Advocacy philanthropy and the leveraged buy-out of public schools — Part 2

by Danny Weil [Note: This piece concludes the two-part essay. For Part 1, please see: Link] Ted Forstmann and private advocacy philanthropy as a social movement When there is an obvious financial pay-off for those promoting public policy changes through ‘advocacy philanthropy’, it behooves citizens to critically examine those advocates, their agendas and the implications of their claims. Sadly, this is not the case in America today nor was it at the time the leverage buy-out of public schools was being driven by those who posed as charitable individuals but whose real agenda was and is the incessant accumulation of … Continue reading Advocacy philanthropy and the leveraged buy-out of public schools — Part 2

Advocacy philanthropy and the leveraged buy-out of public schools — Part 1

by Danny Weil In a newly released book entitled The Gates Foundation and the Future of US  Public Schools, author Kenneth Saltman argues that the entry into educational reform policies within the last decade by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and other, what he calls “venture philanthropists”, is part of a broader ideological and economic trend.  More specifically, Saltman argues that this development is one connected to neo-liberalism and the shift from a capitalist industrial economy to a service oriented economy. Saltman continues by correctly identifying that this modification represents a shift from the public governance of education to … Continue reading Advocacy philanthropy and the leveraged buy-out of public schools — Part 1

The teachers strike: An emerging revolutionary ideal

by Henry A. Giroux What the world is witnessing in Chicago as thousands of teachers, staff and support personnel strike is the emergence of a revolutionary ideal. This is an ideal rooted in the promise of democracy — one that challenges corrupt neo-liberal practices, such as giving corporations and markets the right to define the purpose and meaning of public education; opposes policies that systemically defund public education by shifting the burden of low tax rates for the rich, and the cost of bloated military expenditures, to teachers and other public servants; and refuses to support educational reforms that help … Continue reading The teachers strike: An emerging revolutionary ideal

Zombie functionalism and the return of neo-instrumentality in education

by Danny Weil For decades now, the debate in America over education has swerved back and forth between student testing, teacher accountability, standards, competitiveness and what curriculum should contain. With No Child Left Behind ushered in at the beginning of the George W. Bush presidency, America entered into the cartographic reality and morbid morass of high stakes testing, the location on the chess board where the Wall Street financiers and seedy politicians wanted to put public school education after years of neglect and underfunding.  Why?  For not only is the attack on public education one aimed at destroying teacher unions … Continue reading Zombie functionalism and the return of neo-instrumentality in education

The scorched earth politics of America’s fundamentalisms

by Henry A. Giroux Americans seem confident in the mythical notion that the United States is a free nation dedicated to reproducing the principles of equality, justice, and democracy.  What has been ignored in this delusional view is the growing rise of an expanded national security state since 2001 and an attack on individual rights that suggests that the United States has more in common with authoritarian regimes like China and Iran “than anyone may like to admit.”[1] I want to address this seemingly untenable notion that the United States has become a breeding ground for authoritarianism by focusing on … Continue reading The scorched earth politics of America’s fundamentalisms