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Public Education in Era of Drastic Budget Cuts

By Will Corsair
Opinion | November 19, 2010

books-line-drawing.gifOLATHE, 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:

  • 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.
  • I'd like to offer a few additional reasons that corporate and right-wing religious interests have in killing public education ...

    teacher-and-kids.jpg

    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. Public schools usually teach respect for the environment, different cultures and, yes, evolution.
    4. 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.
    As the corporate and religious interests start rubbing their hands at the opportunity to feast at the public trough once again, this time in the not-so-subtle guise of "streamlining government," let's remember where their allegiances really are.


    4 Comments

    I agree wth a through e. I'll never agree with 1. It's so easy to call people racist when you don't agree with their positions. It just seems to be the go to accusation when someone can't articulate their position well. I'd also question the assertion that public schools strive to be politically neutral. That may well depend on which end of the spectrum you are on, but KNEA donations would suggest they are anything but neutral.


    Will, You live in Olathe which has pretty good public schools and your surrounded by Blue Valley, Desoto, Gardner, and Shawnee Mission Districts. Again all pretty good. But lets say you lived in Kansas City Missouri. Would you send your kids to those schools? I doubt it. You'd probably be looking for a private school and you may very well want, and deserve, a voucher to help pay for it. My point is not every public school is good and until those districts improve I see no reason why children should be forced to go there.


    Will, I want to add that you say that conservatives are against public schools when in fact Olathe voters, which are some of the most conservative in Johnson county (with the college and all) in an already conservative county have always voted for school tax levy increases.


    HHKANSAS--I didn't say anything about racism. If that's your inference, that's your issue. Non-anglo populations are a huge problem for conservatives precisely because so many non-anglos aren't conservative.

    As far as the KNEA goes, well, there you go again with another cheap stereotype. Ya gotta do better than that.


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