"You will not be able to plug in, turn on and cop out.
You will not be able to skip out for beer during commercials,
Because the revolution will not be televised. . . .
The revolution will be live."
--From the 1970 hit song by Gil Scott-Heron
Last week, the city of Philadelphia's school system announced that it expects to close 40 public schools next year, and 64 schools by 2017. The school district expects to lose 40% of its current enrollment, and thousands of experienced, qualified teachers.
But corporate media in
other cities made no mention of these massive school closings -- nor of
those in Chicago, Atlanta, or New York City. Even in the Philadelphia media,
the voices of the parents, students and teachers who will suffer were omitted
from most accounts.
It's all about balancing
the budgets of cities that have lost revenues from the economic
downturn. Supposedly, there is simply no money for the luxury of providing
an education for the people.
Where will those
children find an education? Where will the teachers find work? Almost certainly in an explosion of
private sector "charter schools," where the quality of education -- from
the curriculum to books to the food served at lunch -- will be sacrificed to
the lowest bidder, and teachers' salaries and benefits will be sacrificed to
the profits of the new private owners, who will also eat up many millions
of dollars of taxpayer subsidies.
Why does there always
seem to be enough money for military expansion, prisons, bank bailouts and tax
cuts for the wealthy, but not enough for education--or for jobs, housing,
healthcare, or old age pensions? These
are not "welfare" but are part of the social contract for which we pay taxes
and make social security payments.