The title of this post was a question I wanted to ask four authors on a panel at the Los Angeles Times Book Festival held at USC, but when I walked to the mike, I did an information dump about the fake Ed reformers war on public education instead; mentioned Diane Ravitch, her book and her blog; was challenged by the moderator, but was saved by an ESL teacher in the audience I didn’t know and still don’t.
This all happened on Saturday, April 12, after my wife and I arrived at USC’s campus after walking three miles from the downtown Los Angeles hotel where we were staying. It’s amazing how much the glitz and modern polish of downtown Los Angeles changes in a few miles. It almost felt as if we were leaving the concrete and glass Garden of Eden for a desert of fast food littered with car dealerships.
My wife was scheduled to be on a panel at 3:30, “Memoir: The Places that Makes Us” in a lecture hall located in the Andrus Gerontology Center. But three hours earlier, we went to another panel called “Nonfiction: The Evolution of Feminism” from 12:30 to 1:30 held in USC’s Taper Hall.
Robin Abcarian, an LA Times columnist, was the moderator with Nancy L. Cohen, M.G. Lord, and Myra MacPherson making up the panel of feminist authors.
Lord’s segment starts at 28:00 if you don’t want to watch the entire video.
Myra MacPherson is the author of “The Scarlet Sisters: Sex, Suffrage, and Scandal in the Gilded Age”.
When we sat down shortly before the moderated conversation between the panelists started, I wasn’t planning on asking any questions. Then during the conversation, Myra MacPherson mentioned the Koch brothers funding the far-right conservative efforts that are rolling back some of the gains the equal rights movement for women achieved during the 20th century.
When I heard that, I sat straighter because these billionaires were also involved in the war against the public schools in the US. If the billionaires won, the democratically run public schools that have been around for more than a hundred years would be closed and the almost $700 billion in annual taxes that support those schools and more than four million school teachers would be turned over to CEO’s and corporations; democratically elected school boards would be abolished, parents would have no say, and these corporate-run schools paid for by the taxpayers would operate without government oversight. The transparent democratically run public schools would be flushed down the sewer of history and the opaque corporate schools would replace them—corporations run by Bill Gates, Rupert Murdock, the Koch brothers, the Walton family, Eli Broad, Michael Bloomberg along with several Hedge Fund billionaires—who are in it only for the money—among other vultures. And parents would have no say what these corporate run schools taught their children; no control over how their children would be treated or how the tax dollars were spent.
When I was standing in front of that mike talking about the war on the public schools, the moderator, Robin Abcarian, interrupted me—which was right because I was off topic—a woman sitting in the crowded lecture hall behind me leaped up and shouted, “It has everything to do with it!”
Abcarian then invited the ESL teacher to the mike and I was thankful to sit down and shut up so I could cool off. It turned out that the woman who saved me teaches in a Los Angeles Unified elementary school, and when she reached the mike she made a connection between what was happening to the public schools and the roll back on women’s rights in the US.
Later—after returning home—I discovered that “in recent years, the number of public schools segregating their students by sex has ballooned, despite mounting evidence that single-sex programs don’t improve academic performance and instead perpetuate sex stereotypes.” (aclu.org)
I still don’t have an answer to my question: What happens to women’s rights if the public schools are abolished?
What I found really interesting was the fact that there wasn’t one panel at the Los Angeles Times Book Festival about the war being waged against the public schools by the fake education reformers even though there have been several books out recently on the subject loaded with facts proving that the public schools aren’t failing and don’t need drastic reforming.
What we are hearing in the traditional media is what the fake education reformers want us to hear. Why isn’t the media reporting on this controversy? Why is the resistance against the fake education reformers mostly being ignored?
Lloyd Lofthouseis a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).
His first novel was the award winning historical fiction My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. His second novel was the award winning thriller Running with the Enemy. His short story A Night at the “Well of Purity” was named a finalist of the 2007 Chicago Literary Awards. His wife is Anchee Min, the international, best-selling, award winning author of Red Azalea, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year (1992).
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