"...it's not the training to be mean but the training to be kind that is used to keep us leashed best." ~ Black Dog Red

"In case you haven't recognized the trend: it proceeds action, dissent, speech." ~ davidly, on how wars get done

"...What sort of meager, unerotic existence must a man live to find himself moved to such ecstatic heights by the mundane sniping of a congressional budget fight. The fate of human existence does not hang in the balance. The gods are not arrayed on either side. Poseiden, earth-shaker, has regrettably set his sights on the poor fishermen of northern Japan and not on Washington, D.C. where his ire might do some good--I can think of no better spot for a little wetland reclamation project, if you know what I mean. The fight is neither revolution nor apocalypse; it is hardly even a fight. A lot of apparatchiks are moving a lot of phony numbers with more zeros than a century of soccer scores around, weaving a brittle chrysalis around a gross worm that, some time hence, will emerge, untransformed, still a worm." ~ IOZ

Mar 16, 2011


"Converting 41 [public] schools to charters would save Detroit Public Schools $75 million to $99 million in operational costs, according to estimates released by district officials this week.

In addition, DPS spokesman Steve Wasko said the district would generate an estimated $21.8 million in lease income from the chartered schools and save about $22 million by not having to close and secure the buildings.

'As opposed to a school closure, there are no costs associated that would accompany closures. These typically include hiring a move manager, emptying out the building, securing and boarding, monitoring and patrolling and the ongoing utilities and campus upkeep,' Wasko said in a statement."


Read the above, if you can spare a few minutes, in light of Justin's series on econo-thought.

The people who manage Detroit's educational system have presented their radical restructuring of education - which is the further transfer of some forty schools, as well as commonheld property, into for-profit company possession - on the premise of saving taxpayers money.

Two initial responses come immediately to mind. First, "taxpayers" here means "people of some means", suburbanites, the wealthy of Detroit and its surrounds, and residents of other communities in Michigan who have money and don't want to part with it in order to educate poor and black kids. Second, the educational system is understood by those in power as a burden on the system. They may talk about education as an "investment" in children and the future (which is itself more pervasive econospeak), but their institutional choices contradict even that minor fabulation.

Educating people who no longer serve the purpose of providing a disciplined labor pool is a burden on the system. It generates no capital, not in its initial investment stages, and not over the medium and short terms.

So, children (who are required by law to attend school) are being sold off to private companies, to test pedagogical theories rooted in the sincere and material conviction that children are an exploitable and valid profit center.

Charlie Sheen may have tigerblooded theories about what winning is or is not, but I know losing when I see it.

And those kids, and their families, are losing.


Anonymous said...

For a long time I thought that it was impossible to make the black and latino majority school districts of this country any worse than they were in the old cities and the south. This is a can't miss scheme for it though.The kids can go right from private schools to private jails. There will be competition to see whether the schools spend less on each student a day than the jails spend on prisoners. And they'll still keep collecting the check. At least the teachers will be able to join a union.

Jack Crow said...


I didn't quote the whole passage from the original article, but the teacher's union sees this as a big blow. I'm not familiar with relevant Michigan law, but so I don't know if the charter schools can or will prevent unionization, but it seems on the surface that it would be harder to unionize across ten or twenty or however many separate for-profit educational companies, than it would be for teachers who all work for the same municipality.

And I echo BDR - bleg, please.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Jack, are you familiar with this George Carlin video?

I find I can't read the news anymore without thinking of it.

Jack Crow said...

Yepper, under. And they don't need the veil of Jesus and bunny juice anymore. It's all naked like.

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

So, children (who are required by law to attend school) are being sold off to private companies, to test pedagogical theories rooted in the sincere and material conviction that children are an exploitable and valid profit center.

As a bonus, they'll be turned into docile cogs who won't bind up the wheels of industry. At least Missouri's gutting of child labor laws failed.

Joe said...

I don't know. This strikes me as largely rearranging the furniture. The schools will probably still be under the effective control of the city gov, with the same state requirements for test scores and whatnot, and, like you said, the kids have to go to school anyway, so if the charters fail, they'll just be right back where they started--in shitty government-run schools that are underfunded and over which the parents and teachers have little to no real control. In other words, warm shit vs. cold shit.

Jack Crow said...


It's probably just small comfort, but I can attend a school board meeting and personally lambast one of those assholes. I even get to wait in line and drink coffee before I do it.

What access to the CEO of "Innovative Educational Solutions, Inc." will a parent have?

Justin said...

Yeah, the tsunami aftermath has given a ton of examples of what we are calling econo-thought. The row over Larry Kudlow is but one example. Lambert at Corrente flagged another.

Joe said...


You may have a point there. I don't know. A lot of the schools in Philly were taken over by charters, and I hear the occasional brouhaha on the news, but I don't get much of a sense of whether the schools are actually worse than they were. They're certainly not better. It sounds like they're riddled with the same problems they were riddled with when they were "public" schools.

Anonymous said...

Ya' know what's shitty in this country? That we have fucking poor people. That's shitty. That's the real shitty, and there is no substitute for that shitty. You, know, it's shit.

This is a road that leads somewhere...take it.

Jack Crow said...

Thank you, Anonymous.

Anonymous said...

Ya' know what's shitty in this country? That we have fucking poor people.

Actually, the problem isn't the existence of "poor" people.

The problem is that there are people who think it's better to be "rich."

At the end of that road lays the pity for the "poor," which is nothing but a back-door, latent apology for wanting to be "rich."

It says, "everyone should be rich."

And that's not the problem. The problem isn't that we don't have enough arugula on plates in the slums.

The problem isn't that a dirt-eating 'billy in Appalachia can't get Direct TV.

The problem is that those who want to be "rich" think that owning and showing off your stuff is the essence of life.