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    Rocketship to Profits: The Super-Rich Shape Education in Their Own Image

    by David Bacon

    The mega-profiteers of Silicon Valley market a privatized brand of education that “is predicated on paying minimal attention to anything but math and literacy, and even those subjects are taught by inexperienced teachers carrying out data-driven lesson plans relentlessly focused on test preparation.” Education must become a business, they say: "If you want to cure – really cure – a problem in society, you need to come up with a sustainable solution, and that means making money."

    Is Democrats For Public Education Just a Toothless, Cynical Sound Byte?

    A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

    Last month the DNC's Donna Brazile announced the formation of Democrats For Public Education. But with their own Democratic president being the chief pusher of school privatization, nobody really imagines Brazile and other top Dems will publicly oppose the White House and the Department of Education. So is DFPE just a cynical sound byte to liven up teacher union rank and file to go door to door for Democrats in the next presidential election?

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    Serial School Privatizer "Chainsaw Paul" Vallas Gets Ready For His Next Job

    by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

    Neoliberalism holds that all human interactions should to be disciplined and mediated by the market. Paul Vallas is the nation's neoliberal chainsaw man on public education. After savaging public education in Chicago, Philly, New Orleans and Bridgeport, he has been summoned home to Illinois by the Democrat governor as his running mate.

    A Perfect Storm: The Takeover of New Orleans Public Schools Part One 17 Days in November

    A Perfect Storm: The Takeover of New Orleans Public Schools Part One 17 Days in November

    by the N. O. Equity Roundtable

    A Perfect Storm: The Takeover of New Orleans Public Schools Part One 17 Days in November from N.O. Education Equity Roundtable on Vimeo.

    A Perfect Storm: The Takeover of New Orleans Public Schools Part One 17 Days in November from N.O. Education Equity Roundtable on Vimeo.

    A Perfect Storm: The Takeover of New Orleans Public Schools is the first in series of short videos, that reveals the real story behind the creation of the nation's first all charter school district. These videos are made possible with the support of the The Schott Foundation and The New Orleans Education Equity Roundtable. They are produced in partnership with Bayou and Me Productions.

    One Year After Chicago Closes 50 Public Schools, Chicago Teachers Union Assesses the Lies and Lasting Damage

    A Black Agenda Radio Commentary by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

    A couple years ago, we at Black Agenda Report wondered why the closings of 40 public schools over three years in Philly and 50 schools in Chicago were not national news. The answer of course, was that corporate media and politicians from Romney and Obama down to black mayors and state legislators agree that public education ought to be handed to business groups and charter schools even though privatization is enormously unpopular.

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    Freedom Rider:Charter School Corruption

    by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

    Charter schools are the inventions of rightwing corporations and foundations, and serve as profit centers for the filthy rich. Given that these are the people who run American society, it is no surprise that New York Mayor Bill de Blasio “got his head handed to him” when he clashed with charter school interests. “The mayor’s little nod to protecting public education was no match for big money.”

    End Game For Corporate School Reform: Privatized Holding Tanks, Remote Ed, Military Charter Schools

    A Black Agenda Radio Commentary by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

    Chicago, the city the president and his secretary of education hail from, has been the laboratory of corporate education reform and privatization. Among its “innovations” are the mass closings of public schools, and handing over entire schools to the army, the navy and the marines.

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    Basketball Mayor Hypes School Privatization, Shoots An Air Ball

    by Seth Sandronsky

    Charter school operators and their political servants make bogus claims of educational gains – claims that are often passed along as fact by supposedly reputable media. Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson is a propagandist for privatization, and an ally of corporations that have a huge stake in undermining public schools. “It is vital to follow the money on issues such as public education.”

    Freedom Rider: Et tu Bill Thompson?

     

    by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

    Bill Thompson, the Black candidate for mayor of New York City who endorses stop-and-frisk and has reactionary Republicans collecting money for his campaign, is betting that Black people are chumps. “The powerful lobbyists and their clients are making sure that Bloombergism will continue without Bloomberg” – with a Black face. Haven’t we seen that movie before?

    Chicago Teachers Build a Movement

    A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

    Chicago teachers see themselves as engaged in a movement to defend the public sphere from corporate acquisition. “Wall Street hedge funders and other speculators are betting heavily on school privatization as the next great investment frontier.”

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    The Lords of Capital Seize Detroit

    A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

    Corporate conspirators have Detroit in their clutches. “Lawyers for Jones Day will be handling the sale of Detroit’s property and the cancelling of its contracts as ordered by another Jones Day lawyer, Kevyn Orr” – which means that “the same law firm is effectively serving as attorney, client, and local government in Detroit.” Democracy abolished, corporate rule installed.

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    On Education, Barack Obama is the President of Privatization. Can We Stop Him? Will We?

    by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

    By the time his term is over, President Obama and his Race To The Top program will have forced the closure and privatization of thousands of inner-city schools, a feat no white Republican or Democrat could have accomplished. But he'll only be president 4 more years. If we can stop this now, his successors won't be able to do this again. Can we? Will we?

    Black Agenda TV – Season 1, Episode 2

    by Black Agenda Report & BW Moving Images

    In this edition of Black Agenda TV

    Black America and the Genocide in Congo; African Americans have not used their political clout to stop the killing.

    Obama’s Race to the Top Hurts Black Students, Teachers, Communities; Drives school closings and helps charter profiteers.

    Black Misleadership Class to Launch “February 30th Movement” to hold President Obama (and themselves) accountable.

    BA Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of Feb 4, 2013

    Obama's "Race to the Top" is racist;

    Ras Baraka for Mayor of Newark;

    Anniversary of Trayvon Martin's death;

    Students Against Mass Incarceration announce Conference on Criminal Justice at Howard U;

    Is the EEOC dismissing racial discrimination cases en masse?;

    The carving up of Africa has begun.

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    Melissa Harris-Perry Buries The Lead Story on National Wave of Public School Closings

    By BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

    When print or broadcast news outlets grab a compelling story, only to distract attention away from what the public needs to know, that's called “burying the lead.” That's what Melissa Harris-Perry did in her Jan. 26 segment on whether the nationwide wave of public school closings were “racist” or not.

    The African American Achilles Heel

     

    A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

    Black unity has served African Americans well – until now, when the enemy has a Black face. Suddenly, our tried-and-true instincts betray us and our political cognition collapses. Obama’s many crimes fail to register in Black brains. African Americans “filter out any and all information that might shatter the illusion that Obama is all that stands between Black folks and the Devil, himself.”

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    Ten Years of No Child Left Behind: Disaster Capitalism in the Schools

     

    A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

    No Child Left Behind has only been a failure if you believed the hype about its purposes. In fact, NCBL has been a roaring success in using “federal spending as a hammer to impose corporate governance over privatized public schools.” Wall Street has converted publicly-financed education into a no-risk market, teachers unions have been “demonized, demoralized and rendered largely politically inert,” and Black community control of schools is more remote than ever.

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    Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of July 2, 2012

    Give the People Medicare-for-All

    The U.S. Supreme Court’s vetting of President Obama’s health legislation means Americans will be forced to “spend up to 9 percent of their income and still not get actual healthcare,” said Dr. Margaret Flowers, who joined other physicians in a brief on behalf of Medicare-for-All. The Obama bill amounts to “corporate welfare on steroids,” said Dr. Flowers. Jean Ross, a co-president of National Nurses United, said “No one should have to wait till they’re 65 to have the best healthcare system. We need Medicare-for-All, from the time you’re born.”

    Mandatory Life in Prison for Juveniles is Unconstitutional

    In every area of the law we protect child status, except in the criminal justice system, where we increasingly sentence them just as if they are adults – even if they’re as young as 13 or 14,” said Bryan Stevenson, of the Equal Justice Initiative. Under the high court’s ruling, juveniles can still be sentenced to life, but the penalty cannot be mandatory. Minorities make up about 70 percent of kids serving life terms.

    Arizona Immigration Decision is a Victory, But…

    It is wrong to assume that Justice Roberts has a rebirth as some type of moderate,” said Shanta Driver, national chairperson of BAMN, By Any Means Necessary. Racial profiling remains embedded in U.S. immigration practice, “including the federal Secure Communities Act,” backed by the Obama administration.

    It’s “All Purely Race” in Jasper, Texas

    The Texas town where three white men chained and dragged James Byrd Jr. to his death behind their pickup truck, in 1998, recently recalled two of its Black city councilmen and fired its first African American police chief. The town’s racists “believe that they can do and say anything without anybody taking issue with them,” said Atty. David Bersen, who filed an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint on behalf of ex-police chief Rodney Pearson. “It’s all purely race.”

    Lynne Stewart Sentence Stands

    Human rights lawyer Lynne Stewart lost her appeal of a 10-year prison sentence for her conduct in defending a client on terror charges. Stewart, 72, is held at a medical prison near Fort Worth, Texas, where she recently underwent surgery. “They’re referring to Lynne as having disrespect for the law,” said her husband, Ralph Poynter. “My reaction is, anybody that has studied the history of American law knows it’s based in genocide, slavery and the double standard. The only things we can look up to in America that are positive are those people that followed justice rather than law.”

    New Orleans Katrina School Firings Illegal

    A federal judge ruled that local and state officials acted illegally when they fired 7,500 New Orleans public school employees to make way for charter schools, in the wake of the 2005 Katrina disaster. Seven of the former employees won cash awards ranging from $48,000 to $48,000, and the total owed to the entire class of plaintiffs could run in the tens of millions. “From the beginning it was a wrongful takeover” based on “manufactured evidence of failure,” said Willie Zanders, lawyer for the plaintiffs. “Many people saw this as an opportunity to privatize public education.” Eighty percent of New Orleans schools are now charters.

    POP Demonstration Marathon Passes One-Year Mark in Newark

    We’ve certainly drawn attention to the issue of unemployment in our community,” said Larry Hamm, chairman of the People’s Organization for Progress (POP), based in Newark, New Jersey. POP set out last June 27 to hold daily demonstrations, 7 days a week, to match or exceed the 381-day longevity of the 1955 Montgomery, Alabama Bus Boycott. The grassroots activists are building for a huge rally for jobs, peace, equality and justice on July 11 – with help from a coalition of 179 endorsing organizations.

    U.S. Enables Genocide in Congo

    The United States has been an enabler” of Rwanda’s destabilization of the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo, contributing to the deaths of 6 million Congolese since 1996, said Claude Gatebuke, of the African Great Lakes Network. “The U.S. is one of the largest donors to the Rwandan government in terms of funds, but also military training” to the tune of over $1 billion in the past decade, said Gatebuke. “When you give a world criminal more resources, they commit more crimes.”

    Buju Banton Loses Appeal

    A federal appeals court confirmed Jamaican musical artist Buju Banton’s 10-year sentence on charges of conspiracy to distribute cocaine. The government case against Banton, who turns 39 on July 15, relied heavily on a paid informer. “Buju’s case represents a lot of cases in America in terms of the use of confidential informants who make millions of dollars of untaxed income,” said Chris Sweeney, editor of the New Times, in Miami. Dr. Carolyn Cooper, a member of Banton’s support committee and a lecturer at the University of the West Indies, in Jamaica, said “There are many of us who feel that Buju’s arrest and incarceration is really an attack on the Jamaican music industry, because of the kinds of messages that some of the artists have sending out about sexual politics. So many of us in Jamaica believe that it is a set-up.”

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    Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of June 25, 2012

     

    Abolish – Don’t Tweet – Stop-and-Frisk

    As popular anger rises against New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s draconian policing policies, “we must avoid being sidetracked by politicians, preachers or anybody else who might want to lead it into sit-downs and negotiations with the mayor and the police commissioner,” said Carl Dix, a founder of Stop Stop-and-Frisk. “The challenge” is to reject “some surface reform, some tweets, to a racist, illegal policy,” he said. Stop-and-frisk, “a pipeline to mass incarceration,” has to go.

    Contemptible: Holder, Obama and the Congress

    We can openly admit that this attorney general and this president are Black and the congressmen going after them are a bunch of racists,” and still “condemn abuses of power” by President Obama and Eric Holder,” said David Swanson, publisher of the influential website WarIsACrime.org. The House committee that charged Holder with contempt in a gun trafficking scheme acted “hypocritically,” said Swanson. However, “you have a president who has been claiming state secrets powers in courts…to protect himself and his predecessors and their corporate allies, far and away beyond anything Bush or Cheney ever tried.”

    A “Human Rights” Approach to Public Schooling

    Parents and communities and students must participate in all decisions that affect the right to education,” said Ellen Raider, of ICOPE, the Independent Commission on Public Education, in New York City. High drop-out rates violate the “human right to the full development of each child, to its fullest potential. It’s the new Jim Crow, as Michelle Alexander says.” Charter schools have been “used as a wedge to separate parents in Black and Latino communities,” said Raider. Meanwhile, the Coalition for Public Education has established the Paul Robeson Freedom School, in Brooklyn, to provide “education for liberation,” said spokesman Rodney Deas.

    A U.S. Chapter for ILPS

    Twenty-eight United States organizations have become the newest country-chapter of the International League of People’s Struggle. “We cannot succeed, either as an anti-war movement or as a movement against injustice in this country, without being united with our sisters and brothers around the world,” said U.S. chapter spokesperson Bill Dores.

    Congo President Shares Blame for Genocide

    Evidence mounts of Rwandan complicity in violence that has killed six million people in the Democratic Republic of Congo since 1996. However, DRC President Joseph Kabila is also part of the problem, said Jacques Bahati, policy analyst for the Africa Faith and Justice Network, based in Washington. If Congo had an “efficient and effective government, they could set up an army to secure its borders,” said Bahati. Rwanda gets away with destabilizing Congo because “it has a very good army” and is a close ally of the United States.

    Western Heads of State, Including Obama, Guilty of High Crimes

    The Pan-African Solidarity Hague Committee, comprised of activists from throughout the Diaspora, delivered a petition to the International Criminal Court charging the heads of state of the U.S. and other NATO countries with war crimes and crimes against humanity in Libya, Ivory Coast, Haiti, and in the “targeting and persecution of Black people in the United States,” said human rights lawyer Roger Wareham. “We have no illusions that the ICC is going to take our evidence, which is rock-solid,” said Wareham. “Of the 26 case that are before the Criminal Court, all involve Africans.” The ICC “has become a tool for the West to recolonize Africa.”

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    The Black Panther vs The Corporate Candidate

     

    A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

    The corporate media are screaming like banshees in fear that former Black Panther Charles Barron might win a seat in Congress. Their preferred Black politico is Hakeem Jeffries, a charter school supporter flush with corporate funds. “The media demonization machine has kicked into high gear on Charles Barron, with the New York Times calling him a ‘showboat’ and ‘provocateur.’” But of course, that’s what happens when rich white men claim the privilege of choosing Black leadership.

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    Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of June 11

     

    Black Politics Neutered by Corporate Democrats

    The business-friendly African American politicians that came to prominence under President Clinton “prioritized electoral politics over mass movements and grassroots politics,” said Dr. Anthony Monteiro, professor of African American studies at Temple University, in Philadelphia. In more recent years, “a good part of the soft Black Left, the weak Black Left – they call themselves the ‘pragmatic’ Black Left – capitulated to the Obama movement,” allowing corporate politicians to achieve unchallenged leadership among Blacks.

    Inventing Security Threats

    In the wake of 9/11, we have made policing into a business,” said Black Agenda Report managing editor Bruce Dixon, speaking on Press TV. The Department of Homeland Security is mostly private contractors who are chiefly concerned with drumming up business. “It’s a growth industry,” said Dixon. “So, look out – you might be the next threat.” The U.S. government has been inventing threats to internal security “for at least 100 years,” said journalist Don DeBar, of CPRmetro.org.

    Servants of Empire in “Human Rights” Garb

    Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch are, essentially, weapons in the imperial arsenal,” said BAR executive editor Glen Ford. “Who better than self-styled human rights activists to justify ‘humanitarian’ war?”

    Prof. Cornel West on Black Mass Incarceration

    If our precious white brothers and sisters were going to jail at the intensity” that African Americans are incarcerated, “it would be a national emergency,” said Dr. Cornel West, speaking at a benefit for the Brecht Forum, at New York City’s Hunter College. “If Black middle class brothers and sisters were going to jail at the same level of intensity” as lower class Blacks, “we’d have a different kind of Black leadership.”

    Liberal” Contradiction: Support for Charter Schools

    Liberals” are seduced by “this virtuous narrative, that these ‘reforms’ are going to make things better for poor kids,” said journalist Liza Featherstone. She singled out Black New York State Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries, a “progressive” congressional candidate who is “at the forefront of efforts to open up the public school system to private interests” – a position that is “fundamentally at odds” with the progressive agenda. The fact that there’s lots of campaign money behind charter schools expansion “doesn’t hurt,” said Featherstone.

    A “Human Rights” Approach to Public Education

    The “business model” of education holds that “the student is a product, the teacher is a production line worker, and the parent is a consumer who has ‘choices,’” said Dr. Sam Anderson, of New York's Independent Commission on Public Education, ICOPE. The business model is an attempt by hedge funders and other business interests to “exploit the trillion dollar trough of public education.” ICOPE advocates a “human rights approach to education that “promotes the intellectual development of children to their maximum capability,” with “direct parental involvement in decision making at the public school level.”

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    Public Charter Schools Thrive on Corruption and Economic Turmoil

     

    by Seth Sandronsky

    Republicans are often champions of private school vouchers, but Democratic politicians – including President Obama – have been central to the phenomenal expansion of public charter schools. Not coincidentally, multibillionaires have become huge patrons of charters, at the same time that massive cuts in school spending have made public schools less attractive. “Tumult plus big dollars from the wealthiest families in the country nurtures the growth of public charter schools.”

    Charters Have Nothing to do With Community Control of Schools

     

    A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

    Charter school advocates are among the biggest scam artists in politics. They use the language of community control to transfer public assets into private hands. “Promoters of 'trigger laws' have only one use for parents: to pull the trigger on a school so that it can be converted to, or make room for, a charter school operated by the private sector.” Have mayors Michael Bloomberg and Rahm Emanuel, both bullies for charter schools, ever supported community control?

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    School Closings Come To Atlanta This Week, To Your City Next Week: It's Time To Dump Arne Duncan

    by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

    A national movement to save public education is coming to life, in the face of a decades-long bipartisan campaign to discredit, de-fund, destabilized and destroy public education. President Bush's Education Secretary said teachers unions were terrorist organizations. Obama's man Arne Duncan believes Katrina was the best thing that ever happened to education in New Orleans. Is it time yet to dump, and to dump on Arne Duncan?

    Diane Ravitch: Charters, Privatization, and How Obama's Race To The Top is Really a Race To The Bottom

    A Media Matters Interview by Dr. Robert McChesney

    Diane Ravitch, a former Clinton and Bush advisor, ex-charter school, voucher and No Child Left Behind supporter explains the evidence that changed her mind, and how the bipartisan education agenda of charters, privatization, standardized testing and turning teachers into temps ill serves children, parents and communities.

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    Does Signing a Petition Give Parents a Voice in Schools?

     

    by David Bacon

    The so-called “parent trigger” appears designed to achieve one result: increase the spread of charter schools under the guise of parental empowerment. Charter boosters may use the language of people power, but their funding comes straight from the oligarchs. “At its birth, Parent Revolution had a $1 million budget supplied by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Wasserman Foundation, the Eli Broad Foundation, the Hewlett-Packard Foundation and the Walton Family Foundation.”

    LAUSD’s Apartheid Hall of Shame, Part 2: A View from the Classroom

    by Sikivu Hutchinson

    The Black student “push-out” phenomenon is directly related to Black mass incarceration. Studies show that “African Americans go to the dean’s office for less serious offenses than do Latinos and whites.” Disruptive behavior is in the subjective perception of the beholding teachers, some of whom “go off about ‘these black kids’ and what are you going to do with these black kids ‘cause I can’t teach in my classroom with these black kids going out of control.” Predominantly Black schools and faculty are often no better. “South L.A. schools with significant or majority black faculty and administrators are just as culpable.”

    Los Angeles Schools’ Apartheid Hall of Shame (Part One)

    by Sikivu Hutchinson

    It sounds like racial profiling in education, on a massive, institutional scale. “Black students are targeted, penalized and pushed-out in dizzyingly obscene numbers that predict and mirror their disproportionate numbers in L.A. County juvenile detention centers and adult prisons.” Those are the conclusions of a recent report on schools in the Los Angele Unified District, where Black kids are grossly overrepresented among students ejected from classrooms. What’s more, such collective punishment occurs “regardless of the racial background of the faculty and administration or racial demographics and socioeconomic background of a given school.”

    Corporate Funding of Urban League, NAACP & Civil Rights Orgs Has Turned Into Corporate Leadership

    by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

    “Not only is Bill Gates a cousin,” gushed academic Henry Louis Gates at the Urban League convention in Boston last week, “Bill Gates a brother.” Bill Gates, of course, is the founder of Microsoft, and one of the wealthiest men on earth. Invited to deliver the keynote address at the National Urban League’s annual meeting in Boston last week, the billionaire lectured the assembled on education and poverty, although Gates is not qualified to teach an hour in any classroom in the land, and has certainly never been poor.

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    Obama Celebrates “Common Ground” with GOP on Education

     

    A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

    President Obama’s “admiration fest” with Republicans is in high gear, especially in the education arena. The administration’s mass charterization policies “represent an even bigger danger to public education” than George Bush’s private school vouchers. “The charter school racket is the perfect Trojan Horse for corporate domination of the classroom, at public expense.”

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