FROM THE WEB
Net Briefs - 04-10
GENDER & SPORTS
Bronner & IDF
Jane Anne Morris
Protesting School Cuts
Dolls & Drudges
Epic Recession III
Capitalizing on Disaster
NY For Sale
In Vitro, In Vivo!
Zaps - 04-10
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Capitalizing on Disaster
Taking and Breaking Public Schools
Book by Kenneth J. Saltman; Paradigm: Boulder, 2007, 173 pp.
Charter schools. The destruction of New Orleans. The Asian tsunami. Gentrification. No Child Left Behind (NCLB). The invasion and occupation of Iraq. What do these all have in common? For Kenneth Saltman, they are illustrations of the latest phase of the neoliberal assault on the hard-won gains of people to ensure public education, housing, and public ownership over natural resources among other vital social services. Saltman's book Capitalizing on Disaster explores these interconnections in the struggle over public education. For Saltman, natural catastrophes, acts of war and education policies can each provide a context to "set up public schools to be dismantled and made into investment opportunities."
Meticulously documented, the central focus of Saltman's book is the privatization of Chicago's public schools under the leadership of current Secretary of Education Arne Duncan while he was superintendent of Chicago Public Schools. As a professor at DePaul University in Chicago, Saltman has a personal stake in what is happening in that city. Saltman documents how the business sector's Renaissance 2010 plan was picked up by local school districts and city elites in order to pave the way for gentrification and backdoor privatization of public education. Historical disinvestment in public housing and public education has become a perfect storm, setting them up for failure under the onerous mandate of NCLB. Saltman describes in detail how schools located in areas with prime real estate are unilaterally declared "failures" and privatized by stripping local community control over the schools, smashing unions, closing schools, and setting up new schools run for profit and non-profit charter corporations.
This "smash and grab" is hardly restricted to the U.S. Saltman details the rise and emergence of a little known defense contractor, Creative Associates International Inc. CAII has figured prominently in U.S. foreign policy projects, with contracts to train demobilized contras, prop up the Haiti coup government, and, more recently, to privatize Iraq's public education system. Interestingly, CAII received its Iraq contract months before the U.S. invasion occurred, thus raising new doubts about the claim that the U.S. did not plan for the occupation. Saltman's analysis of the U.S. neoliberal model being applied to education is the first to go beyond a focus on Iraq's oil and agriculture sectors, both of which have gotten nearly all the attention. By doing so, Saltman convincingly confirms David Harvey's premise in A Brief History of Neoliberalism that neoliberalism is also a cultural, as well as economic, project. As a cultural project, it seeks to capture and reform education, media, and other ideological institutions in order to shift public beliefs, norms, and values so that the hegemony of the market over every aspect of life is ultimately seen as commonplace and unquestioned.
After 30 years of vicious assaults, neoliberalism has hopefully made fewer inroads into public education, because it has been defended so adamantly by students, faculty, staff, and families from across the political spectrum. This struggle, Saltman insists, must mean that "public education remains a crucial site and stake of struggle for critical forms of public democracy" from below.
Z Magazine Archive
CUBAN 5 - From May 30 to June 5, supporters of the Cuban 5 will gather in Washington DC to raise awareness about the case and to demand a humanitarian solution that will allow the return of these men to their homeland.
Contact: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org.
BIKES - Bikes Not Bombs is holding its 24th annual Bike- A-Thon and Green Roots Festival in Boston, MA on June 3, with several bike rides, music, exhibitors, and more.
Contact: Bikes Not Bombs, 284 Amory St., Jamaica Plain, MA 02130; 617-522-0222; mailbikesnotbombs.org; www.bikesnotbombs.org.
LEFT FORUM - The 2013 Left Forum will be held June 7-9, at Pace University in NYC.
Contact: 365 Fifth Avenue, CUNY Graduate Center, Sociology Dept., New York, NY 10016; http://www.leftforum.org/.
VEGAN FEST - Mad City Vegan Fest will be held in Madison, WI, June 8. The annual event features food, speakers, and exhibitors.
Contact: 122 State Street, Suite 405 B, Madison, WI 53701; email@example.com; http://veganfest.org/.
ADC CONFERENCE - The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) holds its annual conference June 13-16 in Washington, DC, with panel discussions and workshops.
Contact: 1990 M Street, Suite 610, Washington, DC, 20036; 202-244-2990; convention @adc. org http://convention.adc.org/.
CUBA/SOCIALISM - A Cuban-North American Dialog on Socialist Renewal and Global Capitalist Crisis will be held in Havana, Cuba, June 16-30. There will be a 5-day Seminar at the University of Havana, plus visits to a co-op and educational and medical institutions.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.globaljustice center.org/.
NETROOTS - The 8th Annual Netroots Nation conference will take place June 20-23 in San Jose, CA. The event features panels, trainings, networking, screenings, and keynotes.
Contact: 164 Robles Way, #276, Vallejo, CA 94591; email@example.com; http://www.netrootsnation.org/.
MEDIA - The 15th annual Allied Media Conference will be held June 20-23, in Detroit.
Contact: 4126 Third Street, Detroit, MI 48201; http://alliedmedia.org/.
GRASSROOTS - The United We Stand Festival will be hosted by Free & Equal, June 22 in Little Rock, Arkansas. The festival aims to reform the electoral process in the U.S.
LITERACY - The National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) will hold its conference July 12-13 in Los Angeles.
Contact: 10 Laurel Hill Drive, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003; http://namle.net/conference/.
IWW - The North American Work People’s College will take place July 12-16 at Mesaba Co-op Park in northern Minnesota. The event will bring together Wobblies from across the continent to learn skills and build one big union.
PEACESTOCK - On July 13, the 11th Annual Peacestock will take place at Windbeam Farm in Hager City, WI. The event is a mixture of music, speakers, and community for peace. Sponsored by Veterans for Peace.
Contact: Bill Habedank, 1913 Grandview Ave., Red Wing, MN 55066; 651-388-7733; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www. peacestockvfp.org.
LA RAZA - The annual National Council of La Raza (NCLR) Conference is scheduled for July 18-19 in New Orleans, with workshops, presentations, and panel discussions.
Contact: NCLR Headquarters Office, Raul Yzaguirre Building, 1126 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036; 202-785-1670; www.nclr.org.
ACTIVIST CAMP - Youth Empowered Action (YEA) Camp will have sessions in July and August in Ben Lomond, CA; Portland, OR; Charlton, MA. YEA Camp is designed for activists 12-17 years old who want to make a difference.
Contact: email@example.com; http://yeacamp.org/.