”
    1. According to Joel Spring, before waves of Catholic immigrants provoked an allergic reaction in the resident Protestant majority, more polities in the early post-revolutionary US supported attendance at Church-operated schools of the parents’ choice than mandated attendance at State (government, generally)-operated schools.
    2. The KKK sided with the State of Oregon in the case Pierce versus Society of Sisters.
    3. Polls routinely find that support for vouchers falls with family income, and that blacks are more likely to support vouchers than are whites. Political control of school harms most the children of the least politically-adept parents (“Well, duh!” as my students would say).

  10. (Surgoshan): “For a program initiated by the KKK to fight desegregation, school vouchers have had remarkable staying power.
    Ummm…
    (Constitution of Alabama, 1901): “Duty of legislature to establish and maintain public school system; apportionment of public school fund; separate schools for white and colored children.
    The legislature shall establish, organize, and maintain a liberal system of public schools throughout the state for the benefit of the children thereof between the ages of seven and twenty-one years. The public school fund shall be apportioned to the several counties in proportion to the number of school children of school age therein, and shall be so apportioned to the schools in the districts or townships in the counties as to provide, as nearly as practicable, school terms of equal duration in such school districts or townships. Separate schools shall be provided for white and colored children, and no child of either race shall be permitted to attend a school of the other race.

    Political control of school harms most the children of the least poltically-adept parents.

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