Education: Separate and Unequal
Efforts to privatize all things public in the United States rely on a relentless refrain: “Nobody does it better than the private sector.” Yet evidence to the contrary appears in the news daily, be it about the privatization of prisons, elections, highways, or wars. The privatization of public education system is seen as a potential bonanza for corporations. Not surprisingly, we hear: if only government, teachers, and their unions would get out of the way, test scores would go up and the U.S. would not be 23rd in science and 17th in literacy. Accompanying the ideological assault are the budget cuts. Public schools are being starved for funds. Teachers are laid off. Those still with jobs are asked to teach more classes with more students. Meanwhile does anyone know the cost of the 505 now abandoned bases the Pentagon built in Iraq?
Brian Jones is a public school teacher in New York. He is also an actor and activist. He co-narrated the film, The Inconvenient Truth Behind Waiting for Superman and contributed to the book, Education and Capitalism: Struggles for Learning and Liberation. For more than a decade he has been performing to great acclaim Howard Zinn’s one-man play Marx in Soho.
Paulette Frederick –
Brian Jones should be canonized the Patron Saint of Public Education. His clearly thought out analysis of the degradation of the great American school system puts in concise, determined and beautiful language, many of the same conclusions that I have come to after having spent 33 years as an activist public school teacher.
His engaging and wide encompassing speech, Education: Separate and Unequal, brought me to cheers and tears and renewed my resolve to do something about the mess in which we find our public schools.
Mr. Jones possesses a particular genius for exposing the push toward the ‘privatization of everything’ that is rapidly seeping into the public education sector. He explains, with sharp instincts, how it is all connected with taking power from the people and giving huge profits to the corporate masters. He melds these perceptions together with his observations of how disguised racist and class warfare policies diabolically pervert the authentic model and purpose of public education.
Allow me to take this opportunity to suggest that interested readers pick up a copy of THE DEATH AND LIFE OF THE GREAT AMERICAN SCHOOL SYSTEM by Diane Ravitch. If you appreciate Brian Jones, you’ll surely appreciate Diane Ravitch.
From now on when I am asked with whom I would most like to have dinner, with no hesitation, my answer will be threefold: “Brian Jones, Diane Ravitch and Cornel West.”