Black Agenda Radio Commentaries
News, analysis and commentary on the human condition from a black left perspective.
Where Obama's "Race To The Top" Leads: Chicago, Miami, Philly Privatize Teacher Hiring

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

Piecemeal and wholesale privatization of public schools has been the bipartisan agenda of Republicans and Democrats. Now top school districts are outsourcing teacher hiring to be sure they get the Wal-Mart style disposable temps to man the positions once held by experienced teachers connected with their students and communities.

Where Obama's Race To The Top Leads: Chicago, Philly, Miami Public Schools Privatize Teacher Hiring

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

Are you credentialed? Degreed? Qualified? Are you applying for a public school teaching job in Chicago, Miami, Philadelphia or a number of other cities? If you are you probably know already that for many public school systems nowadays the teacher personnel office is NOT in the city where your schools are. In keeping with President Obama's Race To The Top program which makes piecemeal and wholesale run-the-school-like-a-business, unaccountable charter schools and other privatization schemes requirements for federal education dollars, Chicago and Philly, and perhaps MiamiDade are among the first to outsource and privatize teacher hiring.

They've handed the function, and a big chunk of public money with it, to a shadowy firm called TeacherMatch.Org, headed by a former Chicago Public Schools (and Chicago Police Department) chief and private equity speculator Ron Huberman.

Like charter schools that take public money but offer no public accountability, TeacherMatch's web site contains no information about who its financial backers are, no mention of who its clients are, except for Miami. But the site is full of the usual corporate reform jargon about “innovation” and such.

Privatization is just about always grand theft. It's perfectly legal under US law to bribe a politician or a gaggle of them to hand you a public asset you can profitably squeeze.

Whether it's maintaining vehicle fleets, delivering water, payroll, the post office or teacher hiring, privatization offers rock-solid profit gurantees for the privatizer with less accountability than when the asset was in public hands. Fleet maintenance companies, for example have successfully kept the public from knowing how often, with whose parts and at what expense they fix vehicles because the information might be used by competitors.

You can be certain that TeacherMatch will never willingly share its teacher hiring criteria that it will not share with the public. But you can also be certain that in keeping with the drive to corporate school reform under begun with No Child Left Behind, intensified by Obama's Race to the Top, and nailed into permanent place with NCLB's successor bill now in the senate, TeacherMatch is being used to replace experienced, competent, well-paid teachers with Wal-Mart style temps, and Teach For America scabs with 5 weeks of training. Back in the 1980s the media year for teacher experience was 8. Now that median year is less than two.

The public, especially the black community has never supported the privatization of public education. But since the day Barack Obama appointed Arne Duncan secretary of education, and they jointly announced the administration's initial goal of closing 5,000 public schools, ten or twenty percent of the nation's total, the Obama administration and Democrats down to the black and Latino mayors of big and small cities, have been all about privatization.

They just dare not call it by its real name. But make no mistake, the savage decimation of public schools, handed over to charter chains and other private operators like TeacherMatch, and the firing of tens of thousands of qualified black educators will be one of the lasting legacies of Barack Obama's presidency.

We'll be living with it for some time to come.

For Black Agenda Radio I'm Bruce Dixon. Find us on the web at www.blackagendareport.com, and be sure to subscribe to our free weekly email newsletter at www.blackagendareport.com/subscribe. That's www.blackagendareport.com/subscribe.

Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black AGenda Report, and a member of the state committee of the GA Green Party, which unequivocally opposes school privatization.  Reach him at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com.

 

Direct download: 20150715_bd_privatizing-teacher-hiring.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:21pm EDT