Tag Archives: Education politics

Diane Ravitch on Bobby Jindal and Other Governors

From Bridging Differences:

Gov. Jindal has submitted a legislative proposal that would offer vouchers to more than half the students in the state; vastly expand the number of privately managed charter schools by giving the state board of education the power to create up to 40 new charter authorizing agencies; introduce academic standards and letter grades for pre-schoolers; and end seniority and tenure for teachers.

Under his plan, the local superintendent could immediately fire any teacher—tenured or not—who was rated “ineffective” by the state evaluation program. If the teacher re-applied to teach, she would have to be rated “highly effective” for five years in a row to regain tenure. Tenure, needless to say, becomes a meaningless term, since due process no longer is required for termination.

Education has become a venture field. Bobby Jindal was the up-and-coming darling of the Republican Party back when he gave the response to Obama’s first State of the Union speech. Jindal’s speech sucked and he slunk back into the type of national oblivion that the governor of a state like Louisiana deserves (except for Huey Long, who was an exception).

But now he is rebuilding his name by pushing a massive privatization and union-busting education scheme through his state’s legislature. It is the post-Katrina New Orleans school system writ large.

Jindal is just one of a new breed of governors who are making a name for themselves by trying to privatize education.  Diane Ravitch also mentions Scott Walker, Mitch Daniels, Rick Scott and John Kasich. The only time a national audience ever hears their names is when they are out to privatize education. It is a surefire way to get some press, especially after getting applause from Uncle Arne in Washington.

Education is the new venture politics where governors try to make a national name for themselves.

They had some more localized trailblazers in this regard, like Michael Bloomberg here in NY.

Go back further to the two presidents who preceded Obama, Clinton and Bush, and they both made their national names by being education governors. They were the Rosetta Stones for the flood of education governors we have today.

Only now it is a much different ballgame. Boatloads of public monies are up for grabs like never before. On top of that, we now have all the money flowing in from the Gates Foundation and other assorted members of the billionaires boys’ club.

Education has become the new venture capital, which has caused it to be the new venture politics. National recognition gets that billionaire money flowing into their states, not mention their campaign coffers. It is just another example of our broken political system, where a few people with fabulous wealth can dictate to the rest of us how our own children will be educated.

Obama, Duncan, Jindal, Walker, Cuomo, Christie, every last one of them is on the take. I shudder to think that the history books will celebrate this generation of so-called leaders as heroes for their education reforms.

Then again, if their reforms succeed, nobody will be able to read history books anyway.