Tuesday, February 16, 2016

I Don't Hate Hillary, But...

I don't hate Hillary Clinton.

I don't think that she should be convicted of treason. I don't think her email handling represents an unprecedented breach of, well, anything. I don't think that she has a trail of misbehavior and ethical violations behind her any wider or deeper than the average political animal, and I believe that were she male, she would induce far less rage and indignation. And I think there are plenty of folks on the right who have developed a derangement when it comes to HRC that is unhealthy for both the country and for them.

Nevertheless, I am unlikely to vote for her.

I remain convinced that Clinton would be terrible for public education. Terrible. As in, it wouldn't be any worse if we elected Jeb! Bush. The signs are constant and clear.

Here it is again in yesterday's Independent. Covering Chelsea's appearance in Cleveland, the site noted her objection to Sanders' desire to roll back our world-topping incarceration rate, and that included the Clintonian alternative theory of how to fix things:

Senator Sanders proposes abolishing prisons for profit, which have an incentive to lock up more people, to legalize marijuana, and to eliminate “mandatory minimums” for drug-related crimes which result in sentencing disparities between black and white people.

But Ms Clinton's daughter argued that reform needs to come in the shape of education and the promise of jobs, citing her mother’s “cradle to education and cradle to jobs pipeline” policy for historically disenfranchised communities like inner cities and rural areas.

Clinton is still fond of the cradle-to-career pipeline concept, a love affair some folks like to date back to the infamous "Dear Hillary" letter from Marc Tucker. That letter lays out how education could be used to gather data, both sorting children out and directing them to a proper spot in society. After almost twenty-five years, this is still a reformster dream-- collect data as we move students through a standardized "education" program that prepares students for their proper place in society.

Right-tilted wingnuts see the spectre of socialism lurking in this sort of plan, a giant centralized government big brothering its big fat nose into every aspect of society. These folks are a century behind. When Big Brother arrives, he will not be the public face of an evil totalitarian government; he will be a fully owned subsidiary of corporate interests.

The cradle-to-career pipeline will be a complicated piece of machinery, and every single knob and valve will be owned by somebody intent on profiting from it. I don't even know what we call this concept of socialism driven by free market profit motives. But I do know that it will have neither high quality education nor the interests of students on its mind.

Dismantle public education and sell off the parts. Turn teachers into content delivery specialists. Let a million charter school bloom. Impose one-size-fits-all standards that will open the market on a larger scale. Reduce educational outputs to simply measured deliverables. Collect a ton of data and use that to select peoples' fates. Contract every single step of the process out to corporate interests, including writing the rules for how all this will be set up and evaluated.

The GOP candidates are all okay with this, think it sounds just fine. Hillary is perfectly okay with this as well, and as a bonus, it's also her answer for addressing poverty-- once we get corporate school reform in place, we'll be able to make every poor person employable, aka useful to a corporation, and that will fix it all-- poverty, prisons, the works.

How the major teachers' unions ever decided to support someone whose dream for teachers is that they be reduced to easily-replaced, low-paid McTeachers is beyond me.

Clinton has benefited from the emergence of the batshit crazy wing of the GOP (though I have still not ruled out my theory that Trump is just trolling the GOP in an elaborate scam to hand Clinton, once one of his fave pols, the election). But compared to the "serious" GOP candidates, she is just as corporate, just as tied to big money, just as willing to trash public education.

She has yet to say anything that contradicts any of this. She has yet to name one thing wrong with the education policies of Obama-Duncan, or George W. Bush. She ha yet to distance herself in any meaningful way from the policies that have been beating the crap out of public education for over a decade. And at the same time, she is tied to the privatizers, the profiteers, and the reformy policy makers who love reform, groups like the Center for American Progress, which has advocated tirelessly for reformster ideas and which was founded and run by John Podesta, the man now running Clinton's campaign.

Yes, it's a depressing time to be a teacher and voter. Bernie Sanders hasn't had all that much to say about education, and supporters mostly have to fill in the blanks-- it doesn't seem as if his strong stance against the big money running politics would be consistent with reformster policy driven by the same big money.

I don't hate Hillary. I don't think she's an evil witch. As her campaign resorts to more and more of the standard stupid, underhanded political tricks like push polls and crappy attacks, I don't so much smell brimstone as I detect the air of flop sweat.

But in terms of policy and political ties, I believe she is no friend of public education. In this she is much in step with the Democratic Party, which has decided that teachers and public education can be thrown under the bus. Trump and Cruz have had their own bad effect on the Democratic Party, which can now lean more easily into its slogan-- "Democrats! At least we're not quite as bad as those other guys!"

I wasn't feeling Clinton back when this campaign cycle started (what-- six, seven years ago?) and I haven't heard anything in the time since to make me warm up to her. Particularly not when Sanders is out there. Clinton does not have my vote-- not for the primary, and, should she pull off the upset of winning the nomination, probably not in the general election, either. I am not a single issue voter, but I am also bone tired of giving my support to politicians who turn around and attack me. I don't hate anybody, but I do hate repeatedly volunteering to be punched in the face.


  1. My other problem with Hillary is her regime-change, war-mongering, neocon foreign policy. I can't vote for someone like that. And again, it's not totally clear what Sanders would do in this realm either, but all indications are that at least he's not into foreign incursions and regime change.

  2. Hidden in plain sight is the close relationship of the Clintons with Eli Broad and his privatization agenda. http://goo.gl/PMnzFw

  3. We are not even being relegated to content deliverers. We are told that content doesn't matter, as long as students have "college and career ready" skills devoid of content and context.

  4. The US government is in the business of assessing and measuring. Anyone who works for an NGO or a major contractor spends insane amounts of time evaluating and being evaluated. Educators are not alone in their lament. This evaluation mania is the way government claims it can be fair to everyone. Having worked for an education based NGO in Eastern Europe and with the US State Department, I witnessed how arbitrary the evaluation based decisions can be.

    The bureaucratic machine isn't even sputtering. It has conked out, and it will take courage, brains, and widespread buy-in to fix it. As long as Bill Gates and his ilk are involved, we will continue on this trajectory of treating people as collections of data points. This is frightening.

    This country lives and breathes ideology. Unfortunately, the pop tunes of ideology which have become earworms for most people don't come close to addressing the core needs of public education. (We need to give new meaning to the term Common Core....and it would not be content, test or data based but rather humane based.) I am sorry to say it but I am not optimistic. Change requires consensus and very few people are on the same page these days...even when they think they are. Time reveals that they are not.

    Meanwhile, children are growing into adults and are shaped by this contentious and crisis-based context. And these once young children, now young adults....they vote.

    Considering the amount of time young people have more recently spent in public school, it isn't a stretch to think that their still fresh experiences and training will impact their decisions. And we will get to see very soon what that impact is. 18-22 year olds are already a key demographic in this election. That is why Hillary is a favorite subject on SNL.

  5. I am wondering how Bernie Sanders will make public higher education free when K-12 is in such need. Having studied in Europe, I appreciate the idea. Just wondering why he emphasizes it over K-12 which is in dire need.

  6. There it is, the neoliberal emperor of Los Angeles wields power far beyond the Golden State.

  7. Peter says: "The cradle-to-career pipeline will be a complicated piece of machinery, and every single knob and valve will be owned by somebody intent on profiting from it. I don't even know what we call this concept of socialism driven by free market profit motives."

    It's called neoliberalism (I see the person above me also used the term), the body of economic theory [sic] behind which private interests suck up resources (i.e., profit) in the name of fulfilling public good (which they don't, but because they say they do, hey, who are we to argue?).

  8. You have a competitive senate race, hope you show up for that

    Alice Mercer