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IS YOUR SCHOOL NEXT???? - Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Is your school next?

A National Movement

Aims to Turn Public Schools into Profit Centers


“We put people in business and we take people out of business,”  former Recovery School District official Gary Robichaux explained to The New York Times’ reporter Paul Tough.  And indeed they do.  In the name of education reform, schools in New Orleans and across our state are being taken away from locally elected citizen control and turned over to non-public boards that usually contract with private business interests to run the schools. 

The LSBA is among those who will host DePaul University professor Ken Saltman, author of Capitalizing on Disaster: Taking and Breaking Public Schools at a public forum to discuss the privatization of public schools in our state.  The event will be held Sunday, November 15 at 2:00 p.m. at the Richland Arts Center, 193 Hwy. 3048, Rayville, LA. 

Saltman’s details with stunning precision the taking of public schools in New Orleans and the breaking of local citizen control.  We are seeing the strategy creep into all regions of our state.  It’s time to educate ourselves.  It’s time to learn how to stop the profit-takers from siphoning funds away from our students. It’s time to take action. 

Saltman has been following the corporatist assault on public education for nearly a decade. On matters of “market forces and privatization” in education, no one has focused more sustained critical scrutiny than Saltman. Capitalizing on Disaster, his latest single-authored book, follows on the heels of his Edison Schools: Corporate Schooling and the Assault on Public Education (2005), Strange Love: Or How We Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Market (2002, co-authored with Robin Truth Goodman), and Collateral Damage: Corporatizing Public Schools – A Threat to Democracy (2000). He has also edited or co-edited works dealing with the same themes, including Schooling and the Politics of Disaster (2007) and Education As Enforcement: The Militarization and Corporatization of Schools (2003).

Dr. Saltman presents answers to intriguing questions such as “What do Hurricane Katrina and the Iraq War have in common? They both represent ‘golden opportunities’ to replace destroyed public school systems with private corporations… Kenneth Saltman clearly shows in his angry and powerful new book, while these two examples are exceptional situations, they characterize the far right’s modus operandi for radical social engineering--the public to private conversion--of the public schools.”

Capitalizing on Disaster is especially relevant in light of the new face of educational privatization which is replacing public schooling with educational management organizations (EMOs), vouchers, and charter schools at an alarming rate. In both disaster and non-disaster areas, officials designate schools as failed in order to justify replacement with new, unproven models. Saltman examines how privatization policies such as No Child Left Behind are designed to deregulate schools, favoring business while undermining public oversight. Examining current policies in New Orleans, Chicago, and Iraq, Capitalizing on Disaster shows how the struggle for public schooling is essential to the struggle for a truly democratic society.

Please don’t miss this opportunity to hear Dr. Saltman describe how events in Louisiana fit into the larger scheme of a national movement to end public education as we know it.


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