What became of “truth in advertisement”; and where is the Better Business Bureau when you need them?
I just spent a week in NYC watching a huge number of misleading TV commercial’s (where did they get that prime-time commercial buying money?) attacking the mayor’s decision on charter schools. Now, there is a pending court case. First,what is not clear (or being purposely lost) in this media conversation is: How does a cooperate (profit-making private company) acquire “occupation rights” to a public (built by tax money) building? What would a ruling in the charter owner’s favor mean? Can any private company make a claim to a publicly owned building based on the logic that they are “serving the public”? Based on a favorable ruling for the charter company owners; Internet companies, book stores, private hospitals and universities should also be able to make a claim for rent and utilities free space in a publicly financed building; after all they serve a public good. The commercials also (purposely) failed to reveal that charter companies are first, private profit-making companies. This industry exists only because of the terrible strangle hold that recalcitrant and cynical labor unions have placed on NYC public schools. Charter companies have sadly become the only alternative to “work-rules” that place the interest of adults first, and children last. The lasting shame of the Public schools system that has led to this invasion of these pedagogical profiteers (if they are so great for children, why don’t we see them in affluent communities? Goodness, these communities would never pass-up on something that was truly good for their children!) Is our inability to create an environment where the majority (made up of mostly of Black and Brown) students can receive a quality life-lifting educational experience. In a system where money “talks” (and rules) the only alternative offered to these students and parents, is that their children be transformed into commodities for the benefit of those who don’t look like them. It is again an example of Black and Latino children being offered the “lesser of two educational evils”; or “we will eliminate damaging/anti-learning work rules; if you allow us to make a profit off of your children; a great money-making enterprise/opportunity for a slow-moving economy. I can’t honestly blame the charter school parents for trying to at the very least give their children a fighting chance at receiving an education that comes close to being quality. But by offering a small token of a “good education” (which is really creating an experience with no struggling or learning environment distracting students) to a very small number of “active and aware” parents places these communities of color in a permanent state of underdevelopment, as most children of color are still held captive under harsh anti-learning work rules and low expectations conditions. This manufactured “choice” of connected and aware parents of color fighting to get their children on a “raggedy bus”; while the majority of children of color are thrown under that same bus, is as false and insulting, as it is educationally debilitating for all of the children in that community. Why should there be a “cap” on the number of children in a community who could possibly receive something that approximates a “good” education? Why are communities of color continuing to fight for educational crumbs in 2014, so many years after 1954, so many years after the Emancipation Proclamation? A real choice is what exists for the children of privilege and entitlement: the choice between good, better and best! Real public schools (where most of the children of color still languish and suffer) should be forced by the communities in which these children live to provide these students with an authentic, qualitatively rich educational experience. Now that would be a bold, radical and courageous effort; and, it would offer parents and students of color a real educational choice. Now put that in a prime-time commercial!