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Comparing public school performance in the United States: Part 3 of 3

04 Jan

Now that you have a better idea of what’s going on—with facts instead of just opinions—you may want to know who some of the players are behind the privatization movement for public education in the United States.

For instance: the Koch brothers (combined net worth $72 Billion); the Walton Family (combined net worth $103 Billion), the Bill and Melinda Gates ($72 Billion); Bloomberg ($31 Billion); William Ackman, who made his wealth from hedge funds ($1.2 Billion), and Rupert Murdock ($13.4 billion) etc.

The money behind the critics of public education comes from the families and individuals listed in the previous paragraph in addition to other wealthy Americans, who have spent millions of their own money to influence voters and elected representatives regarding the privatization of public education at the state and national level.


The voices of teachers and parents must be louder than the money of billionaires!

On the other side of this issue, millions of teachers have democratically elected union leaders to speak for them, but the billionaires have done all they can—for more than thirty years—to make the teachers’ unions look bad—unions that are funded by monthly member dues.

Teachers Union Exposed.comevidently a critic of public education—reported that over the last 20 years, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) has given more than $28 million in campaign contributions [on average, $1.4 million annually]; the National Education Association (NEA) has given almost $31 million [$1.55 million annually].

But Teachers Union Exposed.com doesn’t bother to mention how much the billionaires are spending to privatize public education in the United States. To read about one billionaire’s impact on higher education, I suggest reading “The Gates Effect”.

Bill Gates has spent $5 billion in his attempt to reform public education in the US. The Wall Street Journal says, “The Gates Foundation met the same resistance that other sizeable philanthropic efforts have encountered while trying to transform dysfunctional urban school systems run by powerful labor unions and a top-down government monopoly provider.”

Do you know who owns the Wall Street Journal? Rupert Murdock (who, according to Mother Jones.com, wants to teach your kids (for a profit of course). This may explain why The Wall Street Journal claims that urban public schools are dysfunctional without any valid proof that this is true.

Do you really want Bill Gates—the man behind Microsoft and its endless software updates fixing what should have been fixed long ago—in charge of deciding how our kids learn, or having a multinational corporation [News Corp, the 2nd largest media corporation in the world] in charge of assessing kids’ reading skills?

 

Another example: Koch Brothers Exposed.com reported that the Koch brothers have donated more than $196 million to dozens of free-market and advocacy organizations. In 2008, the three main Koch family foundations contributed to 34 political and policy organizations, three of which they founded, and several of which they direct.

What about a few of the other billionaires?

In 2010 (not the last twenty years), the Walton family contributed almost $5 million and Bloomberg contributed almost $3 million (outspending the teacher unions by a large margin). (Seattle Post Globe.org)

In other words, what Teachers Union Exposed.com says is that if teacher unions spend some of the money that comes from millions of teachers to defend the interests of the teachers and the public schools—that are not failing—that’s wrong, but it’s okay for billionaires to attack the public schools; claim whatever they want and spend whatever they want.

Without the unions more than 3 million teachers would have no voice and we’d only hear what a few billionaires want us to believe—that our public schools are broken when the facts say this is far from the truth. There are other studies but every study, pro or con, has critics who point out flaws.

In fact, there is no definitive proof that the public schools are broken and there have been no studies to identify how many teachers are incompetent or burned out. What we have are critics of public education—mostly private-sector billionaires—who pay PR people to cherry pick facts while spending millions spreading lies and misinformation while promoting unproven programs and theories.

Return to Comparing public school performance in the United States: Part 2 or start with Part 1

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran.

His latest novel is the award winning Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to kill Americans.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper right-hand column and click on “Sign me up!”

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2 responses to “Comparing public school performance in the United States: Part 3 of 3

  1. maureenkeeney2013

    January 4, 2014 at 06:42

    Unbelievable… I believe most young teachers and every day citizens do not understand what is really happening to our education system. as educators , we must continue to advocate and share the news about the concerns and dang day that is moving forward. I see the tide turning, but we must continue to be strong advocates. Thanks for your voice. You get it! Please continue to speak and I will share. Let,s Hope things move faster in 2014, Thanks

     
    • Lloyd Lofthouse

      January 4, 2014 at 07:59

      Maureen,

      Your welcome and yes, I will continue to share and fight back against the tide of ignorance and the scapegoating of more than three million teachers driven by a hand full of greedy power-hungry billionaires.

      I was fortunate to have a great principal my first few years of full-time teaching under contract. His name was Ralph Pagan and as a young teacher starting out I had no idea how good he was as a principal. He organized the teachers into teams who then ran the school by making most of the curriculum decision in addition to how to handle discipline.

      The few years that I worked as a teacher under Ralph as the principal were the only years that I experienced this cooperative, team building management style that turned a school with the worst reputation for gang violence into a mecca of safety and learning—it’s amazing what high expectations and firm discipline can achieve in an environment like that one. The school was Giano Intermediate and it was surrounded by a barrio full of drugs and violence. Ralph warned us to never leave the campus on foot and walk into the neighborhood because there was always the risk of getting shot or jumped by one of the street gangs. It would be a understatement to say that the area was riddled by violence, drugs and poverty.

      Yes, most of the district level administrators that were there when I was still teaching could claim that teachers in all the schools in that district were organized into teams and they would be right, but the decisions/suggestions of those teacher teams were often ignored by the district if it went against the popular political correctness of the time that was ruled mainly by the parenting self-esteem movement to make kids feel successful and good even if they did no reading or work and showed no progress.

      The mantra from the state capital on down was make the kids feel good about themselves no matter what and the pressure was intense to do this.

      Back to Ralph. What we didn’t know was that the district office administration—under pressure from the complaints of parents of children who were being disciplined by the decisions of teams of teachers—was putting a lot of pressure on him to return to the average style of management from the top down and eventually this pressure caused him to have a heart attack leading to an early retirement.

      After that, for the next twenty-five years, I taught in schools that were mostly run from the district office where the principal was often overruled. The shift went from academic and behavior focused to make the parents happy by making the kids feel good by boosting a false sense of self esteem through less demanding curriculum and grade inflation.

      I think that teachers should be making the major decisions and it should be the job of administrators to make sure that what teachers, working together as teams, want, they get. But it doesn’t work that way.

      Instead, often what goes on in the classroom is dictated from Washington D.C., state capitals and district offices and teachers and left out of the decision making process of what to teach and how to teach. The way the system works today, teachers are no better than automated robots programed from on high to teach the way the programmers want. Public education is a toothless profession and when things don’t work the way the micromanages from corporate boardrooms who controls the decisions in Washington DC want, then use the media they own and control to blame the teachers who had very little say in the process.

       

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