The Law That Promotes Punishment (Instead of Education)
[col. writ. 10/21/07]
(c) '07 Mumia Abu-Jamal
It's been 5 years since the No Child Left Behind law was put into place, and around the nation, it has left wreckage in its wake.
That's because, like many such laws pushed by the paranoid right wind, what a law is called has little (or nothing) to do with what a law does.
While the imagery of a catchy title might've helped in it's selling, the lesser known side of the law is now about to kick in -- and it threatens to transform public schools into private businesses, transfer them into charter schools, allow state takeovers -- or close them.
This law is of a piece from the right's central array of evils -- an attack on the very idea of public education, and a fixation with privatizing everything.
Who will suffer more from these transformations? School staffs, or children?
For No Child Left Behind was but another example of business uber alles, and the poor be damned.
Can the same states that made boot camps into squalid hellholes of torture for children, somehow make schools pristine halls of learning? Indeed, in many states, the 'business' of boot camping children has been tried, and while it has made money, it has been the epicenter of abuse, mistreatment, and actually, state-subsidized child abuse.
So much for the business model.
Uneducated, left to the tender mercies of the streets, to stew in a hopeless funk, or to feed the cavernous maw of prison...how left behind can you get?
According to a recent report in the New York Times, Florida faces the closing of 441 schools; Baltimore has 9 schools on the failure list; in New York State, 77 schools face so-called restructuring; and in California, over 1,000 schools have been designated chronic failures.*