By Morna McDermott McNulty, an administrator of United Opt Out National
1) Manufacture a crisis and instill public fear. Waiting for Superman.
2) Create a rallying cry for the need for ACTION to save citizens from some danger – which involves eliminating those posing a threat. In this case, public educators. Bring in your own “private” troops (Blackwater? No. Teach for America and people trained at new “innovative leadership centers”)
3) Create a system which becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. High stakes testing policies which will doom schools and children to failure. A convenient way to “prove” the grounds for #’s 1 and 2.
4) Use of “savior” language – sound bite messages which co opt terms which average people identify as favorable such as “innovation,” “reform,” and “choice.”
5) Deflect the FACTS with spectacular dog and pony show media blasts and hide the truth under glossy presentations of the agenda. Disguise this ideology of greed under the umbrella of “freedom” and “saving children.”
6) Create legislation that politically and financially benefits the stakeholders of those same policies by forging under the table alliances between big business and state legislators. See ALEC.
7) Launder these policies through seemingly beneficial non-profit agencies and corporate
philanthropy where the origins cannot be traced easily.
8) These same corporations now open for profit charter schools and online schools and other “options” in lieu of “failing public education.” When children attend these “schools” the per pupil funding that would have gone to support the local public schools is now funneled into the new for profit alternative.
9) Make inside deals with the textbook and testing companies that these schools will use. Billions of dollars of profits to these companies while public schools languish from lack of resources. Mandated testing forces schools to redirect monies to testing that could have otherwise been spent hiring teachers to reduce class size or provide needed learning materials.
10) Hide and twist the data that shows that charter alternatives perform NO BETTER than their public counterparts (see step 5).
11) Manipulate legislation in ways that benefit “choice” alternatives so that certain populations of students who would make their schools “look bad” can be denied access to those schools and can be provided with ample resources that could have also improved public schools if only THEY had they funds.
12) Public schools, as result of steps 1-10, would now in fact be failing and as a result, the free market ideology prevails and can feel justified in their actions. The cycle back to step #1 is now complete. Public education now becomes education Incorporated.