OLATHE, Kan. - As the Brownback administration prepares to do battle with the citizens of Kansas, it's time to look again at the arguments that corporations and religious conservatives will be using to promote school vouchers and other privatization schemes.
In her now-aging-but-still-relevant article, Why The Right Hates Public Education, Barbara Miner lists the following as a few reasons:
I'd like to offer a few additional reasons that corporate and right-wing religious interests have in killing public education ...
Education is a multibillion dollar market, and the private sector is eager to get its hands on those dollars. Conservatives are devoted to the free market and believe that private is inherently superior to public. Shrinking public education furthers the Republican Party goal of drastically reducing the public sector. Privatization undermines teacher unions, a key base of support for the Democratic Party. Privatization rhetoric can be used to woo African American and Latino voters to the Republican Party.
- Universal, free education is a means of social mobility. The better educated you are, the more power you have. Since greater numbers of public school students are non-Anglo, that poses a problem for conservatives.
- Public schools strive to be politically neutral. Private schools don't--and won't. Funding private schools with public money will be a great temptation to create right-wing, religious madrasas. With Brownback's affiliation with The Family and their indifference to moral outrage, it's a safe bet that he won't have any problem supporting those moves.
- Public schools usually teach respect for the environment, different cultures and, yes, evolution.
- Students brainwashed by religious conservatives are much more likely to respond to scare tactics and fear mongering, rather than challenging assumptions and asking tough questions.