Nothing significant is going
to happen if it takes place behind the leadership of the vacillating reactionary
Dianne Ravitch and the union bosses who lionize her.
*US capitalism in a real crisis of finance and industry,
* imperialism (lost and losing two wars and starting a new one),
*growing imperial competition,
*and the now-existing corporate state which is running the schools in its own interests.
The rapid emergence of the US corporate state, a key prop for fascism, taking power in somewhat new garb, but retaining its core aspects, including a government that is in reality an executive committee and armed weapon of the rich. Within that committee they iron out their differences (finance vs industrial capital, for example, and minor differences too---all at play as capital's values of "me first" meet the need for class rule) then turn on the mass of people with a vengeance, inside and outside the US.
While American public education has always been a myth (forever segregated by class and race, always promoting lies like nationalism), that is especially true now. Some Substance writers have been the most prominent critics of the demolition of whatever there was of public education, and the turn to capitalist schooling–within the corporate state.
What is defensible about the key aspects of capitalist schooling: the regimentation of the curricula and eradication of history, racist and anti-working class high-stakes testing, and militarization in poor or working class areas?
But Ravitch wants to “defend
public education,” not because she has changed sides, but because she is a
reactionary defender of empire and exploitation, just like the union bosses who
Working solely behind Ravitch’s
lead, for example, backing Democrats, as she and her unionite backers urge,
*where the Supremes, millionaires in black robes, rule, abolishing civil rights and labor laws,
*into the Constitution, written to protect the rich and their properties,
*into holograms of democracy like unions which are not democratic nor unions in any sense of solidarity or resistance,
*the more they give up (eager to make concessions in Wisconsin in order, only, to preserve dues check off) ,
*the more people "Defend Public Education" (an indefensible distortion),
*the more people “Fight Privatization,” when the key issue is corporate-state schooling,
* the more the people see the Democrats as "lesser evils,"
*the more they ratify evil, and the sharper become the attacks from capital as capital in crisis, as it is, MUST attack.
To urge reliance on the
capitalist, corporate, state, means to allow in and quicken the emergence of
Throughout this period,
racism resumed its respectability, perhaps under cover terms like
"Convict." or "Illegal," and school segregation sharpened.
What school union tops spoke out and raised hell? Where was Ravitch on this?
She was working on good terms with official gutter racists and spies. And the
union tops and Ravitch backed the wars where children of the poor on all sides
kill children of the poor on behalf of the rich in their homelands. The bill
for war is always sent to workers, hence the current gutting of school funds.
Not resisting the war on
knowledge and reason in schools, and not rejecting imperial warfare outside
schools, school workers knotted their own nooses–the logical step-by-step
process of alienated work.
Ravitch, NEA boss Dennis Van Roekel, AFT boss Randi Weingarten, and all the other sponsors of counterfeit social democracy want none of that.
Let me invert this. If George
Schmidt, Susan Ohanian, Jean Anyon, Pauline Lipman, Carole Edelsky, Patrick
Shannon, Peter McLaren, or other exemplary education scholars who have noticed
the role of social class in schooling–if any of them sought to take a
leadership role in the Albert Shanker Institute, would its board members not
only offer them a seat, but fete them?