Expel this guy!

Jose G. Perez jgperez at netzero.net
Tue Jul 9 11:58:01 MDT 2002

>> I have been involved in it for about six
years here in Detroit. We've lost the right to vote for a school board.
Teachers' strikes are illegal (but, yes, they happen anyway). The schools
serve kids spoiled food for lunch (another "benefit" of school
privatization). The kids have no rights and no way out.<<

>>Vouchers and private schools are not an option for working class parents
several reasons: the vouchers don't cover enough tuition; the level of
education is many times sub-standard; religious conflicts; transportation
issues; commercialism; etc.<<


    It would be useful and advance the discussion if you would write up some
of these experiences and the lessons you draw from them.

    Your statement "The kids have no rights and no way out" is precisely
what I think has been behind the sentiment for vouchers in Black and
Hispanic communities. Bourgeois politicians manipulate these sentiments and
put forward proposals which are consciously designed and meant to do two
things: pit working people against each other and privatise education which
for them means overwhelmingly to privatize the *cost* of educating children.

    But that does not mean AT ALL this is what Black and Hispanic parents
who are "for vouchers" mean when they say that. They mean THEY should
determine what school their child goes to and THE GOVERNMENT should pay.

    Saying we should fight to fix the inner-city public schools today simply
rings false to many working people. And there is an underlying reality for
this: the schools are not failing, they are doing precisely what they are
supposed to be doing. The *same* local ruling class that runs the "failing"
inner city schools ALSO runs the "outstanding" suburban school systems. They
are not incompetent; they know what they are doing.

        I think at bottom what is involved in the sentiment in Black and
Hispanic communities for vouchers is the same push for quality and equality
in education that was involved in the struggles for school desegregation and
community control in the 1960s and 1970s.

    We need to be sensitive and attentive to the forms in which such
sentiments find expression and the movements they engender. The Supreme
Court decision, I suspect, will give new impetus to calls for school
vouchers/school choice type plans. Whether the miserly and divisive voucher
programs being pushed by the likes of Jeb Bush have soured the Black and
Hispanic community on the idea of vouchers I do not know.

    At the time I first raised this issue on this list in mid-1999, it was
clear that sentiment for vouchers had grown great in minority communities
over the previous years,  but actual experience with what the bourgeoisie
means by "vouchers" and "school choice" was then very limited.


PS: On your dispute with Louis re. flaming me as a p-b and so on, he really
means it. He kicked me off list once for some intemperate thing I said (and
then a second time I unsubbed after sending a post that was pretty much pure
napalm, realizing he'd have no choice but to let me have it with both
barrels of his moderator's shotgun).

But, on calm reflection, I think Louis is right, even leaving aside the
issue of class characterizations in political debates in general. There is a
tendency in online posts to get really carried away with excchanges of
extreme statements that poison the atmosphere of the forum and are
especially intimidating to new people (as well as some old ones).

Me, I don't take any of that kind of stuff personally, which Louis knows,
he's not trying to protect my virgin ears from some characterization hurled
in my direction that I haven't heard before. Just consider it a limitation
or peculiarity of this medium, which is much more intimate and personal, in
a way, than, say articles in a discussion bulletin or in the press.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Martin Schreader" <mschreader at npns.org>
To: <marxism at lists.panix.com>
Sent: Monday, July 08, 2002 10:52 AM
Subject: Re: Expel this guy!

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