US Supreme Court Ordered Desegregation, then Conservatives Worked to Demolish Public Education

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Yves here. highlights the importance of yet another right wing propaganda campaign in undermining laws that promoted social justice.

JAISAL NOOR:Welcome back to the Real News. I’m Jaisal Noor, bringing you Part 2 of our discussion with the award-winning author Nancy McLean about her book “Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America.”

So 64 years ago, Brown vs. Board of Education found that separate and unequal education systems for African Americans was unconstitutional. You argue that many Virginians initially actually accepted this decision, but a public campaign was launched to sway public opinion against it. Can you talk about that? You start off the first chapter of your book with this history, talking about how students and teachers in Virginia, led by students, weren’t organized to be part of Brown. And then the public response against it.

NANCY MACLEAN:Yeah, in the state of Virginia in 1951 there was an extraordinarily inspiring event that is really, in a way, a precursor to some of what we’re seeing now with the teachers strikes, and student and teacher mobilizations for good public education. In that strike in 1951 in Prince Edward County, Virginia, a young woman named Barbara Rose Johns joined with her favorite teacher, and the two of them worked together, kind of strategized for a strike, a student strike, to demand a better high school for the black children of Prince Edward County. At that point many of the students were taking classes in tar paper shacks. They did not have indoor plumbing, in many cases, while the white school was the extraordinary state of the art facility. And so the 200 students in this high school went out on a 100 percent solid students strike for a better high school.

It was an incredibly inspiring event with the support of over 90 percent of their parents, the local black clergy, and NAACP. And what they wanted was a chance to learn, to grow, to have the same opportunities as other children in their cohort and their era and their community. And they only went back to school when the NAACP agreed to take their course. I’m sorry, to take their case against discrimination to the courts. And at that point the students went back to school, and this case from Prince Edward County became one of the five eventually folded into Brown vs. Board of Education.

Fast forward a bit, and after the Brown decision was issued by the court, Virginia’s extremely conservative white elite began in 1955 and ’56 to do everything it could to undermine the success of that decision, and to deny black children and communities the constitutional rights that had just been recognized by the court. The way that they did this was through a program called massive resistance, and they led the program of massive resistance and goaded the wider white South onto it. And one element of that massive resistance was state-funded tuition grants, what we today would call vouchers, to enable white parents to pull their children from public schools to private schools that would be beyond the reach of the Federal Court’s ruling that segregation was unconstitutional.

So that’s actually how I got into this story, and it was a story that led me to the surprising discovery that essentially the entire American right, and particularly of interest, this free market fundamentalist right that was just beginning to get organized in those years, supported these tax-funded school vouchers. And even, in many cases, supported the school closures in Prince Edward County to prevent the Brown decision from being implemented.

So that was fascinating to me. And I discovered that Milton Friedman, the Chicago school free market economist, had issued his first manifesto for such vouchers in 1955 in the full knowledge of how it could be used by the white segregationists of the South. And then I also stumbled onto a report by this James McGill Buchanan that we were discussing earlier, who essentially tried to pull the segregationist chestnuts out of the fire in early 1959, when a massive mobilization of moderate white parents had come together to try to save the schools from these school closures, and the bleeding of these tax monies out to private schools. And after the courts had ruled against school closures of schools that were planning to desegregate in Virginia. So that’s how Buchanan got on my radar. But what I realized was that this was a much deeper story about the right’s radical antipathy to public education precisely because it was public.

And here I think it’s important to point out that when this was happening in the late 1950s, American schools were the envy of the developed world. We lead the world in the efficacy of our public education system. Our schools were a model for the wider world. And yet this right was attacking public education even then. And as important, teachers were not organized then. There were no recognized teachers unions. There was no collective bargaining structure for teachers in those years. The right was attacking public education as a monopoly, saying that it denied choice, all the kinds of things that they say now against public education, and they were doing this at a time when teachers had no collective power.

So the antipathy that we see on the right toward teachers unions today, toward public education, is not really because of any failing on their part. It is ideological. It is dogmatic. It is an antipathy to public education precisely because it is public.

JAISAL NOOR:Now, we just have a few minutes left, but there’s a few things I want to go through quickly with you. So, Buchanan didn’t bring up race in his arguments. And it’s sort of a similar way that the privatization movement today, you know, they say privatization is going to help students of color, it’s going to help low-income students by increasing choice. What’s your, what’s your response when you hear that today? And you say, as someone who is aware and has researched the history of this movement, what are your, how do you respond to that?

NANCY MACLEAN:Yeah. I mean, I’m sure there are some sincere people who make these arguments. And yet for the architects of the right I find it deeply disingenuous. We would not face the crisis that we face today, we would not have teachers out on strike in states where they have no collective bargaining rights, by the way, if we had not had this right organizing against public education for decades, now, trying to starve it of resources, trying to hold it to testing standards that they know will undermine the quality of education and lead people to flee the public schools.

And you know, one measure of the lack of good faith, I think, in these arguments is the fact that while they’re holding public education to, that has been deprived of resources, to these high testing standards and so forth, they are actually giving out in my state of North Carolina, for example, publicly tax-funded vouchers to private schools that, as one shocked judge found, are under no legal obligation whatsoever to teach students anything. And in fact, one private school system in North Carolina, a Stanford study found, had taught students nothing in mathematics for 180 days, and very little in English.

So what we’re seeing, basically, is a kind of ransacking of a precious public resource that has been built up over generations. Nationally, from the early 19th century, our public education system was developed with tremendous investment by taxpayers, and citizens, and teachers, and former students, and so forth. And now in North Carolina what we’re seeing is this terrible, terrible sad irony that a state that was once one of the poorest in the region, that dragged itself up by investing in good public education, by investing in public infrastructure, is now being dragged into competition with Mississippi and Alabama and other Southern states that have starved their schools for years by a Republican Party that has been turned into a delivery vehicle by the Koch donor network.

JAISAL NOOR:And if you look at these laws passed around the country, they have, you know, the Koch brothers, ALEC, you know, these are all funded by these groups. You know, these groups put out, secret memos released by the Guardian responding to these teachers, and you know, giving lawmakers ways to respond to them. And their, their stated goal in these leaked documents is to destroy-. To take on unions, especially teachers unions, for their opposition to these laws.

Unfortunately we’re out of time, but we’ll, we’ll definitely have you on again. Nancy MacLean, author of “Democracy in Chains,” professor at Duke University. “Democracy in Chains” was a finalist for the National Book Prize in 2017. It’ll be out in paperback on June 5. Thank you so much for joining us, and we’ll definitely have you on again soon.

NANCY MACLEAN:Thank you, Jaisal.

JAISAL NOOR:And thank you for watching us at the Real News Network.

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41 comments

  1. leapfrog

    Thank you for this article. I’ll have to dig up the first one of your two part series and read it. I’m always interested in new books that go into great detail about the fascinating train-wreck and Machiavellian maneuverings of right wing propaganda. I just ordered a sample for my Kindle. The negative reviews on this book made me most curious.

  2. The Rev Kev

    Maybe the reason that the right is so against public education is that no one is making a buck from it. It’s an ideological thing and goes against their world view.

    1. Michael Fiorillo

      It’s not just “the right” that is against public education: the Democrats have also been pimping the lie that (so-called) education reform is “the civil rights movement of our time” for years.

      As a case in point, Obama was deeply implicated in so-called reform years before becoming President, via Valerie Jarrett (who saw how useful he could be for local and national elites) and the Joyce Foundation in Chicago.

      Once he became President, he appointed his basketball-playing pal and bobble-head, Arne Duncan, who’d never spent a day teaching in a public school classroom, as Secretary of Education. They then embarked on a viciously aggressive – Duncan infamously said that Hurricane Katrina was “the best thing that ever happened” to the schools in New Orleans, after all the public school teachers were fired and the district tuned over to TFA and charter school privateers – regime of public school closings and attacks on teachers.

      During this entire period (and to this day, with even Bernie and Elizabeth Warren still issuing nothing but weasel words about charters and privatization), the NY Times, Washington Post (with the brave exception of Valerie Strauss) and NPR, et. al. were nothing but megaphones and stenographers for so-called reform, credulously repeating every false premise and lie being propagated by the business-academic-malanthropic education reform complex.

      Even the unions, which are the primary targets of so-called reform, were collaborators in the process, shamefully going along with every single forced march imposed by the so-called reformers. Randi Weingarten of the AFT even went so far as to have Bill Gates address the union convention as featured guest in 2010. When some teachers walked out in protest, she had her loyalty oath-signing apparatchiks mock and harass them…

      Vicious, lying bastards, all… fortunately, however, their hustle is running its course as people start to wake up, and some reporters are starting to realize that charters and vouchers are a rich source of scandal, and are starting to report on the billions that have been diverted from the public schools and into the pockets of these arrogant know-nothings and crooks.

      1. PKMKII

        The incubator/”marketplace of ideas” kool-aid is a strong drink. Maybe the mob could make a comeback if they rebrand themselves as a disruptor of the rent-seeking law enforcement status quo.

      2. Mike Gramig

        Complicating the whole situation, the siren call of charter schools as a solution to performance gaps is luring minority leaders. Here in Louisville, our Republican governor has removed and replaced the total state school board and the school commissioner. The interim commissioner has recommended that the Jefferson Co. School System be taken over by the state, a la Michigan, the main objective being to implement charter schools.

        Doesn’t matter what the research and testing data say about charter schools lack of results (and we’re just down the road from Indianapolis and their charter school/testing disaster.) The minority pastors that are the de facto minority community leadership are all in for charter schools – as are the majority of the governor’s appointees.

        The kicker: The only 2 school systems taken over by the state were systems with betwenn 1,000 and 1,200 students. Louisville’s school system is one of the largest in the country at over 100,000. Think our already overwhelmed state government is going to be able to run this system. Hello Detroit!

  3. John

    The Bush crime family found a profit center in education grift. See the activities of Neil. They were all in on it.
    I think the right wing hatred of universal education comes from a basic understanding from feudal times that you want to keep the serfs ignorant and uneducated. In the slave south, it was illegal to teach the enslaved to read and write. The overlords understand how a good education threatens their power.

  4. Off The Street

    A mistake made in education (and many other) discussions is to aggregate issues without enough regard to the individual impacts of those issues. Choosing the top lightning rod aspect as the chief headline grabber, talking point or even click bait takes away from presentation and awareness of subsidiary issues that may have their own merits. Those other issues may brought up briefly, if at all. That applies across the spectrum, and may be applied knowingly or otherwise to influence readers. Some readers will take the time to dive in, and others will not expend the effort.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      I do agree that the post got down in weeds and skirted much of the heart of the issues which drive the very serious assault ongoing against public education. But your comment is pregnant with innuendo and sparse on detail. What subsidiary issues are missing? What are the individual impacts of the aggregated issues? Please dis-aggregate and discuss a few of those issues.

      1. Off The Street

        Kids often get lost in the current process.

        Desegregation may be used as a polarizing issue that takes away attention from other issues like inclusion of public versus private, charter, teacher performance, compensation, facilities and underlying everything whether the kids are learning. The average media consumer may not stick around long enough to delve into issues, at least not those with kids in an impacted district, when seeing just another inflammatory headline.

        To your point about public education, I fear that the assault masks various factors that could be recognized. I’d look at who stands to gain or lose (students, parents, community, teachers, administrators, facility or service providers) and to find some ways to report that for comparison on a common (apples-to-apples, not apples-to-oranges) basis over a plausible time frame (no hockey stick graphs, show who gets what when). That is not a panacea but would start to put on a more objective footing an education system that is being asked concurrently to do too much (e.g., no books, inadequate or disparate resources, much operation in loco parentis) and too little (graduating kids who can’t read, write or ‘rithmetic), before they can do so much else that people used to expect from primary and secondary education, and do expect in other PISA countries.

        I’d impose a high standard of disclosure and accountability particularly when there is to be any consideration of outsourcing or alternative delivery of whatever service.

  5. Jeremy Grimm

    Recall the scene in “Dark Knight” where the Joker disappears into a school bus joining a seemingly endless line of school buses driving outside the bank he and his late team of criminals just robbed? You could see lines of school buses like that in American cities every weekday afternoon around 3 PM. That was part of how Brown vs Board of Education was addressed. I always saw that as a visible mockery of the Supreme Court ruling. It wasted money and huge amounts of student time.

    The way most if not all U.S. communities fund their school systems is through property taxes supplemented by funding from the State and Federal governments. In theory the State and Federal funding is supposed to pay for State and Federal mandates on public education and even out the uneven property tax income of the local communities. Poor communities generally have poor property tax bases to support the vital services local government provides, while rich communities have fat tax bases. The relative power of rich communities enables them to grab up any nice tax revenue sources into their city boundaries, and shove things like dumps into poor communities. To add insult to injury the long term result of this system is that poor communities are forced to have exorbitant property tax rates to provide even the minimal services they provide, which does little to encourage improvements to local property. Busing students around got by Brown vs Board of Education without doing anything about the red-lining that held African Americans “in-their-place” even if they somehow obtained the financial means to move to better neighborhoods, and it did nothing to address the disparity between rich and poor communities. Over time that disparity has only grown as poor communities continued to decline and more and more of the State and Federal mandates on the schools received less and less State and Federal support.

    This post offers some interesting background to how Brown vs Board of Education came about. It misses some of what I believe are the root causes for the problems with public education — problems which affect all the poor and increasingly affect the health and well-being of our body politic.

    1. Arizona Slim

      Jeremy Grimm, your comment brought up a bad memory from my childhood. Happened when I was in junior high (they didn’t call it middle school back then) or high school.

      A bunch of neighborhood kids were on the street, walking toward me, and they were in a panic. They were shouting the N-word, and I asked what was going on.

      Well, there was that house that had just been sold. And there were, ahem, African American people going in and out of it. Were they moving into *our* neighborhood? My young neighbors thought so.

      And, if that was indeed true, they would have to move. One of the kids was crying because he didn’t want to move.

      Well, somebody’s parents (not mine) called the real estate agent. Turns out that the AA people were cleaning the house before its new owners — who were white — moved in.

      Oh, about those new owners. They were one of the oddest families I’ve ever met. Kind of like “Deliverance” moves to the suburbs.

      A few years later, they moved away. By that time, I was off at college, but I still recall my mother’s reaction. She wasn’t sorry to see them go.

      BTW, there are AA families in the neighborhood now. Two of those families are friends of my family.

      As for those panic-stricken neighborhood kids, they grew up and moved away. I have no idea where they are now.

    2. rd

      Brown vs. Board of Education, interstate highways, and FHA red-lining of suburbs led to the current public school system mess.

      Interstates and FHA red-lining meant whites could move from the cities to white suburbs into schools that were still effectively segregated. FHA red-lining meant that the mortgage subsidy system prevented blacks from moving to the suburbs. The interstate highways removed practical distance limits for the suburbs so people could commute much longer distances to work, so that was not a barrier to moving to the suburbs.

      School systems are funded by property taxes. The wealth moved out to the suburbs, so substantial property taxes were available there to fund schools. Wealth left the cities and property tax collections dropped, so funding of schools for the poor and blacks dropped.

      I think the accumulated effects of historic and current racism in the US is a significant reason for the declining economic productivity over the past several decades.

  6. Expat

    This is not a problem for the “olden days”, which is to say, the 50’s. The South screwed up public education, defunded it, and destroyed it with the express intent of preventing blacks from receiving an education well into the 1980’s. The North hardly has a better record since they shipped in the quasi-slave labor from the South and forced them into ghettos where education was also appalling.

    So many racist Americans justify their inhumanity by saying something along the lines of “It’s been 150 years since Lincoln freed the niggras. Any problems they still have obviously shows they are inferior and animals.” The reality is that black people were not emancipated until the end of the 20th century…and even that is up for debate.

    White Americans will go down in history for their treatment of blacks, Native Americans, and Nisei. And that is just domestic!

  7. Jim Haygood

    ‘The right was attacking public education as a monopoly.’

    Imagine that each town had one dingy StateMart supermarket — devoid of fresh fruit and with only one brand of mushy Wonder Bread and one flavor of grape jelly — where we would all be required to shop based on residency in the district, or else go without food.

    In the American Shoppers Paradise, this would rightly be seen as medieval and soviet. But it’s the way public schools work.

    Why are monopolies bad [Sherman Antitrust Act, et al] except in K-12 education?

    Global comparisons show that US public K-12 education resembles US healthcare — highest expenditures on the planet by far, yet with educational attainment that typically ranks in the 20s or 30s internationally.

    No matter how monopolists whinge, they cannot justify their unacceptable performance in relation to funds spent. Must do better …

      1. Jim Haygood

        When I was in grade school, we had a native american girl named Nelda W come to live in our house. Nelda was academically gifted, but the school district which served the rez was substandard. Our own school district (which assigned the few hispanics and native americans to the white rather than the separate black schools) was displeased. But since Nelda had her own bedroom in our house, they could do nothing about it.

        To this day the same dynamic plays out in the urban Northeast. A teacher of my acquaintance in Fair Lawn NJ moved her grandson from inner city Paterson (just across the Passaic River) into her home so he could attend better schools. As an hispanic kid, he was instantly ethnically profiled as an interloper from Paterson. But since he was a bona fide resident of his grandma’s suburban home, the school district was stymied from expelling him, as they routinely do the annual flood of Paterson students attempting to register in surrounding suburban districts using an assumed address.

        Monopoly school districts function as liberal plantations that keep the urban poor safety fenced into their dismal educational ghettos.

        1. DavidP

          Monopoly school districts function as liberal plantations. to be replaced by what? if not free public then what? If local Governments are dictated by by the State i.e. one of the 50 as overseen by the Fed Gov how to change? You offer opinions without any semblance of solutions. Remove the Fed from helping/hurting, remove the state from helping/hurting who decides? Who decides the “free market”, local rule, State rule, Fed rule please offer some opinion that contains a possible solution.

        2. Plenue

          Uh, you know you’re just making an argument for better, and more equitably distributed, public funding, right?

            1. Michael Fiorillo

              No, he apparently didn’t know that, but he did know enough to use “a Native American girl” and “a Hispanic kid” as props for his fallacious privatization argument…typical so-called reform misdirection, whereby claims of segregation are used to accelerate segregation.

    1. Plenue

      Ah, the old ‘defund something and then complain how it under-performs, warranting further defunding’ racket.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Followed by the old sell it to a corporation who impoverishes the workforce while charging sky high prices for their services trick.

        1. HotFlash

          While payment for their ever-shoddier services is guaranteed by (wait for it…) DA GUMMINT!

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      I think you’re tweaking us to get a rise. The public school system is not a monopoly. A somewhat closer analog might be a public utility.

      ‘The right was attacking public education as a monopoly.’ — that might be better restated as “The right is attacking public education and has been for a long time going at least as far back as the Brown v. Board of Education ruling. As used in the original assertion ‘monopoly’ is just a pejorative. The right, especially the Neoliberal right has no problem with monopolies. They just want to get government out of the way of the Market and supporting the Market wherever possible — like a little bail-out here and there.

    3. ewmayer

      Jim, you left out the part about the StateMart supermarket [public school] having had a fine selection of high-quality products in the not-too-distant past, but going rapidly downhill once the city council decided to give a huge set of tax breaks and regulation-waivers in order to lure a jawbs-and-groaf-promising Walmart [charter school] to town, said act of anticompetitive fiscal largesse allowing the Walmart to undercut the StateMart’s prices.

      Your bogus invocation of antitrust shows that, even after all this time on NC, you remain blissfully, willfully ignorant of the crucial concept of a “public good”. Your ‘analogy’ with healthcare is similarly false, since US healthcare is dominated by specially antitrust and pricing-transparency-exempted for profit corporations. I could go on, but as the saying goes, “no one is blinder than he who refuses to see.”

  8. Steven B Smith

    “So what we’re seeing, basically, is a kind of ransacking of a precious public resource that has been built up over generations”

    I’ll say look at Montebello CA, they just sacked property owners for $300,000,000.00 in dollar resources.

    1. John Wright

      As I remember from living in LA, having good (public) schools will enhance property values.

      About 10 years ago, I was told of one family that wanted to rent a small one bedroom apartment in a good school district so their kids could have an address they would qualify them to attend the public schools there.

      The rental agent was told that the children would walk to the apartment after each school day and the parents would pick them up and take them “home”.

      Private school is expensive, so having several children in a good public school, even at the cost of renting an apartment, can be valuable.

      As I was told, the rental agent did not like the scheme and did not rent to them.

      Perhaps the enhanced property values angle was pitched to the voters?

  9. vegeholic

    Nancy Mclean has performed an immense public service, bringing this shameful behavior of the nascent “neo-libertarian” movement to light in her book. It is not too late to insist that the right fess up to the real motivation for vouchers and school choice: to avoid complying with brown v. board of education. Innocuous and innocent sounding words and phrases have been allowed to mask the underlying ugliness.

  10. Jane

    Even if the right are genuinely for choice, it seems like their beloved private schools arent working. They have the obligation to prove their case before assaulting an already working public system

    1. S and P 500

      You mean the failing public schools system. And don’t forget the nation’s $1.5 trillion in unfunded teacher pensions. The kids will get the bill for that debt that union teachers rang up.

      1. Richard

        This blanket grade of “failing” I have seen thrown about before, but rarely do I ever see anyone who does so bother to define terms or provide evidence, just wink/nudge. I ask you to provide evidence.
        Union teacher here, btw. You should have been at the party we had. It was epic.

  11. Jack

    Please quit using “conservative” and “racist” as synonyms. I suspect that the Virginia opposition cited in the article was led by Democrats. While there is certainly a group of deplorables (to coin a phrase) who are right-wing racists, I think the vast majority of those of us who are “conservatives” on economic and defense policy are not the least bit racist and, in general, quite moderate on social policy issues.

    1. Bernard

      well, actions speak louder than words. when the right or conservatives help foster the public society (education, single payer, or other society related topics) i’ll believe they are for the good of the whole society. not just one slice of all of us. more of the divide and conquer.

      defense and economic issues? really, what economic/defense issue are the right and conservatives moderate on? single payer? environmental protection/regulations.

      when conservatives or the right votes for higher aka living wages, healthy food, government run healthcare/single payer, cheaper drug prices, net neutrality, public transportation. when people are more important than business profits, then i’ll believe the right/conservatives care, care for the rest of us than their “profits”.

      as i said actions. the last 40 years has been the ultimate in resource stripping. America was a very rich country, for the majority of us. Now we are a 3 rd world country. Republican policy/laws stripped the rest of us blind, and it continues.

      without education, we are creating a downward spiral for all of us in this country, no matter what Ayn Rand wants us to believe. Now we are doomed to be worse than any communist dictatorship the right screams continuously about. better Dead than Red ring any bells?

      the so called market is neither free nor competitive. when the Koch brothers, Adelson, Mercers, Gates, Zuckerthief write the laws the “market” operates in, it is not free or fair or serving the so called Public.

      1. Data

        The funny thing about Ayn Rand specifically was how she completely hand waived education away in Atlas Shrugged. It was literally a couple sentences near the end that describe some arrangement had been made for the children. There were zero details. As a parent, it was a massive glaring flaw.

      2. S and P 500

        The “resource stripping” started in 1978 with Prop 13 in Calif., which was the Howard Jarvis taxpayer revolt. Prop 13 still enjoys wide support in Calif.

  12. Norb

    What I would like to know is who is/was this, “Virginia’s extremely conservative white elite”. Who were they and how many? Until names are named, this sort of undermining will continue. It becomes all too easy to recruit foot soldiers in crime to perpetrate any sort of social mischief.

    The economic roots of slavery persist to this day. The desire for free or cheep labor form the foundation for the entire system- along with free or cheep commodities.

    Added to that, the desire to retain political power.

    Democracy is great as long as it can be used to retain power. When democratic action threatens that power, is is dropped in a heartbeat by gerrymandering and corruption.

    Privatization is just the current manifestation that needs to run its damaging course.

  13. Scott1

    The Federal Government has the money for education of a per capita excellence whereas communities in States do not.
    States have created “Education Lotteries”. States then have often withdrawn tax money using the reasoning that the Lotteries pay what they have taken away.
    Often the Lottery money goes into advertising of the lottery or and the salaries of the executives and the general fund.
    Loans called bonds are issued.
    According to Modern Monetary Theory money spent by the Federal Government on Education and healthcare is the safest use of infinite Treasury power.
    William Godwin the Anarchist said there are two responsibilities of any legitimate government. Those are Defense and Education.
    Education is the number one responsibility of the States since they are not defended by their National Guard, but by the Federal US Armed Forces. Better to think of the National Guard as a Civil Defense & Disaster Response Force.
    Apparently there are a lot of people in government that believe in nothing but Defense. Extremists even believe in Privatization of the Defense forces.
    North Carolina is a perfect territory. Has the beach & the ports.
    It has the mountains.
    I say repeatedly of the State of North Carolina that if you are poor it is because someone wants you to be poor.
    I was talking with the director of Ancillary Services at the University of North Carolina last month when they were closing the local community airport.
    In the course of the conversation I brought up the mission of the University by law was to provide a free university education as much as possible.
    It is now about 17 thousand a year. “That’s just a technicality.” he said, which I had heard before concerning the airport they had in trust for all the people of the state as well as the people of the County where it was the only public local community airport.
    Prior to the realization of the Gopsay as the controlling party of the State legislature the University had been prevented from closing the local community airport for the reason that it was a public airport by law.
    “That’s just a technicality.” means founding principles of the institution are no longer meaningful to the people who make financial decisions affecting dramatically the population of the state.
    What was a public university becoming as much like a private institution as it can is just more corruption. It is the corruption of the ideal of a state represented in how accessible it’s most important institution is.
    If vouchers meant the student could transfer to any public school in the system that taught something an individual student wanted to know more than they could be taught at the school they were originally assigned to, it would be of advantage to the whole of the State and the Nation.
    When vouchers are used for purposes of segregation and privatization it is a corruption of the ideals of America, the Untied States.
    The more ignorant a human being is, the less they are a human being. The more educated a human being is, the more they are a human being.
    The issues of how Americans are educated are crucial. It is not work that sets you free, but education.
    Thanks,
    P.S. Gopsay stands for GOP/C.S.A. since the Republican party policies are what we expected of the C.S.A. When I was finishing the 8th grade and was supposed to continue my high school education I simply walked to the next school district’s last bus stop and went to the school in Burlington instead of the County school where went students who tormented me from the 2nd to 8th grade. I never asked permission of anyone. My Junior year in High School I was packed off to live with my Uncle’s family in Hyde Park Chicago. I went to Kenwood, which was considered a Slum school but was way superior to the NC high school in Greensboro NC where I went to the 10th and 12th grades. Much of my life has been spent overcoming Southern education and ideology. Over the past couple few years I have taken to calling North Carolina “Not Conscious”.

  14. S and P 500

    I’m really surprised that naked capitalism would run this article supporting teachers’ unions. This piece gets a lot of stuff wrong, but of course the public education union advocates will stick to their assertions that there is some kind of plot to starve public schools of funding. If you want to know why public schools are crumbling, look at a typical balance sheet of a broke school district. School District of Philadelphia has $2 billion in assets and $7 billion in debts and unfunded pension liabilities. The buildings are in need of $10 billion in repairs. Did that happen because of charters schools and vouchers? I doubt it. The Kochs actually opposed Common Core. Read “Fortune magazine, how business got schooled in Common Core.” And public schools better prepare for more budget cuts. Oakland, Pasadena, and Montebello in Calif recently saw huge cuts in their school districts. They won’t be the last.

  15. Heraclitus

    Let me begin by saying that our schools desegregated when I was in third grade. I am pro-desegregation. However, I have been skeptical for many years about the blithe assumption liberals make of the superiority of all white schools at the time of ‘Brown’. Why? Because the black teachers I knew when I was in grammar school, junior high, and high school, who had previously been teachers in the segregated school system, were as a rule very, very good. (I don’t doubt that the black schools were woefully underfunded).

    Also, the following notables, who grew up attending all black schools, also thought their teachers were excellent:

    Oscar Robertson, who attended all black schools until college, thought his teachers were fantastic. There was an interview with him on NPR about fifteen years ago in which he discussed this. Strangely, I can’t find it in their archives.

    Dorothy Counts, who desegregated Charlotte Mecklenburg (NC) schools as a fifteen year old said that their teachers in the segregated schools were wonderful, they just didn’t have the resources. Today Dorothy Counts is still a civil rights activist, and her observation is that both black and white parents, if they can afford it, send their kids to private schools.

    One of the other women who desegregated Charlotte schools said, ‘we were disappointed in the white students’. In other words, they thought the white students would be far ahead, but they weren’t.
    I think there is a presumption of white superiority built into liberals’ memories of the circumstances of desegregation.

    The Chetty study from 2015 found that desegregation had zero impact on economic mobility (this observation is made without fanfare in the middle of the study).

    Another point:

    Anyone who doesn’t think money is being made off the public school system is not paying attention. Superintendents make enormous salaries and bring entourages with them from job to job. They are like ‘the Music Man’ as they shuttle from one school district to another, playing on the parents’ hopes, as our media rants every day about failing schools and how today’s graduates lack necessary skills for employment. We should recognize that it’s possible to get rich off the system while working within the system.

    And who paid the Obamas a $65 million advance for their books? Pearson, the leading educational publisher.

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