The End of Public Education

Posted on March 9, 2011

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By Matt Meyer

Though we may not like to admit it, the U.S. commitment to publicly supported teachers and students is coming to an abrupt end. The global corporate penchant for privatization, commoditization, and enclosure is having chilling effects on policies that scholar Henry Giroux suggests “seek nothing less than the total destruction of the democratic potential of American education.”

Under the Clinton administration, education was remolded to suit an economic system that could just as easily use “labor market boards” as institutions of learning and empowerment. Now, right-wing pundits are calling for a complete dissolution of the Department of Education while billionaires pump funds into local and state education systems to all but ensure that they become privately controlled centers that will better sort workers for 21st-century business needs.

This global phenomenon, part of the neoliberal agenda whereby most workers do not need much traditional academic information, sees highly educated, lifelong “professional” teachers as a central problem for smooth-running, globalized economies. By raising student expectations and civic involvement and demanding higher wages and better working conditions, they cost more than they are worth. Throughout Africa, Asia, and Latin America, the World Bank and other free-market institutions have implemented large-scale privatization campaigns with their necessary attack on unionism, disenfranchisement of parents and communities, and de-intellectualizing of schools.

Read the rest of the article at War Resisters League website.

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