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Obama Celebrates “Common Ground” with GOP on Education

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    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.”


    Obama Celebrates “Common Ground” with GOP on Education

    A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

    The president proudly proclaimed that he has no ‘ideological’ differences with the Bushes over education.”

    If there is any arena outside of waging aggressive war where the Obama administration shows itself to be in near-perfect continuity with its Republican predecessor, it is in education. President Obama last week staged a mutual admiration fest with George Bush’s brother, Jeb, at Miami’s Central High School, where Obama celebrated the “common ground” he shares with Republicans on educational policy. The president proudly proclaimed that he has no “ideological” differences with the Bushes over education. That is an understatement. In fact, Obama has taken George Bush’s No Child Left Behind program as a starting point to launch his own so-called “Race to the Top,” an all-out assault on teachers unions and the very nature of public schooling in the United States that advances the corporatization of American classrooms in ways that Republicans never could.

    Obama is counting on Republican support for reauthorization of No Child Left Behind, as well he should, since George Bush’s program opened the door to Obama’s efforts to break teachers unions and create a national system of charter schools. The differences between George Bush’s educational policies and Barack Obama’s are in emphasis, not intent. In a practical sense, Obama’s policies represent an even bigger danger to public education.

    Because he is a Democrat, the leadership of the two national teachers unions pretend Obama is a friend.”

    In the slick, sly way of the corporate Democrat, Obama avoids the worst rhetorical excesses of his Republican partners in the anti-public education project. You won’t hear Obama’s Education Secretary, Arne Duncan, calling the nation’s largest teachers union a “terrorist organization,” as Bush education chief Rod Paige did back in February of 2004. Instead, Arne Duncan travels around with arch-reactionary Newt Gingrich and Obama’s Black pit-bull Al Sharpton on a Three Stooges tour promoting their common agenda for non-union charter schools run by private companies. Obama fires teachers en mass, in numbers beyond George Bush’s wildest dreams, while making hypocritical noises of support for the profession. And because he is a Democrat, the leadership of the two national teachers unions pretend Obama is a friend, or at least the lesser of two evils, when in reality he is the greater threat.

    Under George Bush, the Republicans were ideologically wedded to providing public money for private school vouchers. Charter schools were their second choice for weakening public education. But corporate Democrats like Obama saw that charterization was a much more politically acceptable way to privatize many more schools in a much shorter period of time, while maintaining the veneer of public education. Most importantly, charter schools are the best vehicles for handing control of education over to private corporations while the public continues to pay all the costs. Hedge funds and all kinds of speculators and hustlers have discovered that charter schools are a no-risk, potentially high-profit proposition – that is, no risk to themselves. The charter school racket is the perfect Trojan Horse for corporate domination of the classroom, at public expense, opening up a new, wholly subsidized educational “market” valued at hundreds of billions of dollars a year, in which the public pays and the private parties profit. And that's why Obama is a greater danger to public education than the Bush brothers ever were.

    For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Glen Ford. On the web, go to

    BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at

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    TRUE. Naomi Klein on DemNow today points out that WI gov.

    is a "good enemy" (easy to dislike and organize against) but Obama has some of the same policies, and she gave the example of education/charter schools as union/public education killers but said (I can't recall the exact words) it's harder for people to see Obama as the enemy and harder to organize against. this mornnig. 

    One more reason why BAR is so important. Too many Dems etc don't want to say "the Emperor has no clothes".And that fig leaf that "charter schools are public schools" is so twisted, just because it's robbing the public funding, taking public school buildings/funds doesn't make it "public".  Propaganda.

    BAR is also important because

    The Black Obamabot Kool Aide drinkers are fond of accusing EVEN RIGHT THINKING WHITE FOLKS of being racist.  When I tried to explain that to my peers and counterparts that during the ascendency of the Tea Party scum bags that there wasa correlary, equal dissatisfaction, but markedly different critique of Obama and the DimoRats voiced by White Leftists/Progressives they tried to dismiss the notion under the:  "All White People are Racists" category. 

    A dangerous, illogical and chickenshit posture to be sure, but one with widespread roots.  Imagine the irony, Right Thinking White Folks defending deprivations primarily target at the poor and Black and Black folks in turn accusing them of being racists because they were too ill-informed to understand the Left Critique of Obama or too intellectually lazy and beholden to the DimoRats to investigate it.

    Any poor, working or Middle Class Black person who thinks Charter Schools will be "our" (Black folk's) saviour is dumb as a door knob if they trust their kid's future to redneck politicians, Black sellouts, and Wall St. scamers.  The only thing charter schools will accomplish is an even greater two-tiered society of "haves and have-nots," and the gutting of funding for public education.

    Why are people so damn stupid, one would think they see enough (real-time) of the sinister workings of "privitization."  "Privivitization" generally means keep your poor, struggling Black ass to the back of the bus whether education or services.  Only time Blacks get "front-street" play with privitization is the prison industry.