[A-List] 34 billionaires pledge half of their fortunes; charter schools
cb31450 at gmail.com
Fri Aug 6 10:42:11 MDT 2010
From: MARGARET WYLES <kaliyuga at wildblue.net>
On 8/5/10, Tony B. <tal1 at cogeco.ca> wrote:
> As significant portion of Gates' philanthropic efforts have gone towards the
> destruction of the public school system in America and towards the
> establishment of privatized charter schools. An ongoing strategy that has
> the support of the Obama Aministration.
> I rather suspect that much of these 'philanthropic' efforts will similarly
> go towards such socially counter-productive / elitist ventures.
> More to the point, however, is the fact - long ago alluded to by Ferdinand
> Lundberg in 'The Rich and the Superich' - that such philanthropic efforts
> are the end result of a process of mass theft...which booty is then (very)
> partially restored through 'philanthropic' public relations campaigns that,
> effectively, act to justify, legitimize and simply obscure the original
Very well stated. As you allude to, huge concentrations of money
funneled to the 'right' people serves to promote an agenda that
bypasses popular and constitutional considerations. Nobody really
gives money away without expecting some kind of payback.
CB: No doubt. We have the bourgeois myth of "Ebineezer Scrooge" , a
greedy rich man who sees the light and error of his ways.
Carnegie did a lot of "philanthropy" , too.
It is interesting that so many big capitalists seem to fear the
current capitalist crisis such that they pull this PR stunt. I was
thinking of comparing it to Keynesianism reforms, which radicals
interpret as a measures by capitalism to save itself from socialist
A thought on charter schools: they are especially a method of busting
teachers' unions and reducing teachers' wages and benefits. They are
not fully private schools, as the parents don't pay tuition. Charter
schools are funded with public money ; attendance is free. Actually,
that seems to mean they aren't private schools at all. If some of the
billionaires' money goes to charter schools, that would not render
them private unless parents have to start paying tuition.
However, they are not required, in Michigan at least, to accept all
students, so they are also a tendency to establish a two-tiered
_public_ school system, with charters' as elite schools ( although so
far all studies find that charters don't perform better than
traditional public schools; ironically many charter teachers don't
seem to be certified or qualified; afterall , they aren't paid as much
!) In more affluent communities, this is not likely. The two-tiered
system will be in the ghettoes and barrios, not the white suburbs.
In the longer run, if all the non-charter public schools were
closed, the charters would have to start taking everybody. In other
words, there is likely an upper limit to how many charter schools the
rightwingers would want. Because if charter schools were all the
public schools one of their purposes from the standpoint of the
rightwing - establishing a two-tiered system - would be undermined.
The working class through teachers' unions must develop a strategy of
organizing charter school teachers. This would undermine
substantially their anti-working class thrust. If then they were also
legally required to accept all students, their taint would be
In the short run, the assault on teachers' wages, benefits and job
security must be fought fiercely. In the long run, how can this public
school deform get around the reality that abusing teachers will always
lead to poorer performance by students ?
More information about the A-List