Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The School ReSegregation Movement

Here's a trailer from the latest Robert Greenwald and the Brave New Foundation film on the role of the Koch brothers, their organization Americans for Prosperity, and school segregation courtesy of Crooks and Liars.  Notice the code words, things like "neighborhood schools."  Ahh, who could be against neighborhood schools?  That sounds so sweet and everything.  As someone who studies media, crime and racism, I've learned that you always have to look behind these words, to the policy, its inducements and the pressures it produces, to see what they mean in reality.  Throughout the 80s and 90s we heard (and still do) similar code words on crime.  Words like "thug," "urban," "gangster," and "crackhead" served as replacement words for black, hispanic and asian youth because using those words is not pc.  Instead, code words are used to generate support for policies that in practice will further institutionalize racism and other forms of discrimination.  Racism through the back door.

School privatization will likely have similar consequences since it directly links income to quality of education.  Just look at the independent schools compared to the public schools in New Orleans.  In fact, for a host of other reasons, our schools in this country are just as segregated as they were in the 1950s. This is partly because of things like white flight and the way property values produce local tax bases and money for public education, thus producing a cycle for the haves and the have-nots.

Since we're on the education topic, GBitch has complied a kick ass list of references and sources on school privatization and other education related things in New Orleans.  Check it out.

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