The Intertwining of Public Education with Sustaining our Democratic Republic

I posted the following remarks on the “Get Schooled” blog of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on May 21, 2014:

“Two Points:

1) From my blog:

‘Michelle Rhee’s approach to educating students is not consistent with principles of child development. Her approach, as was the educational approach of former APS Superintendent Beverly Hall, reflects a business model to educating human beings. I am more concerned with Rhee’s use of an intimidating and highly tension-inducing business model in the education of children than I am concerned about what Rhee was aware of, at what point in time, concerning cheating in the DC schools. In my opinion, Michelle Rhee’s educational influence with state legislators, who for the most part are not trained in educational principles, can result in statewide educational policies that will not be productive, and sometimes may even be harmful, to students.

From my 35 years functioning in instructional leadership in Georgia’s schools, grades 1 – 12, I believe that a business model, used in educational arenas, is not only hurtful to students, and to teachers, but that this model is also, ultimately, ineffective because it is not consistent with natural child development, nor is it consistent with mastery learning of individual students, and their individual rates of learning, within a curriculum continuum. An educational model is needed for educating children effectively – and with ongoing success – which will, ironically, in the long-run, also be reflected in improved standardized test scores.’

https://maryelizabethsings.wordpress.com/2013/04/12/about-michelle-rhee/

(2) A repeat, edited somewhat:

A legislator who is also Democratic candidate for the state Superintendent of Schools plays ball with the power brokers in the legislature, such as those 42 Republican members of ALEC in our state legislature. Those power brokers with whom she is playing ball could destroy not-for-profit public education, as we have known it. That will have repercussions about what kind of nation we eventually will have, as Thomas Jefferson well knew when we appealed to Virginia’s legislators to pass a law establishing public schools for all, funded by public taxes. We must secure our democratic republic, as Jefferson led the way in designing, and not allow our nation to become an oligarchy, controlled by the super wealthy and powerful through business/government coalitions, as Alexander Hamilton had desired.”

 

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Republicans have been trying to privatize almost every aspect of our public institutions, which serve us all, including education, for a period of 40 years – with the initial creation of ALEC 40 years ago this year – and this fact has culminated in adversities in funding of traditional public education today. Education was targeted as the “next” public institution to go after to privatize (by ultraconservative Republicans). This is showing up not only in Georgia but in many states across the nation, such as in North Carolina and in Wisconsin (whose governor is connected with Koch Brothers’ influence and agenda). I believe that it will be a positive outcome to stop this attempted change of our public institutions to private ones by Libertarians such as the Koch Brothers. If I do not commit myself to delivering this message, who will, with the knowledge that I have accrued in studying this situation? If I can play even a small part in sustaining the egalitarian republic that Thomas Jefferson envisioned with his heart and mind, then I consider that a most positive way to spend my time.

It is good that the legislator had a positive speech after the election. That is as it should be and I would have expected no less from her or any of the other candidates. However, I must speak truth on these blogs as I see truth, for I know what course our public education must take (it must not be controlled by private profit) and I know what course our nation must take (it must not be controlled by the plutocrats of wealth and industry but must remain a nation dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal and it must remain a nation of, by, and for the people, not become a nation for the wealthy corporations and those who run them, as ALEC advocates).

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