Freedom Rider: Newark Rejects $100 million School Scam

by Margaret Kimberley,  from BAR

The people of Newark through grass roots mobilization and the ballot box said thanks but no thanks to Zuckerberg and his big money.”

In 2010, Facebook’s billionaire founder Mark Zuckerberg joined Newark, New Jersey mayor Cory Booker on the Oprah Winfrey show with great fanfare. The purpose of their appearance was to announce that Zuckerberg was contributing $100 million to the Newark, New Jersey school system.

There was a time when private donations to public schools would have been unheard of. Schools were well funded with government money and were accountable only to the people for their actions. That history is now passé, as rich individuals and corporations have snatched seats at a table where they do not belong. Charter schools have been foisted upon black and brown children across the country, and in the process fired thousands of black teachers, closed schools, and stolen resources from public education while simultaneously making profits for hedge fund chieftains.

This disastrous plan has gathered steam with Republican and Democratic politicians alike who happily jump on the band wagon and the big money that comes with it. A Republican president may use the slogan No Child Left Behind and a Democrat may say Race to the Top, but the end results are equally disastrous.

The Newark scheme has been in the news lately because the people of Newark through grass roots mobilization and the ballot box said thanks but no thanks to Zuckerberg and his big money. Newark was vulnerable to the charter school confidence game for two reasons. First, its low performing school system was taken over by the state of New Jersey in 1995 and secondly, they had the misfortune of having Cory Booker as their mayor.

Booker’s rise to the city council, mayoralty and now United States senate is a tale for the ages. He successfully marketed himself to rich people and raised huge amounts of money for his campaigns. He might have been the first black president instead of Barack Obama, because as the New Yorker magazine recently pointed out, his wealthy benefactors loved him that much.

“They let Cory into their boardrooms and offices, introduced him to people they worked with in hedge funds. As young finance people, they looked at a guy like Cory at this stage as if they were buying Google at seventy-five dollars a share. They were talking about him being the first black President before he even got elected to the city council, and they all wanted to be a part of that ride.”

The ambitious Booker made a name for himself and became a prodigious fundraiser as one of the first black politicians to support the school voucher movement. He was backed by the Bradley foundation and Walmart’s Walton family and became the celebrity up and coming Democrat. Of course he would ally himself with Zuckerberg and Republican governor Chris Christie in the scheme to deliver the final coup de grace to public education in Newark.

[read more here]

Ron Paul to Cash in on Neoliberal School Privatization

by Scott Creighton

It’s so nice to see Ron Paul profiting off Bill Clinton’s neoliberal plan of action isn’t it? Nothing says “LIBERTY” like a Slick Willy endorsement. Am I right?

“That’s why I ask my colleagues to appreciate, as well as tolerate, my concern over a public tribute to former President Bill Clinton, who today received the first-ever lifetime achievement award from the National Alliance of Public Charter Schools.

To his credit, Clinton used his Bully Pulpit to tell the American people that charters are good for us. He said he wanted to see 2,000 charters by the end of his administration and indeed growth did occur. The effort he and Congress led to create and grow the public charter grant program helped spur the growthEdreform.com 2011

Our education system is broken by design. They deliberately underfund it and set ridiculous standards so they can undermine the country’s confidence in the public school system in order to push for the wholesale privatization of the entire system and thus set their eyes on the real prize… the billions of dollars annually spent on public education that await them like the fabled pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.

And there is no subset of this for-profit education scam like the “online charter” programs for generating massive profits for very little cost. It’s the wave of the future for snake oil salesmen from Maui to Maine.

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Public Schools for Sale?

(It should be mentioned that the original charter school system was set up in Chile under Pinochet, the dictator we put in power in ’73. ALEC is a good part of the strength of the charter school movement. You will remember, ALEC was created in 1973, two years after the Lewis Powell memo of ’71)

by Bill Moyers, from Moyers & Company

[go here to watch the interview]  [here is Diane Ravitch’s website]

Public education is becoming big business as bankers, hedge fund managers and private equity investors are entering what they consider to be an “emerging market.” As Rupert Murdoch put it after purchasing an education technology company, “When it comes to K through 12 education, we see a $500 billion sector in the U.S. alone.”

Education historian Diane Ravitch says the privatization of public education has to stop. As assistant secretary of education under President George H.W. Bush, she was an advocate of school choice and charter schools; under George W. Bush, she supported the No Child Left Behind initiative. But after careful investigation, she changed her mind, and has become, according to Salon, “the nation’s highest profile opponent” of charter-based education.

[full transcript after the break]

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A bankers’ plan for Detroit

from the WSWS

The proposal submitted late last week by Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr to the federal court overseeing Detroit’s bankruptcy is a blueprint for a devastating attack on the working class of the city. The “plan of adjustment” would be better termed the “plan of destruction,” targeting pensions, health care and core public assets, including the world-renowned Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA).

Orr’s plan confirms the central premise of the Workers Inquiry into the Bankruptcy of Detroit held by the Socialist Equality Party on February 15: A crime is being perpetrated, one that is the product of a political conspiracy involving both big business parties and all the institutions of the state.

A New York Times article over the weekend compared, approvingly, what is taking place in Detroit to the restructuring of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Indeed, the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina was used as an opportunity to depopulate sections of the city and go after basic social rights, including the handing over of public education to for-profit charter schools.

[read the rest, here]

Neoliberal Terrorism Decimates Distracted Nation While the Terrorists Write the Laws

by Scott Creighton

While we are distracted by little pressure-cooker bombs, shaking in our boots over internet radicalized extremists, the real terrorists are skimming off the entire wealth of the nation into their pockets, one city at a time. And while we worry about cointelpro ops breathlessly hypothesizing about “weather weapons” making tornadoes, the financial oligarchs are writing more legislation in order to enable them to do commit even more terrorism against us and our future generations.

It’s reality of the absurd and there’s just no other way of looking at it.

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Charter Schools Save Money? Think Again – $500,000 Bonus to a Failed Charter Principal

by Scott Creighton

student at Young’s Motel 6 High School

School didn’t have computers, a library or even cafeteria services and the money the for-profit school saved by cheating 181 kids out of a decent education, they apparently divided up among themselves when the gig was finally up in Orlando. Christ, according to their recent evaluation, they couldn’t even teach English!

When you think about charter schools, you think about someone trying to sell the “public/private partnership” in terms of saving taxpayers some money. It’s simply not true. It costs more per student to educate through a charter school system and most studies show the education they receive is rather substandard at best. No accountability, no morals.. the WalMartization of Education is at hand.

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