Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Can Hillary Be Trusted?

The twitterverse erupted briefly yesterday when Hillary Clinton, appearing at the Globalization of Higher Education conference in Irving, Texas, dropped a few bricks of praise upon the head of co-host Jeb Bush. Specifically, she lauded him for his dedication to and passion for education and the reform thereof. Upon hearing those words, many Democratic fans of public education dropped their jaws upon the most conveniently located floor.

As HRC jockeys for position re: 2016, the question is arising-- is she good for public education?

I'm nominally a Democrat. I voted for Obama in 2008 (oops) and again in 2012 (would you rather have a pointy stick in the eye or a knee in the groin). I am neither a member of the Cult of Hillary's Awesomeness nor of the Stop That Evil Bitch Club. But I can't say that her supportive words for Jebby don't surprise me.

Look, all politicians love to play with education. If religion is the third rail of politics, education is its plush fluffy stuffed unicorn-- you can always pick it up without any danger of getting hurt.

But Hillary's record is not promising.

The big smoking gun in her education past is the infamous "Dear Hillary" letter from Marc Tucker, sent in 1992 as what appears to be part of a larger policy discussion. In the letter, Tucker proposes a reinvention of American public ed into a european-style job training program that prepares workers to meet the needs of society, even as it tracks their every move into a giant database to be used by government "job counselors" and prospective employers. Any of this sound familiar?

Righty critics point to several moves of the Clinton administration to set this new educational order into motion, including directing fed $$ to governors (not, say, elected school boards) and the building up of national testing initiatives. And Hillary has generally shown herself to be a big fan of big government solutions.

HRC has been pretty quiet about CCSS and has confined most of her edu-activity to relatively harmless fluff like her new "Too Small To Fail" program to encourage parents to engage in their children's education. But her friends, her connections, and her praise for a governor whose record on public education is one of the most destructive in the country-- these are not good signs.

Advocates for the US public education must stop stop stop stop STOP assuming that Democrats have our backs or that Republicans are our enemies. We need to start demanding that our leaders take a stand, and we need to hold them accountable no matter what their affiliation.

The status quo of high stakes test-driven education is a bipartisan monstrosity. It's a trick where liberals are co-opted with "Government will make sure this need is met" and traditional conservatives are co-opted with "The need will be met by private corporations." The driving principle is money. Pay attention to the money.

Do I think Hillary is a friend of pubic ed? I do not. I believe she is part of the sad decades-long history of our descent into the current state of corporate vulturedom and deliberate dismantling of public education. Unless and until she makes a clear and deliberate break with the status quo, I am going to assume she is just one more politician angling to destroy the institution to which so many of us have dedicated our lives.

1 comment:

  1. Yes, Hillary can be trusted as was the case with Obama. Many of us pointed this out as early as 2007. Trusted to support and rubber stamp the interests that they serve- their masters at Wall St. and the MIC.

    Stop supporting Democrats. Why do you even hint at supporting Democrats as they prove time and again exactly who they are. And BTW it's not that they are weak and spineless though supporting weak and spineless elected official is questionable. They are the more effective evil.

    Supporting Democrats is a serious political disorder, like alcoholism or returning again & again to an abusive spouse who repeatedly lies to you. It's easy to fall off the wagon, to make excuses & rationalizations for it.

    Even many whose views are developed enough to recognize such truths as the fundamental rottenness of the 2-party system & the complicity of Democrats in all of the Republicans' major crimes, are still unable to draw the logical consequences of these insights. (Those so naive that they still conceive of Democrats as being the "opponents" of Republicans are another case altogether.)

    The central point is this: capitalist society permits the Democrats to be one of the 2 allowed parties for a very definite reason. It's not because the Democrats "serve the people." It's because in a subtle but effective way, they help the capitalists keep the populace under control by providing them with the illusion of possible change. TPTB don't want the people "served." They want them managed, or controlled.

    It is the job, the central social function of the Democrats to always be dangling before the people's noses vague pseudo-hints of possible change, so as to keep them from bolting from bourgeois politics altogether. It is the Democrats' intention to never deliver meaningful change, but rather to keep dangling hints of it alluringly forever. This produces control -- a populace habituated to remain safely within the lines required by ruling class interests.

    This is why the Democrats NEVER paint a picture of US history that's the slightest bit accurate -- they want a brainwashed population every bit as much as the Republicans do. This is why they NEVER are willing to set forth an honest socioeconomic analysis of why things are as they are -- they much prefer that people not understand such things.

    As long as a large chunk of voters can be deceived by the seemingly "nicer guy" act of the Democrats, there is no hope whatever of coming to grips with the core problems of our society. The most dangerous trends -- a wasteful consumer society, environmental destruction, grotesque social inequality, and an uncontrollable propaganda/war machine -- cannot even be approached within the framework of bourgeois politics, because they all serve ruling class interests. This is what is really being protected, when people opt to support Democrats just because they seem less blatantly cruel on TV.

    The Democrats HAVE NEVER been for the working class- that's not why they were designed. The few crumbs that the Dems threw to the working class during FDR's New Deal were done to PRESERVE CAPITAL not to assist the people and it was done ONLY due to pressures from The Wobblies, Socialists, Communists, Populists, Anarchists etc as well as pressures from international rumblings. I suggest you bone up on your history a bit.

    Beyond this the Democrats and the Republicans should not be examined as distinct entities- they are part of a larger system and on EVERY issue of magnitude they come down together on the same side of the big business interests who they represent. To think otherwise is beyond naive and avoids the facts of who funds these parties and who writes the legislation that BOTH parties rubber stamp.