Center for a Stateless Society » If You Call It “School Choice,” You’ll Go to Hell (2 Articles)


…So there you have it, folks. That’s how the “school choice” sausage gets made. The main forces behind it are corporate lobbyists and their pet “nonprofit” foundations working to impose their agendas through government with the help of their special insider access, and to line their pockets from the public treasury. They achieve success mainly in areas where elected governments have been suspended and replaced with appointed dictatorships that share their agenda. And for all their rhetoric of “empowerment” and “choice,” they do everything in their power to keep the public out of the policy process and minimize public scrutiny. To borrow a phrase from Jesus, they do evil and hate the light. I don’t know what branding genius came up with the term “school choice” for this authoritarian railroad job. Probably the same one who coined “sharing economy” for corporate platforms like Uber. They’re certainly going to the same place in hell.

Face it, Mr and Ms America, you have, in reality, only two choices: 1) Continue to be a card carrying member of the blind and ignorant herd, and support this government’s crimes against humanity, or 2) As best you can, seek to withdraw from this nightmarish government and pursue a life worth living:

I) If You Call It “School Choice,” You’ll Go to Hell

Kevin Carson | @KevinCarson1

Right-libertarian shills for school charterization like to use the euphemism “school choice,” which is about as misleading as referring to proprietary walled garden platforms like Uber as the “sharing economy.” The charter school movement’s inroads occur, almost without exception, in places where choice has been suppressed by the state. The Charter Mafia hates choice. Charterization, where it occurs, is imposed by a process about as free and democratic as the National Party coup that established Apartheid in South Africa.

Charterization is just another example of the kind of corporate “privatization” that is advocated by right-libertarians, in which public assets created at taxpayer or ratepayer expense are enclosed by politically connected private actors. Such enclosure, of land and of everything else, has been with us since the beginning of ruling classes and states. Such enclosures, and the battles against them, were described in Livy’s history of the Roman Republic, where commonly owned public lands were enclosed by the patrician landed oligarchy.

We find the model of “privatizing” taxpayer-created assets and services — i.e. selling or contracting them out to corporations — almost exclusively in places characterized by what Naomi Klein calls “Disaster Capitalism,” where some extraordinary circumstance has given the capitalist state unaccountable authority to transfer public assets to its private sector cronies. Hence the mass “privatization” (a.k.a. looting) in Chile after the Pinochet coup, in Russia after Yeltsin’s seizure of power and forcible suppression of the Duma, in Iraq under the “Coalition Provisional Authority” puppet government installed by the United States, and in the Michigan municipalities placed under the dictatorial authority of state-appointed “Emergency Managers.”

In the United States, similarly, we see large-scale charterization in places like New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, where government seized emergency powers and a major part of the black population was in exile far from home. We see it in places like Detroit under the above-mentioned emergency managers, and Chicago under the corrupt and authoritarian administration of Rahm Emanuel. And we see it in my home state of Arkansas, where the largely black Little Rock school district was taken over two years ago by the state, which has taken advantage of the suspension of local control to push charterization in cahoots with private interests like the Walton Family Foundation.

To add insult to injury, the Charter Mafia are (having removed the school district from local control) attempting to bully the people of Little Rock into approving a property tax millage increase for the school district which is now completely unaccountable to them, so its charter-happy absentee management can promote their agenda. A vote on the $600 million tax increase is scheduled for May 9. (“Stockholm syndrome, a tax dodge and empty promise in Little Rock school tax election,” Arkansas Times: Arkansas Blog, April 11).

Advocates for the tax increase are actually using the issue of local control to blackmail voters into approving it. Bobby Roberts, a leading spokesman for the tax campaign, warned: “If the citizens of Little Rock cannot pass this, if I were [Arkansas Education] Commissioner Johnny Key or I were the governor I would say, ‘I am in no hurry to turn this school district back over to an elected school board because there is no support in the community for it.’” Sound familiar? “I have changed the terms. Pray I do not change them even more.” But as fond as the Charter Mafia is of using the stick, it has little interest in offering a carrot. The state has responded with stony silence to requests to reassure voters with a concrete date for the return of local control.

But their bullying has been met with resistance. Senator Joyce Elliot and former School Board member Jim Ross have announced their opposition to the millage increase. And among the local public, suspicions run high of Education Commissioner Johnny Key — the sole authority over the Little Rock school district — and his pro-charterization agenda. It’s also widely suspected that the “majority black school board control fed the Chamber of Commerce-led campaign to abolish the board” in the first place (“Governor kills bid for local control of Little Rock Schools,” Arkansas Times: Arkansas Blog, April 5).

Key himself hasn’t done anything to assuage voter concerns. Besides his refusal, along with the governor, to offer any hope for a return to public control, Key has steadfastly refused to attend public meetings with local residents and parents. He has not faced public scrutiny in any way. (“School activist says no to LR tax; backers hope for low black voter turnout,” Arkansas Times: Arkansas Blog, April 9).

And finally, the white business establishment that promoted the state takeover also promotes charterization. It is promoting the millage increase: plotting to win on the issue by scheduling the property tax vote for a special election rather than as part of the general election ballot, so as to suppress black voter turnout.

{Sojourner note: for those people of color who accuse/condemn every white man, woman and child of being “privileged” and born “racist/bigoted”, the preceding paragraph distinctly points out which white people you should be singling out for your “privileged” narrative/condemnation. It is the corporate/business types, who benefit from this capitalist system from hell the most, and their wanabe-rich supporters, whom you should be aiming your “hate whitey” venom at, not common white people (like me) who are no more politically powerful, or well off, than you! Choose your enemies wisely, not irrationally and in a hateful racist manner directed at all Caucasians!}

The tax increase, according to the ballot measure, will be for the general purpose of capital or technological improvements, with no specific allocations that the district can be pinned down on and held to after approval. And any surplus may be spent for “other school purposes.”

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Source: Center for a Stateless Society » If You Call It “School Choice,” You’ll Go to Hell


II) How Compulsory Education Encourages Bullying and Suicide

Vishal Wilde

Whether it be in school or adulthood, bullying and suicide remain tragic facts of life. However, one aspect of the discussion around these issues is often glossed over; compulsory education can exacerbate suicide risk and make children more inclined to be both bullies and the victims of bullying. This increased risk of bullying can also amplify the likelihood of children committing suicide. Throughout history, education systems have sought to impose hierarchies, maintain power structures, enforce norms, and reinforce behavioural expectations. The contemporary education system is no different. Bullying and suicide risk in compulsory education can be examined in this context.

Compulsory Education, Bullying and Being Bullied

In 2010, Peter Gray wrote an article entitled “School Bullying: A Tragic Cost of Undemocratic Schools”. In the article, he makes the reader imagine what it is like to be a contemporary victim of bullying. As you are constantly victimized – both verbally and physically abused – your life made a living hell and amidst the perpetual misery, you find that your bullies are “the popular kids”: not only with other students but with adults, teachers and administrators. He states that, in this situation, “the law requires that you attend school, regardless of how you feel about it and how you are treated. You are not one of the privileged minority whose parents have the means to send them to a private alternative school or to convince the school board that they can educate them adequately at home. You have no choice.”

Gray, a Research Professor at Boston College, explores the root cause of school bullying and suggests that “bullying occurs regularly when people have no political power and are ruled in a top-down fashion by others are required by law or economic necessity to remain in that setting. It occurs regularly, for example, in prisons.” Clearly, compulsory schooling and education make the effects of bullying far worse than they might otherwise be.

Of course, the biggest victim of bullying is the person who is being bullied: but one must also consider what drives a bully to act in this way. Like their victim, they are forced to be in such an environment. Remember that we do not know the bully’s background – they may come from an abusive home, a very pressured environment, or a similarly bad situation. The fact that they are forced to perform and/or are already facing mental anguish when the school environment is imposed upon them could exacerbate their lashing out against others in ways they may not otherwise have done. To draw an analogy, animal-abusers who conduct dog fighting would struggle to see blood drawn with friendly animals who have not been previously traumatized with constant fighting themselves. Those who organize dog fights know that when individuals have been repeatedly traumatised, brutalized and know how to fight better than they know how to love, they will enter conflict when thrown into the ring together.

Essentially, we are asking for trouble when we impose and enforce compulsory education. A time will come when educators, administrators, lawmakers, and society at large will realize that there is metaphorical (and literal) blood on their hands.

Compulsory Education and Suicide Risk

Björkenstam et al. (2010) investigated the link between school grades and suicide – they found that “the incidence rate ratio (IRR) for suicide for students with the lowest grades was 4.57 (95% CI 2.82 to 7.40) for men and 2.67 (1.42 to 5.01) for women compared to those with highest grades after adjustment for a number of sociodemographic and parental morbidity variables, such as year of graduation, parental education, lone parenthood, household receiving social welfare or disability pension, place of schooling, adoption, maternal age and parent’s mental illness.”

The authors suggested that “the strong association between low school grades and suicide in youth and young adulthood emphasizes the importance of both primary and secondary intervention in schools.” However, before the authors jump to the conclusion that the problem must be solved within schools, perhaps they should consider that the problem could be that children are in schools!

Causality is always hard to prove. But no matter how you interpret this “strong association”, school environments seem to be fertile environments for fostering extreme misery for many. The prevailing, dominant socioeconomic and political institutions are determined to institute ‘artificial selection’ […] – in many ways, therefore, compulsory education is a form of ‘eugenics’.

The focus on ‘grades’ (academic performance) and other forms of ‘achievement’ such as ‘sports’, ‘social popularity’, etc. may seem well-intentioned, but these metrics are essentially means of comparison and ways of propping up hierarchies, power structures, and expectations that persist long after the end of the compulsory schooling periods. This reinforcement serves to prop up the institutional, artificial system of selection that necessarily heightens suicide risk: especially amongst individuals who do not fit the expectations of the prevailing powers that be.

Compounded by the fact that compulsory schooling creates pressured environments that exacerbate bullying and misery, it is clear to see why suicide risk can be heightened if people’s’ self-worth and faith in humanity is drained so early in life.

How the Misery of Compulsory Schooling Affects Wider Society

The misery arising from the power structures, social dynamics, expectations, norms, behaviours etc. entrenched in compulsory schooling persists long after people supposedly leave the intellectual, physical and social shackles of schooling. We feel these power dynamics in the workplace, when waiting in line for various services, when dealing with others in the marketplace, and in many other such instances. Some bullies may reform but many persist in their behaviours because they feel that this is the way to “stay on top” throughout their lives. Some victims (and many of those who are scared of becoming victims) may adopt the mentality of “if you can’t beat them, join them” due to the barbaric form of artificial selection that society has imposed upon children. Finally, the suicide risk linked with relatively low “performance” continues after schooling as factors such as unemployment, low income, broken relationships and so on reduce individual wellbeing and increase suicide risk.

Concluding Remarks

Anyone who is serious about tackling the impulse to coerce, intimidate, and bully – which prevails throughout society– must seriously examine the role that compulsory education plays in perpetuating it. Furthermore, anyone who is looking to lower suicide risk should place a renewed emphasis on tackling the coercive nature of education systems.

Source: Center for a Stateless Society » How Compulsory Education Encourages Bullying and Suicide


2 thoughts on “Center for a Stateless Society » If You Call It “School Choice,” You’ll Go to Hell (2 Articles)

  1. “You’ll go to hell?” Tubularsock thought we were already THERE!
    In fact, as all this fan starts hitting the shit maybe Hell would be the preferred state of being.

    It’s warm and you get three squares a day!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sorta like prison, right, Tube?

    I agree, in fact, as things stand now, I will take annihilation or hell, if I have to spend all of eternity with these same assholes!


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