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Fighting school deform and disaster capitalism in Chicago

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CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett May Have Met Her Match in Chicago

This afternoon at 4pm, a coalition of Chicago teachers, parents, students and community members will meet at Daley Plaza to voice their displeasure with the announcement last week by Chicago Public Schools (CPS) CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett that 61 Chicago Public Schools will be closed before the opening of the 2013-2014 school year.

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Submitted by Rangoon78 on

Camden New Jersey school takeover
Christie offered few details to explain how the "intervention" would affect the district's 12,000 students or its teachers and parents -

Christie did, however, point to post-Katrina New Orleans as a model for how a school district could be turned around…
Post-Katrina Reforms in New Orleans Continue to Disenfranchise African-Americans, Poor

In the weeks after Hurricane Katrina, the entire staff of the city's public school system was fired - more than 7,500 employees lost their jobs, despite the protection of union membership and a contract. Thousands of young teachers, many affiliated with programs like Teach For America, filled the empty slots. As charters took over from traditional public schools, the city became what then-superintendent Paul Vallas called the first 100 percent free-market public school system in the United States

Free Market free fire zone
In a stock market prospectus uncovered by education author Jonathan Kozol, the Montgomery Securities group explains to Corporate America the lure of privatizing education. Kozol writes:
“The education industry,” according to these analysts, “represents, in our opinion, the final frontier of a number of sectors once under public control” that have either voluntarily opened or, they note in pointed terms, have “been forced” to open up to private enterprise. Indeed, they write, “the education industry represents the largest market opportunity” since health-care services were privatized during the 1970’s.... From the point of view of private profit, one of these analysts enthusiastically observes, “The K–12 market is the Big Enchilada.”1
Milton Friedman introduced the idea of market-driven education in his 1962 book Capitalism and Freedom

Milton Friedman and his Chicago Boys tripped down to Chile to run their “experiment” after Henry Kissinger and the CIA killed their elected president on Sept. 11th, 1973 and installed the ruthless dictator Augusto Pinochet in his place.

Today, Pinochet and Friedman are dead. But the world they helped usher in survives, in increasingly grotesque form. What was considered extreme in Chile in 1975 has now become the norm in the US today: a society where the market defines the totality of human fulfillment, and a government that tortures in the name of freedom.

In an op-ed for the The Wall Street Journal three weeks following Hurricane Katrina, Milton Friedman wrote: "Most New Orleans schools are in ruins, as are the homes of the children who attended them. The children are scattered all over the country. This is a tragedy. It is also an opportunity to radically reform the educational system."