Ronald Reagan's legacy of privatization and corporatization, along with his coining of "welfare queen" to describe the mythical inner-city person who squanders public funds for private purposes, is again alive and well. "Public Teachers: America's New 'Welfare Queens'" (http:// www.truth-out.org, March 6, 2011) says, "Much like the 'welfare queen,' the 'bad teacher' and the 'public employee' are convenient scapegoats at which we direct our current economic rage."
The state of Michigan has ordered Detroit to close half of its public schools by 2013 and increase class size in high schools to more than 60 students. The state claims the moves are needed to eliminate a $327 million deficit. In related news, Detroit has announced its plans to privatize maintenance services at the schools by hiring the company Sodexo (Democracy Now, February 22, 2011).
For a lengthy analysis of why education is not the cure for unemployment and income inequality, see EPI Briefing Paper, http://epi.3cdn/net/67ee506f2 0f88fSeeT_lTm6ii9g8.pdf, January 12, 2011.
The total student loan debt of $830 billion now exceeds the total U.S. credit card debt of $827 billion. Statistics covering up to 2008 show that debt was held by 62% of students from public universities, 72% from private nonprofit schools, and 96% from private for-profit schools. "A Primer on the Student Loan Debt Bubble" (Common Dreams, January 11, 2011) explains the connection between the growth of the for-profit educational institutions and the current crisis in public higher education.
A posting on www.care2.com of April 13, 2011 cites a recent study by the conservative...