With the same cynicism and ruthlessness that their beloved charter schools employ to toss out any students who threaten their sacred test scores, billionaires have instructed our elected officials in Albany to toss out the will of the people and the well being of the 94 percent of New York City public school students which threatens the ever increasing plutocratic dominance of education.
Many in Albany, none more than the almost supernaturally despicable Governor Andrew Cuomo, have proven themselves only too happy to serve as valets for the super rich and their representatives like education entrepreneur Eva Moskowitz. Who can forget Cuomo’s shameless appearance with Moskowitz and the hundreds of school children she bussed up to Albany to act as her living, breathing, human political pawns?
Other elected officials, no doubt mindful of the treatment Mayor Bill de Blasio has received over the last three weeks — and no doubt too, recipients of threats or promises from the same folk who insinuated Bill de Blasio, married to an African American, is somehow a racist — have responded to the plutocrat’s requests with a state budget agreement that is shocking — or should be shocking — in its naked pandering to a handful of billionaires and their extraordinary demands for charter schools and casual contempt for New York city public schools.
For the past three weeks New Yorkers experienced an extremely concentrated version of the highly skilled propaganda campaign that the deformers have been poisoning the entire nation with for over a decade now. Editorials lamented the “war on charters.” TV talking heads nodded sympathetically with the suddenly omnipresent Moskowitz, never questioning a single claim the woman made, no matter how preposterous or false. The airwaves were filled with no less than $3.6 million worth of super slick tear jerking commercials showing the beautiful young faces of school children (again using children as political pawns) being somehow deprived of an education by the evil monster named Bill de Blasio.
What has transpired in the past month is as disgusting as it is disturbing and would not survive in a vibrant and healthy democracy. In a sick and dying democracy, such as we are now experiencing, such stuff has simply become the way the zero sum game is played. And it has done so with astonishing speed. We have become, a government of the super rich, by the super rich and for the super rich. The state budget agreement is simply the most recent example. And we have, by and by, acquiesced, if only by default. We are as a people, as a nation, wholly ill-equipped to deal with such a rapacious class of predators, the desire of whom is nothing short of the wholesale privatization of the entire public school system with themselves – hedge fund mangers, financiers, and Wall Street tycoons — at the helm, insuring the vast publicly funded revenue stream is diverted into their coffers.
In the meantime, they are celebrated as heros when not out right saviors. It is they, billionaires and entrepreneurs, who care about educating the poor and the marginalized, not the teachers who have dedicated their lives to this noble and difficult endeavor.
This is beyond dangerous. This is beyond cynical. It is a ticking time bomb. No nation can survive this kind of insanity for long.
I fear for my daughter in a world usurped and ruled by such people. I fear for all our children. And I don’t really know what to do about it. And I don’t know anyone who does.
But we must do something.
An earlier version of this article appeared at the Raginghorseblog.