Monday, May 26, 2008

"muscular philanthropy"

Posted, too, at SM:
Muscular philanthropy--that's what Fred Hess calls the kind of Walton-Broad-Gates phalanx that has as one of its goals the charterizing (rhymes with cauterizing) of American public schools, beginning first in the urban schools where voucher efforts have been unsuccessful so far. Bill and Melinda, the darlings of the neoliberal set, are a bit queasy regarding vouchers, having the ongoing history that they do with the education establishment. See, too, "How Many Billionaires Does It Take to Fix a School System," NY Times Magazine, 3/9/08.
Now charter schools are a different matter, particularly as we have elements of the AFT and the head of the SEIU, Andy Stern, on board with Steve Barr, Eli Broad, and the Gates Foundation to craft a corporate-controlled version of public schools for the poor and working classes at a 20 percent savings to the taxpayer (and a 20% cost to teachers). Bill and Melinda, in fact, gave $7.8 million to Green Dot Public Schools, Inc. last July. That's a nifty complement to the $20+ million already dished up by the Broad Foundation for the LAUSD charter takeover.

(Photo: Andy Stern (SEIU) looks on as Steve Barr, CEO of Green Dot Public Schools, Inc. presents Eli Broad a plaque for $10 million given at the first annual Green Dot Ball, November 2007, Los Angeles).

Now I don't know if you would label corporate control of the public schools as social control. I guess some would call it corporate socialism or just plain fascism. For those, however, seeking more evidence of Bill's boyish, if slightly creaky, charm applied to using private billions to buy the public good, here are a few additional links here, here, here. I wish I had time to summarize them for Dr. Anonymous, but I am going the beach in few minutes.

The saddest part of all this is that the corporate media outlets offer ample opportunity for Broad and others of his ilk to pump the KIPP charter chain gangs (Bill and Melinda gave $7.9 million to KIPP in 2004) as the modern day solution to the "negro problem." Ed Week has only a slightly more nuanced approach, as Tmao Essj points out in this blog entry from last June:
The June 13 issued of Education Week published an article on student attrition at KIPP schools, particularly the two in San Francisco and one in Oakland, that didn't bury the lede as much as it pretended it didn't exist. Somewhat surprisingly, all manner of bloggers and commenters performed the same intellectual sleight-of-hand.

The article is trapped behind a subscription wall, making it unlinkable, but Ed Week correctly reports that fewer than half of the kids that begin the Bay Area KIPP schools as 5th graders in 2003 make it to 8th grade in 2006. In the Oakland incarnation, the attrition rate climbs to 75 percent. The article ignores the fact that these lost students are overwhelmingly African-American males. The three Bay Area KIPPs lost 77, 67, and 71 percent of its Young Black Males (YBMs) during this time period.

That's the story Ed Week. That's the story Eduwonk. That's the story, KIPP PR fixers.

There's more Black males on the KIPP website than in the KIPP. . . .
Admittedly, these attrition rates for KIPP in the Bay Area are not as bad (or good) as they were at the Hampton Institute in 1900 in Virginia (or the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama), when one out of five students who entered those industrial education/teacher training camps earned certificates to permit them to brainwash black children throughout the South in the "dignity of labor," but you have to admit the KIPP numbers are pretty impressive stats. The washouts, of course, have an economic function, too, providing as they do the future customers in the privately-managed prison industrial complex that the technocrats have devised to replace, yet another, civic responsibility.

You can be sure, however, that those black and brown KIPP-sters who make it through the direct instruction gauntlet are no less ready than the Hampton graduates to do, as Booker T. Washington did, the work that is offered by the overseers whose respect must be earned--repeatedly. WORK HARD, BE NICE--indeed.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

It's an extraordinary dis on minority parents to claim that they are so clueless about their children's welfare that they would turn them over to a system whose only goal is to keep them down.

AFT is running a charter school and a number of liberal and progressive types support the concept of charters. Teachers have voted to join up with Steve Barr's program. Are they all fascists?

Sherman Dorn said...

I still think there needs to be more evidence to back up your claims. If we shouldn't believe foundations' own PR efforts in one way, maybe we shouldn't believe them when they talk about their own influence, either, or the reasons why people accept the money.

One minor thing: As someone pointed out on my blog, it's Rick Hess of AEI, not Fred Hess.

Sherman Dorn said...

I still think there needs to be more evidence to back up your claims. If we shouldn't believe foundations' own PR efforts in one way, maybe we shouldn't believe them when they talk about their own influence, either, or the reasons why people accept the money.

One minor thing: As someone pointed out on my blog, it's Rick Hess of AEI, not Fred Hess.

Jim Horn said...

Well, if I were writing an article or a book, no doubt I would offer more "evidence," but since this is a blog, where opinion is free to grow and graze, I am quite happy to have you take it or leave it as it is. Vive le difference!

I am wondering, however, what kind of "evidence" would you find compelling.

And that's Frederick M. (Rick) Hess.

Anonymous said...

You do know the difference between evidence and opinion and proganda, don't you?

teacherlady450 said...

Great post! One does not need more than a sprinkle of common sense to deduce that when individuals like the Waltons, whose company is constantly under scrutiny for their violations of basic human rights, begin funding anything education related it should be of suspect.
But then again, we don't need common sense anymore.
We need evidence!!!

Anonymous said...

If Walton is putting money into schools that do a good job, that teachers like to teach in, and that parents and students like, how is it common sense that something is wrong with that?

And what "bssic human rights" have the Walton company violated?

teacherlady450 said...

'And what "basic human rights" have the Walton company violated?'
Denying their employees a living wage and access to basic health care. Human rights violations in factories that produce products. Intimidation tactics against those workers who attempt to organize.
I don't trust their motives at all.

Anonymous said...

Walton pays its employees market rates for unskilled labor. Would you pay ten bucks for a bar of soap at Walton so that Walton could pay its checkers more money?

And even granting the allegations against Walton, what has any of that got to do with Walton funding for schools? Should schools turn down money because somebody thinks Walton doesn't pay its employees enough?

teacherlady450 said...

"Would you pay ten bucks for a bar of soap at Walton so that Walton could pay its checkers more money?"
Do you honestly believe that paying the "checkers" at Walmart a living wage would increase the price of soap to ten dollars? Number one, that's a load of malarkey.
Number two, I would hope that in an enlightened society, we should be concerned with the wages of all of our members including the "checkers." Not only does it make moral sense, it makes for common sense as well, as the welfare of other people will have a direct effect on all of us.
"granting the allegations against Waltons, what has any of that got to do with Waltons funding for schools"
Why on earth would you trust the motives of individuals with no moral fiber? The Waltons fund causes which support their own agenda. KIPP schools seem to fit this agenda. I wonder why...

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