Thursday, August 4, 2011

LFT leader exposes corporate agenda for education

A corporate funded organization that writes model legislation for state lawmakers was exposed for its anti-public education, anti worker and anti-democratic agenda at a press conference in New Orleans Wednesday. LFT Vice President Jim Randels, who is a member of the United Teachers of New Orleans, was one of the speakers at the press conference.

Randels was joined by Orleans Parish School Board member Brett Bonin and several others, each of whom brought to light a part of the agenda espoused by the American Legislative Exchange Council, which is holding its national convention in New Orleans this week. Bonin, along with LFT and others, is a member of the Coalition for Louisiana Public education.

One of ALEC's stated legislative priorities is to privatize public education, making education a profit center rather than a public good. That, Randels noted, "is dangerous to the American way and to the education of our children."

“The ALEC way turns parents into consumers shopping for schools rather than citizens building high quality public schools,” Randels said. “ALEC’s privatization, profit model wants parents to be consumers. But America needs parents to be citizens.”

“Education policy must be based on best practices and what is in the best interests of children not a profit driven corporation and a legislator meeting in secret,” Randels said.

The profit motive behind ALEC’s agenda for public education thwarts the ideals of public education and democracy, Randels said.

“In ALEC world, schools would become private entities funded by public money. As a taxpayer, I would have no voice in the way public schools are run. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to return to an era of taxation without representation.

“We should be working together to do away with separate and unequal schools, to ensure that taxation without representation does not return, to nurture citizens rather than create consumers, to work for the public good rather than for private profit,” Randels concluded.

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