Saturday, March 17, 2012

Charter Schools: The Great Scam of Our Time

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In this weeks episode of Education Radio we attempt to answer the question "why is it important to keep public education public, and what role do charter schools play in privatizing education?  Julie Cavanaugh, Lisa Donlan, Pauline Lipman, Brian Jones, William Watkins, Karen Lewis, and Kevin Kumashiro all help us to answer this question.

First we'll hear from Julie Cavanaugh, a special education teacher, activist, and filmmaker in Red Hook Brooklyn about her activism in the fight against charter schools. Julie, along with other members of the Grassroots Education Movement directed, wrote, and is featured in the documentary "The Inconvenient Truth Behind Waiting for Superman." Julie helps us understand the myths and realities about charter schools.

Parent, activist, and one of the other filmmakers, Lisa Donlan will than explain the role that money and profit play in the privatization of public schools.

Pauline Lipman
Later in the show, Pauline Lipman, professor, activist, and author of the book The New Political Economy of Urban Education: Neoliberalism, Race, and the Right to the City helps us to understand how discourses of blame, pathology and choice have been used to garner support for charter schools and further privatize public education.

Teacher, activist, and filmmaker Brian Jones then examines the intersections between racism, classism and the corporate education reform movement. 

William Watkins
Next, University of Illinois Chicago, Professor William Watkins answers our questions about the racism behind the education reform movement, the ways in which corporate education reformers appropriate the language of social justice, and how the education reform movement could lead to the dismantling of universal public education. Dr. Watkins is the editor of The Assault on Public Education, Confronting the Politics of Corporate School Reform.

Karen Lewis
Karen Lewis, current president of the Chicago Teachers Union and nationally board certified teacher, describes some of the troubling impacts of charter schools both in Chicago and across the country.

Kevin Kumashiro
Finally, we speak with Kevin Kumashiro, professor of Asian American Studies and Education at the University of Illinois Chicago and president elect of the National Association of Multicultural Education, about the potential for public education to be used as tool for resistance and liberation.

Dr. Kumashiro's latest book, Bad Teacher!: How Blaming Teachers Distorts the Bigger Picture, takes aim at the current discourse on education reform, paying particular attention to the ways that scapegoating public-school teachers, teachers unions, and teacher education masks the real, systemic problems.

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