Do any parents in urban school districts ever wonder why they don’t read in the newspapers about a rush of educational reformers salvaging the suburban school districts? Do they wonder why they don’t read of suburban schools ridding themselves of tenure and teacher unions, the so-called great pariahs of educational achievement and advancement? Do they wonder why the education reformers love them and their dysfunctional cities so much?
In all the publicity they get from the failed educational leadership in their cities about the wonders of educational reform through charter schools, do they ever get a cost effective and educational advancement accounting of charter schools’ national success ratio? Those taxpayers might want to take a look at those results.
These “reformers” are actually The Education Jackals. They attack only the weak, dying and destitute systems and shred them to bare bones. The fact is that the charter school wizards are quick-in/quick-out jackals who serve the interests of the corporations they serve, like Achievement First or Students First, whose only purpose is to raid the taxpayer education funds and spread their screed of wonders to come. They do not care about or follow through on their shortcomings. When they fail (as they do regularly), they simply start up again, somewhere else under a different name.
Exploitation of the weak is not new in our society. It usually is justified by the convenient Latin phrase caveat emptor, roughly translated, “Hey, I didn’t promise it would do all the things I said it does.” The phrase serves as cover for the charlatan, the human jackal. We even admire them for a while, the Abramoffs, the Madoffs, the Michele Rhees—that is, so long as we don’t personally suffer their ravages. We even have language, “players” and “suckers,” that assigns the roles. It’s part of being American.
But then we end up whining about it when we realize that someone has bilked us, and in the case of an urban community’s tax funds, the whining gets loud and unruly. Of course, their problem is that nobody hears the whining because the one’s least affected are the ones who have invited the jackals to the cash smorgasbord. These are the “earnest” and “sincere” political and community hacks who will do anything to publicize that they are doing something, even though the something might be more detrimental and costly than the status quo.
This sort of pillaging of public funds and touting the superiority of austerity measures to purify and streamline efficiency and advance expertise in the public domain is not limited to education. These privatization-for-profit schemes have resulted in the burgeoning of our prison population through the implementation of private prisons.
The dirty little secret is that to support the rationale for “saving” public funding of prisons, these incarceration enterprises require a constant supply of inmates, resulting in what has become known as the “prison industrial complex,” a coordination among law enforcement, judiciary and corporate entities to make profit from crime, another kind of jackals. According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) “2,266,800 adults were incarcerated in U.S. federal and state prisons, and county jails at year-end 2010 — about 7% of adults in the U.S. resident population.” The rate of increase has placed the US as world leader in prison population to the delight of the prison profit takers; to appreciate the rapid growth, consider that in 1980 US incarcerations totaled 1.8 million inmates, which ballooned to 7 million in 2005. One theory contends that the largest supply of inmates comes from misdemeanors and low-level felonies in urban environments, places lacking in the close scrutiny of the justice system and the available funds to pay pricey attorneys.
To understand how this pincer dynamic works to keep the white and black poor in poverty have a look at Michelle Alexander's The New Jim Crow.
Something’s happening here, and what it is, is abundantly clear.
BTW— Cynicism is an unpleasant way of saying the truth. -- Lillian Hellman