According to some of the educational historians, the Educational Industrial
Complex (EIC) was created around the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. The
country was well entrenched with the Cold War against the Soviets. The
competition between the Soviets and the United States offered something
that our educational system needs to renew; a healthy competition of math
and science among our nation’s youth. The space program was spawned
out of the Military Industrial Complex. Unknowingly, politicians created a
across the country.
Behind this Goliath (EIC), the need to fund our neighborhood public
schools and Georgia Charter schools heats up. Among this debate lies the
true beneficiary, which is an institution that employs 25 million adults and
an overabundance of vendors that supports this “industry” in various ways
through taxation. Corporations like Person, Riverside Publishing, McGraw-
Hill, Edison Learning, and K-12.com are making huge profits from
contracting out their services to state and local education agencies to meet
the high testing and data reporting demands created by politicians.
Politicians are cashing in on their educratic inertia by padding their
campaigns by the “education” establishment.
It is clear there is more to this Georgia Charter debate than children and
parental choice. Politicians like Jan Jones, Georgia Speaker Pro Tem, tries
to convince stakeholders that there is nothing more local than parental
choice, which she feels the state is obligated to fulfill under the guise of an
overreaching precedent between elected bodies and an “industry” whose
hunger is out of control. The goal of American public education should be
the intrinsic motivation of the child while filling them with knowledge and
awakening their aptitude for competition. However, this is far from the truth
because the goal here is to break down local control and state budgets in
order to perpetuate this “industry” by reducing our citizenry to a level of
dissent and mediocrity by squelching creativity and originality.
Georgia will continue to plug holes in the budget and capitalize on the
handouts given by the federal government. These one time handouts will
cost states billions for years in unfunded mandates while funding this
pseudo-layer of government backed up by many authorizers such as the
State Board of Education, Bright from the Start, The Governor’s Office of
Student Achievement, and the Georgia Department of Labor. These
authorizers have big vendor contracts to fulfill by helping the politicians
they need in power.
This is why the Georgia Charter Amendment must pass. In order to receive
the NCLB waiver, Georgia has all but thrown Georgia’s children “under the
school bus” by adopting Common Core Standards and accepting millions if
Race to The Top (RTTT) funds from the Obama Administration. Promising
to kowtow to the Obama Education Department will not improve the
education system in our state and in our country. In 2009, President
Obama gave a speech to the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, saying that
states should eliminate all mandates on creating charter schools. I wonder
why he said that?
The reason is that Obama’s Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, told
states that he would withhold $5 billion dollars in discretionary spending if
states did not lift eliminate mandates for charter schools. Duncan
sweetened the pot for states with extra RTTT funds if they would create
“robust charter laws” for 40 extra points on their application for a waiver.
This is nothing more than blackmail and the commercialization of our public
schools at the hands of losing local control to the federal government.
Furthermore -- with all the cheating scandals in urban areas of Georgia,
this gives fodder for politicians to cash in and pad their political futures
under the next best thing, charters via school choice. With education, they
have taken over by trying to convince parents that our public schools are
horrible and charters can do better. Georgia is next and what will we do?
Will our legislators given in to the special interest groups and the educratic
organizations seeking to profit off of misinformed stakeholders?
Related: Co-Sponsor of Pro-Charter Constitutional Amendment Calls
Opponents Beholden to Special Interests While Receiving Thousands in
Contributions from Pro-Choice Interest Groups
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|The opinions expressed in this article reflect those of the author, and do not necessarily represent those of EmpowerED Georgia.
Jeremy Spencer has been teaching
biological sciences for 13 years in
Georgia. He currently the education
policy adviser for his elected state