Peter Greene on the DeVos Doctrine: Choice Choice Choice

Peter Greene read Betsy DeVos’s speech to the big privatization conference in D.C. and he figured out the DeVos doctrine.

Remember the song from “Oklahoma,” about “the farmers and the ranchers can be friends?” Well, DeVos assured her allies in the privatization movement that voucher-lovers and charter-lovers are on the same team. They both want the money that now goes to public schools!

Greene writes:

“The rise of Betsy DeVos opened up some schisms in the education reformster world, including, notably, voucher fans versus charter fans. Charter fans have been distrustful, even openly resistant to DeVos and whatever agenda she is drifting toward. Charter schools and voucher schools are natural competitors, with vouchers having a distinct edge with the private religious school market. But I think it may be more important that they compete in different ways.

“To grossly oversimplify, the charter model is to attach itself to the public school system, coopting the public system’s financial systems but redirecting public monies to private schools. The voucher model is to keep the public funding from ever entering the public system at all. Charters want to slip the money out of the bank, but vouchers want to grab the armored cars delivering it. Charters flirt with the lottery winner so he’ll buy them a nice dinner, and vouchers mug him before he ever gets to the restaurant. Charters fake their family ties so they can wrangle an invite to Thanksgiving

“So it represents a significant shift that DeVos has delivered a speech loaded with a giant olive branch to charter supporters…

“DeVos holds up Florida as an example of robust choice and its awesome results. Including Pitbull’s school. Florida, land charter scam artists and blatantly racist school policy and slavish devotion to the Big Standardized Test and public schools deliberately gutted in order to make choice look good. Florida is the DeVosian model. It may not do much for actual education, but at least people are free to make money.

“The final chorus of this hymn to privatization is to declare that “education is not a zero-sum game.” But of course as currently conceived, it is exactly that. Among the issues that DeVos doesn’t address is the costliness of running multiple parallel school systems with the same (often inadequate) funds you previously used to run a single system. As long as every taxpayer dollar spent to send a student to a private charter or voucher school is a dollar taken away from the public system, then a zero-sum game is exactly what we have.

“The DeVos Doctrine presented here includes several of her emerging greatest hits, such as the idea that parents choosing a school is a pure exercise of democracy. It is not. There is nothing democratic about requiring the taxpaying public to foot the bill for your personal private choice.”

from novemoore


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