Wed, 14 September 2016
Georgia’s Governor Wants To Turn His Public Schools Into Post Katrina New Orleans
A Black Agenda Radio Commentary by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon
There’s a constitutional amendment on the ballot in Georgia this November. The word voters will see on their machines election day read thusly:
“Amendment #1: Provides greater flexibility and state accountability to fix failing schools through increasing community involvement.
"Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended to allow the state to intervene in chronically failing public schools in order to improve student performance?"
It’s Georgia Governor Nathan Deal's cynically misnamed "Opportunity School District" or OSD, the latest atrocity in the bipartisan right wing drive to privatize public education in the United States.
The so-called “Opportunity School District,” as its corporate funded multimillion dollar advertising campaign calls it, empowers the governor, through an agency he appoints, to decide what schools are “failing”, usually by low scores on standardized tests. It authorizes the closing of a hundred Georgia public schools, almost entirely in black Georgia.
The governor then gets to fire up a virtual school district stretching across the entire state, a district in which he alone appoints all the officials on whatever basis at what ever salary suits him. OSD lets the governor create up to a hundred new charter schools in his virtual district to eat the funds which used to go to those public schools. The new OSD charter schools will make fortunes for their investors and contractors, who have already and will continue to donate generously to the governor and his friends. OSD’s charter schools will only be responsible to their own boards and investors, and of course the governor.
There is no “flexibility” or “community involvement” whatsoever. It’s simple school privatization. OSD will strip locally elected school boards, along with parents, teachers and communities of any and all rights to control their schools and the educational destiny of their children.
The only opportunity in Governor Deal’s opportunity school district is a business opportunity for his friends, not an educational opportunity for our children.
The leading candidate to head this contraption is said to be Illinois Democrat Paul Vallas, who shredded the public schools of Chicago and Philly before being named the first head of the post-Katrina New Orleans Recovery School District, an all charter operation created when one-percenters closed all 127 New Orleans public schools. So it’s not metaphor when we say Governor Deal wants to turn Georgia’s schools into those of post-Katrina New Orleans.
Some Democrats DO oppose, though they only criticize Republican privatizers, not Democrats. Some Republicans oppose it too, because OSD will strip locally elected school boards of any semblance of control over the educational futures of children. But the most powerful politicians of both parties do want school privatization. They just don’t like to use p-word, it has “high negatives.” So their privatization amendment is on the ballot, nicely wrapped up to look like something else entirely.
Unlike Democrats and Republicans, many of whom are deep in the pockets of charter school sugar daddies, the Green Party is the only political party which unequivocally opposes school privatization in general and the OSD in particular. If the amendment passes, it will be the biggest set of school closures since Katrina, and Chicago a few years back when Rahm Emanuel shut down 50 schools at once. The eyes of the nation, for a little while will be on Georgia.
For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Bruce Dixon. Find us on the web at www.blackagendareport.com, where you can subscribe to our free weekly email newsletter.
Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report and the co-chair of the GA Green Party. He lives and works near Marietta GA and can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tue, 13 September 2016
“Duterte does not accept being lectured to by the United States, a country with so much Filipino blood on its hands.”
Don’t be surprised if Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte winds up being overthrown or murdered by his own military or national police, acting on behalf of the United States. All most Americans know about President Duterte is that he called President Obama a “son of a whore” – a term Duterte throws around a lot. Duterte later clarified his remarks, saying the object of his anger wasn’t Obama, personally, but “America,” in general. And, that’s quite understandable, because the United States killed as many as one million Filipinos when it colonized the country back in 1898, and still treats the island nation of about 100 million people like a colony. The U.S. holds great influence with the Filipino military, which operates in close collaboration with U.S. Special Forces troops stationed in the country.
Duterte started cursing when he was told that Obama was planning to lecture him at the G-20 Summit meeting in Laos, last week. Duterte does not accept being lectured to by the United States, a country with so much Filipino blood on its hands. Obama, who has ordered the death of tens of thousands in the bombing of six countries, was preparing to criticize Duterte’s policy of killing accused drug dealers on-the-spot, which has so far resulted in about 3,000 deaths. When the Philippines president found out that he was in for a scolding, he exploded:
“You must be kidding,” he said. “Who is he to confront me? America has one too many to answer for the misdeeds in this country … As a matter of fact, we inherited this problem” – meaning, the drug problem – “from the United States. Why? Because they invaded this country and made us their subjugated people … Can I explain the extrajudicial killing? Can they explain the 600,000 Moro massacred in this island?” Duterte was speaking of Mindanao, where he was born.
Americans = No Peace
The U.S. troop presence inflames tensions with the local Muslim population. “The special forces, they have to go,” he said. “They have to go in Mindanao, there are many whites there.”
But, the Black Americans have to go, too. “For as long as we stay with America,” said the Philippine president, “we will never have peace in that land.”
Duterte thinks Obama has some nerve waving his finger about “human rights.”
"Why are you Americans killing the black people there, shooting them down when they are already on the ground?" he asked.
Duterte is popular with his people largely because he is not a puppet of the United States. He calls himself a socialist, and has honored an extended cease fire in the nearly 50-year war with communist guerillas. Duterte says he may begin buying weapons from Russia and China, who offer “soft loans” and better terms. He said he will stop allowing joint patrols of Philippine and U.S. naval forces in the South China sea, and will “follow an independent foreign policy.” And, Duterte says his country doesn’t need American F-16 jets and other expensive weapons.
This is more than enough to get him killed, most likely by the Philippines military, But the hit will be commissioned by the United States, which is not about to allow a president of one of its former colonies to stand in the way of America’s “pivot” to Asia and looming confrontation with the China.
For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to BlackAgendaReport.com.
BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.