Friday, June 8, 2012

Governor Scott Walker and Big Business Buddies to Save U. S. Education

Teachers' unions are killing the U. S. economy.
GOVERNOR SCOTT WALKER LIVES to fight another day. He has survived his recall election. Now he can go about the job of saving Wisconsin. He has handed greedy public sector unions a stinging defeat, then another, defeating them against all odds and rescuing the taxpayers of his state. Governor Walker is like David with his sling (but wearing a Cheesehead hat), slaying Goliath.

He has brought down the mighty teachers' union.

Okay: true. 

The governor did have tens of millions of dollars worth of stones, thanks to campaign contributions from Big Business types like David and Charles Koch.

That doesn't change the story. Just watch Fox News. Walker is a hero! He is like Governor Chris Christie. Only thinner. 

The forces of evil, those dirty union members behind the recall, have been defeated. Wisconsinites can sleep again at night, knowing the kindergarten teacher and the high school physics instructor can't ever rip them off again. Teachers have no more bargaining rights. Taxes will go down! Count on it. Millionaires are saved! 

Pay and benefits for middle class Americans will also go down. But, say, did we mention taxes will go down? 

Test scores will go up. Really. Bank on it! Wisconsin's economy will boom. No more teachers' unions standing in the way. And with luck, and a Romney win in November, we introduce this approach on a national scale.

Remember 2008, when the teachers crashed the economy and got that big bailout from the Bush adminstration? Well, okay, maybe that was somebody else; but the point is the same. Never again will unions bring down the U. S. economy.

A NEW ERA IS DAWNING, from sea to shining sea, as voters realize (after watching $45 million worth of pro-Walker advertisements) that only a marriage of Big Business and conservative politicians can save the nation. The door to a fantastic future is opening. Unions are dying. Now we privatize U. S. education.

We turn schools over to billionaires and millionaires who know how to profit. We put Big Business types in charge, those who can bring business efficiency to schools. Teachers will have to shape up or ship out and children can only gain. Okay, maybe we outsource secretarial positions to call centers in India. Alright, maybe we hire illegal immigrants to perform janitorial services. Hey! That's what free enterprise is all about.

Saving taxpayers money.

With Big Business methods you can look forward to Big Business morality. And when has Big Business ever not been about helping kids? Okay, sure, there was that 19th century when business leaders fought against enactment of laws to ban child labor. Okay, sure, business leaders today want to help your son our daughter save money for college by freezing the minimum wage and cutting funds for low-cost student loans. Quit quibbling. We are saving America here and if a few middle class Americans get run over in the process, that's the price of success, and the cost of lower taxes for the Koch brothers. We are putting faith in Joe the Average Billionaire because, let's face facts, who cares more about about helping every child in America, and helping every American worker, unless that child or that worker needs health care, than the people who (did I already mention this) know how to profit?

Privatizing U. S. education is going to be great. It will be like:

Ken Lay and Jeffrey, no, poor choice. Um. Schools will show rising standardized test results, year after year, like when Bernie, no, that's not right. The school nurse will save taxpayer money by turning away students who come to her office with preexisting conditions...
Still not quite right. Okay: Your school superintendent will have the business acumen of Jamie Dimon, CEO of J. P. Morgan. He will let your district business manager put up buildings, athletic fields and school buses as collateral for risky loans. No. Scratch that. You don't want to lose $2 billion do you?

Oh yeah, have we mentioned greedy teachers lately?

Well, now that you've smashed the unions, you can tell those middle class teachers to take a hike if they want a raise on their $50,000 salaries. You can pay your superintendent who is really the key to all success, $133.7 million dollars for one year.

That's what Home Depot does. That's how much Bob Nardelli earns running the company; and while you're at it your district can start buying everything it can in China. This means parents of students might lose jobs; but it doesn't matter because the savings you make buying foreign goods will allow you to pay Bob Nardelli and he's the key. 

When a newspaper reporter asks if Mr. Nardelli deserves it, a spokesman for your district can reply, "Mr. Nardelli works harder than other people."

"Really?" the reporter may respond. "Harder than 2,674 teachers, earning $50,000 each, combined?"

Your spokesman must be ready to respond (and be sure not to laugh): "Yes. Mr. Nardelli puts in a lot of late nights and weekends."

Still not convinced that Big Business, with the help of conservative politicians, can save all the children? Maybe a real example might help. 

How about K-12, Inc. an online school operation, which owns the Ohio Virtual Academy? The company spends $6,108 per pupil vs. $10,660 at traditional brick and mortar schools (partly because K-12 pays teachers half what the regular public schools do). This savings for taxpayers! Have we mentioned huge savings for taxpayers lately? Talk about efficiency. Ohio Virtual Academy has one building and 7,277 pupils and a student-teacher ratio of 55.5-1 vs. a statewide average of 16.1-1. Assigning each teacher three-and-a-half times as many students and paying them less allows K-12, Inc. to make tidy profits, and...give taxpayers a fantastic deal. What? The dropout rate is 14.9% yearly, compared to a statewide average of 4.3%, according to the website Local School

Don't sweat it. Governor Walker can explain how it will all work. Or Governor Christie, unless his mouth is stuffed with donuts. Or Governor John Kasich here in Ohio. K-12, Inc. is in the education business because the company wants to help children. They would probably run their school for free if they could help children. But, no, Big Business leaders at K-12 can't help it if they are so talented that they make a ton of money running the Agora Cyber Charter School in Pennsylvania. True: One-third of students at Agora fail to graduate on time. Also true: hundreds withdraw every year, within months of enrollment. True, again: some Agora high school teachers are responsible for overseeing 250 students.

What the heck. Big Business heroes are crushing evil unions. Big Business heroes are going to save U. S. education.

Meanwhile, Rupert Murdoch has bought into the education business, because who cares more about children than an Australian billionaire, paying $360 million for an education company called Wireless Generation, a technology operation with close ties to the New York City Schools. And who used to run the New York City Schools?  

Joel I. Klein, a gentleman who never taught a day in his life.

Now Klein works for Murdoch, heading up his education operations. How much does he earn for his expertise? A cool $4.5 million per year. After all, if you want to help the kids, you need to have the best legal advice, and Klein's real value has always been in the field of corporate law, another bastion of altruism if there ever was one. Sadly, Klein has been unable to focus on improving U. S. education lately.

He's been devoting most of his efforts to cleaning up Murdoch's long list of legal difficulties in Great Britain, including widespread phone-hacking, bribery of politicians and police, perjury, and all kinds of other sleazy antics. Maybe Klein will suggest to Murdoch that they name their first on-line charter school Milly Dowler Virtual Academy, in honor of the 13-year-old girl English girl who was abducted on her way home after classes one day, and who then had her cell phone account hacked by Murdoch's reporters while she was still missing, so that News Corporation could try to get scoop rival papers.

I mean, if you can't trust lawyers like Klein and businessmen like Murdoch to save America's kids, who can you trust?


  1. Oh, damn, John! You're reading my mind!

  2. This is GREAT. I just reposted it on facebook. Thanks for all your righteous anger. I'm in the trenches with you, John.