Monday, November 26, 2012

Two Perspectives from the Urban Hellhole (Philly)

Chris Lehmann:

But the thing is – whether it is Michelle Rhee or Rahm Emmanuel or <-Insert Corporate Ed-Reformer Here->, they don’t hate the kids.


They really do want to starve your granny.

Both are right, and you have to be able to hold both ideas in your head at the same time. In part they're both right because there is a wide range of people in each camp. There are plenty of people who hate kids, and some of them support school reform. There is a punitive, sadistic streak in American politics and economic life. There's a lot of hubris and ambition. Also, too, racism.

On the other hand, "they're wrong because they don't care about kids as much as we do" isn't going to win the argument, because privatizers have invested heavily in turning that argument against "the teachers' unions." It might never carry the day, but right now it is like a frontal assault on the Maginot Line.

It is important though, to not approach this situation as if both sides can come together over a common concern for kids. Or that, once the other side sees the damage their policies are doing in the lives of real kids, they'll reconsider. That's not going to happen. They're way, way, way past getting the benefit of the doubt on anything like that.

And at bottom, it isn't really about ideology. The kernel of this thing is tribal, getting the right kind of people in charge of schools and schools' money. Their people. I just see too many cases where one year they close something down only to replace it a few years later with the same damn thing, just run by their people.

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