Tuesday, October 09, 2012

GOP Education Policy: No More Pencils, No More Books, No More Teachers' Dirty Looks


Monday's Paul Ryan education round table must have been really brutal. After a quick photo opportunity, all journalists were escorted out of the room. Do you wonder what he was hiding? Obviously he and Romney are not looking to debate further defunding public education to accomplish two major Republican Party goals-- privatizing education, so that the well-off get it and poor kids don't and, of course, Romney's and Ryan's favorite, lowering tax rates on the very wealthy.

And Ryan and Romney are hardly alone in their crusade against education. Almost every Republican running for Congress wants to cut back on Pell Grants and other forms of students aid and most of them want to abolish the Department of Education as well. Eliminating public education and selling it off to their for-profit, corporate contributors is the entire basis-- implicit and explicit-- of conservative education policy. It's no coincidence that corporate shill Michelle Rhee is working for the most reactionary right-wing governors in America like Scott Walker, Tom Corbett, John Kasich and Rick Snyder and being financed by anti-public education fanatics like the fascist-oriented DeVos and Koch families. Their long-term goal, according to a People for the American Way report "is to make all schooling an activity supplied by private sources: for-profit management companies, religious organizations and home schools. The movement believes that targeted voucher plans, such as those in Florida, Milwaukee and Cleveland, give them a foot in the door en route to achieving this goal. While many of those who want to privatize education choose their words very carefully, others are more candid about their goals. The Heartland Institute’s Joseph Bast has urged others who share his group’s extreme agenda to be patient. 'The complete privatization of schooling might be desirable, but this objective is politically impossible for the time being. Vouchers are a type of reform that is possible now, and would put us on the path to further privatization'."

In terms of higher education, their most cherished dream is to abolish Pell Grants, which once covered three-quarters of a needy student's college education. Today it basically covers the cost of text books. Kevin Yoder (R-KS) is like a poster boy for the GOP's war on Pell Grants. Like every single Republican in the current Congress he voted against restoring Pell Grants and other financial aid to college students, like the grants he used to get himself through college not very long ago.

Default: The Student Loan Documentary is a riveting 27 minute movie by Aurora Meneghello and Serge Bakalian. It chronicles the stories of borrowers from different backgrounds affected by the student lending industry and their struggles to change the system. Few Americans have the full understanding what the student loan predators are doing to college students and how the GOP has been complicit-- in return for gigantic, legalistic bribes. The film is being screened around the country-- I saw it the other day-- and hopefully it will be released nationally soon. Meanwhile, please take a look at the trailer. This isn't just about Kevin Yoder, of course... it's about the Republican Party's dark, dystopian vision of the future, a vision that is determined to destroy the American experiment and turn us into one gigantic plantation.

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At 5:54 AM, Blogger Jay Ackroyd (@jayackroyd) said...

Just wanna note that we have a bigger problem now. Because it's also the Democratic leadership who wants to privatize education.


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