Amplifying progressive voices

Tag: Public Education

Blocking discussions about racism maintains white privilege

What don’t they want you to know, and why (ASALH)


Allison Wiltz

Too much emphasis has been put on the “fears” of White parents who do not want students to learn about America’s legacy of racism. In recent years, numerous school districts put their voices on a pedestal, drowning out the voices of Black parents and those from other marginalized groups. They act as if children who learn about figures like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Ida B. Wells or historical events like Tulsa Race Massacre will melt like the wicked witch when Dorthy tossed a bucket of water on her. In all reality, no one has ever died from learning black history, nor has anyone turned into a puddle on the floor. So why are so many White parents treating black history like the villain in American society?

While personal motivations may vary, White people benefit from maintaining the status quo in America, where they are more likely to own a home, run a business, and have access to clean air and water, properly-funded schools, and hospitals. Privilege shields White people from the harsh realities that Black people experience, and by banning books that shed light on these disparities, some are hoping to stitch a quilt of plausible deniability. As long as White people can claim they’re unaware of Black Americans’ second-class citizenship, they can justify blocking any effort to close the Grand Canyon-sized gap as a product of their ignorance rather than cruelty. If students learned about Black history and understood how the chattel slavery system perpetuates racial disparities in American society, it would be much more difficult to (1) openly oppose restorative justice for descendants of enslaved people and (2) demonize diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts.

The Real Reason White Parents Claim Black History is Scary

How the Plunder of Public Goods Transformed America and How We Can Fight Back

Charter schools, to be clear, represent the commodification of education, the privatization, and the marketization of a modern human responsibility in order to enrich a handful of private interests under the banner of high ideals. For decades, neoliberals and privatizers have painstakingly starved public schools of funds so as to set them up to fail. Then they have mass-tested them with discredited corporate tests to “show” that they are “failing.” This is then followed by a sustained media and political campaign to vilify and demonize public schools so as to create antisocial public opinion against them, which then eventually “justifies” privatizing public education because “privatization will improve education.” Suddenly “innovative” charter schools appear everywhere, especially in large urban settings inhabited by thousands of marginalized low-income minorities.

The issue of whether a charter school is public or not is often confusing to many because there is relentless disinformation from charter school promoters that charter schools are public schools when in reality they are privatized independent entities. Charter schools remain private, independent, deregulated, segregated entities even though they receive public money, are often called public, and ostensibly provide a service to the public.

The typical consequences of privatization in every sector include higher costs, less transparency, reduced quality of service, greater instability, more inefficiency, and loss of public voice. Privatization essentially undermines social progress while further enriching a handful of people driven by profit maximization. To date, whether it is vouchers, so-called “Education Savings Accounts,” or privately-operated charter schools, education privatization (“school choice”) has not solved any problems, it has only multiplied them.

Charter schools are labeled “public” mainly for self-serving reasons, specifically to lay claim to public funds that legitimately belong to public schools alone. If charter schools were openly and honestly acknowledged as being private entities they would not be able to place any valid claim to public funds and they would not be able to exist for one day. This presents a contradiction for defenders of charter schools who want to “have it both ways,” that is, be public when it suits them and act private when it serves them.

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