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Democracy on the Run

March 8, 2013


The title of one of Diane Ravitch’s posts today is “Does Democracy Matter?”. The post, (which I cannot link to due to a glitch in WordPress), includes a link to a David Sirota article in Salon, describes how the Denver School Board’s privatization push is eroding democracy in that community. My short response to this is: democracy and capitalism aren’t compatible. My extended response, which I entered as a comment, follows:

I know from school board orientation sessions that folks who work in the corporate world are stunned when they find out that they need to face and answer to those who are affected by their decisions. When distant corporate HQs decided to close the mills in New England over the past several years they never asked the local government for permission…. but when corporate HQs wanted to build a new mill in a town they ALWAYS asked the local government for some kind of tax break. What we’re witnessing with the school privatization movement is a workaround. The privatizers know that if they pass enabling legislation at the state level or work “collaboratively” with mayors who appoint school boards they can circumvent the longstanding democratic local control of schools. In this way pro-privatizers who secure a majority on local school boards are empowered and close down “inefficient schools” the same way the CEOs in the private sector closed down “inefficient mills”… and instead of seeking tax breaks for their new schools, the privatizers seek waivers from existing regulations making it possible for them to operate schools at a lower cost. The entrepreneurs who are doing this make no apologies: they see it as the forces of “creative destruction” being brought to bear on the monopolistic government run schools.

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