Tuesday, September 6, 2016

CURMUDGUCATION: Chester Finn, the Death of Democracy, and Opposites Day

CURMUDGUCATION: Chester Finn, the Death of Democracy, and Opposites Day:

Chester Finn, the Death of Democracy, and Opposites Day

So today, conservatives hate tradition, and democracy is increased by taking away the vote.

Behind the paywall at Wall Street Journal, Chester Finn (honcho emeritus of the Thomas Fordham Institute), Bruno v. Manno (Walton Foundation), and Brandon Wright (Fordham) are happy to announce the death of one more piece of democracy in this country.

The trio reports that charter schools are spearheading a "quiet revolution" in local control. Because,like Reed Hastings (Netflix), they are happy to see the local elected school board die.

Oh, the elected school board was fine back in the day. "This setup functioned well for an agrarian and small-town society in which people spent their entire lives in one place, towns paid for their own schools, and those schools met most of the workforce needs of the local community." But this set-up does not work for a "country of mobile and cosmopolitan citizens." Not with money coming from the state and feds, and not when "discontent with educational outcomes is rampant." What does that mean? Where is the evidence? What do you mean?! Didn't you hear him? The discontent is rampant! Rampant, I tell you!

Also, they want you to know that some school districts are really, really big. So big that elected boards are no longer "public spirited civic leaders" but are now a "gaggle of aspiring politicians and teacher-union surrogates." Because gaggles of aspiring politicians are far worse than gaggles of aspiring financial masters of the universe. Hedge fund managers are known for their altruism (remember how altruistic Wall Street was back in 2008). Not that these guys are going to mention that the folks behind the great charter revolution are mostly hedge funders and money changers.

So, on opposites day, conservatives like Finn, Manno and Wright are opposed to one of the oldest democratic traditions in this country. But wait-- the bulletins from Bizzaro World are still coming in.

Yet far from undermining local democratic control, these new schools are reinventing it...

>Well, yes. Kind of like Jim Crow laws tried to reinvent freedom for black folks.

>Because these boards function more like nonprofit organizations than political bodies or public agencies, their members need not stand for election. Being generally union-free, they don’t have the headaches of collective bargaining.

"Function like nonprofit organizations" is weasel wording of the highest order. I live in the shadow of UPMC, a nonprofit healthcare giant that turns huge profits and employs some of the highest paid executives and board members around. We need to get past the notion that nonprofits can't be as  
CURMUDGUCATION: Chester Finn, the Death of Democracy, and Opposites Day:

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