John Thompson: When the Choice Roadshow Came to Oklahoma, Led by Dr. Perry
John Thompson is a historian and teacher in Oklahoma:
Oklahoma School Choice Week: The “Red Pill” Targets a Red State
The OK School Choice Summit featured Sen. Mark Loveless who, in part, promotes charters and vouchers as a means of spreading chaos in public school systems. His donor, Betsy DeVos’ the American Federation for Children, was also well represented. DeVos sees school choice as a path to “greater Kingdom gain.”
There had been about 20 anti-corporate reform protesters at the summit, so even though I had registered for the event, I was apparently supposed to be denied entry. By the time I arrived, the police outnumbered the protesters. As some protesters chatted amiably with the summit volunteers, I schmoozed with some pro-reform political leaders who let me walk in with them.
At the time, I didn’t realize that we who opposed the expansion of charters and vouchers could not be tolerated because we had supposedly swallowed the “blue pill,” and that made us irredeemable.
Ordinarily I get along with conservative Christians by not questioning the religious beliefs of people who support people like DeVos, who see charters and vouchers as a means to “advance God’s Kingdom.” That is one reason why I was completely unprepared for what I’d see when Dr. Steve Perry gave the summit’s keynote address.
Okay, I know I’ve failed to fully grapple with the hate that drives many corporate reform supporters, as well as Trumpism as a whole. I assumed that the summit organizers probably knew how Perry became famous by condemning unions as “cockroaches.” But, surely the audience wasn’t conversant with the research of former Connecticut Deputy House Majority Leader, Jonathan Pelto, and they didn’t know that Perry’s charter school would sentence “even the youngest students in the building, to sit at the cafeteria’s ‘Table of Shame.’”
I’ve long known a lot of the charter supporters in the audience, and I didn’t think they would approve of his desire to: