Monday, August 10, 2015

Politics as Usual

If you watched the Republican candidates debate on August 6th, doubtless, you were struck by many things.  There is one thing in particular that stood above all else in my mind because it relates so clearly, I believe, to the barrage of recent attacks that I and my colleagues have had to suffer as public-school teachers.  NYC Educator recently referenced the point as well.  I would like to add my thoughts.

Trump stated, "I give to everybody.  When they call, I give. And do you know what?  When I need something from them two years later, three years later, I call them.  They are there for me."

When asked what he got in return for donations to Hillary Clinton, Trump noted she came to his child's wedding.

Trump made it all too clear that you pay politicians, and you get favors.  And do you think the favors amount to more than attendance at his daughter's wedding or other personal appearances?  For a businessman like Trump, I would be shocked if the favors stopped there.  If that was all he got for his money, I don't think his name would be Donald Trump!  I would similarly be willing to bet that in most cases, the favors are returned sooner than "two years later, three years later."  Putting this aside, paying big shots to come to your wedding seems problematic, in and of itself.

As NYC Educator pointed out, Megyn Kelly and her team declined to follow up.  Is it because we all know the system works that way; we all know the system is broken?  Is it because by sweeping it under the rug we can pretend we actually have a functional democracy?

It's been quite obvious to me that our recent education policy has been bought and paid for with campaign donations and generous grants.  It is quite obvious to me that it cannot succeed and, if the money ever runs out, the policy would fail sooner, rather than later.  Charter operatives, for example, have brazenly given millions to win politicians to their side.  Then, the politician return the favor by attacking teachers and destroying public schools.  It is done recklessly for self interest.  It is done for personal profit.

The Common Core has largely been pushed through on the back of "generous" donations from the Gates Foundation.  The testing companies are in there, too, playing hard ball.  And, if allowed to continue, all of this money will destroy the last vestiges of a sacred trust, a democracy built on reflecting the voice of the millions, not the few with the millions.

Good for Trump for laying all the cards on the table.  Too bad his comments didn't seem to raise an eyebrow from the commentators or anyone else in the room!  I guess it's business as usual, or should I say, politics as usual!  The world should know what teachers have sadly discovered in this era of corporate reform.  We are no democracy.  Public education is victimized by an ungodly plutocracy of pocket-stuffing politicians!
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