Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Only Good School Is a Private School

Wow. Just wow.

If I had any doubts that the purpose of the "school reform" movement was anything but dismantling the public schools, it's gone after reading this. I generally have a hard time believing in vast, right-wing conspiracies, but when I hear that the school voucher movement has been funded by one wealthy family named DeVos, which is connected to Amway and Blackwater, I can't help but wonder a bit.

Explicitly advocating a change in terminology from "public schools" to "government schools," the movement has used No Child Left Behind to chip away at public confidence in schools to the point where even Minnesota is about to pass legislation eliminating tenure, preventing teacher strikes, evaluating teachers based on student test results, and paying for vouchers so students can switch to private schools if their public school is "underperforming." (Despite the fact that test scores of Milwaukee kids attending private schools courtesy of vouchers are lower than comparable kids in the public schools.)

How did we get here?

For years I saved a 1990s City Pages (or possibly Twin Cities Reader) article about Julie Quist, our local version of these educrazies. I'll have to go and get a copy from their archives because I can't find it now, but I'll bet that most of what Quist was advocating has come true or is up for a vote even as we speak.

In case you don't know who Julie Quist is, she was involved with an organization called EdWatch (now Education Liberty Watch), and was most recently district director for none other than Michele Bachmann. Her husband, Allen Quist, ran for governor in the 1990s on what seemed then like a laughably right-wing agenda, but which has become the mainstream of Republican politics since.

Reading about the DeVos family made me wonder if Quist is connected to them or vice versa. I'll have to look into this further.


Here's an archive of some of Julie Quist's writing, primarily on education topics.

1 comment:

Michael Leddy said...

I first heard the term “government schools” a couple of years ago, driving a long distance and listening to talk radio out of morbid curiosity. I was driving, of course, on a government highway.