Tuesday, June 6, 2023

On Track for Privatization

A couple weeks ago, Texas came very close to passing a bill defunding public education: a "school choice" bill that would provide vouchers for parents to be able to "use taxpayer dollars to pay for private school tuition." It passed in the Senate, but then died in the house. They'll try again.  

Jordan Roberts pointed out that "the Ford government has hired consultants from Texas, Louisiana and Tennessee to help do the same here." Earlier he provided receipts to show that "Galen Weston's cousin, Claudia, developed Fraser Institute's programs to undermine public education. She sits on the SickKids Foundation board with the rest of the worst people in Ontario":

Roberts continues,

"She steals from a hospital downtown; her cousin steals from the hospital in midtown. Bases covered. You might not see a conflict, but that is because you don't realize that Galen has been building his own for-profit healthcare system for years, which has been poaching stuff from the public system."

Here's the board of directors that some fear with complete the transfer of all public healthcare funds into the pockets of the private sector. 

Back to Ford, a recent article in The Toronto Star, by Steven Reid and Mary Reid, neatly explains the shock doctrine tactics being used by Ford to privatize education and health care (although my take last year was more in line with Naomi Klein's famous book: wait or create a crisis; decimate public services and subsidize private companies which will automatically lead the wealthy to shift and further destroy public options, making private options appear to naturally be better, and don't forget to make sure you're on the board of those private companies and/or get lots of donations/gifts from them at every opportunity):

"The PCs weaponize data and ignore research to push irresponsible and misleading policies, while abandoning educators, students, and families to fend for themselves. Rule No. 1: Manifest a Crisis. Let's remember that this is not the first time that the PCs attempted to create a crisis in education. Back in 1995, Premier Mike Harris and Education Minister John Snobelen were crusading under the Common Sense Revolution. It did not sit well with Ontarians when Snobelen was caught on tape outlining the PC's mandate to create a crisis in education." 

Snobelen got a mention in The Shock Doctrine, it was such a debacle!

Reid and Reid's second rule is ignoring research. PCs appear to be not just ignoring it, but creating whatever information they might need to further their own plan, which is easy to do when they're so well connected to the Fraser Institute. Their final rule is to abandon educators. 

"The limited 'supports' provided by the government like math tutoring, brings back memories of the Harris PCs' announcement of its plans to provide parents with subsidies for private education, while positioning the funding as the Equity in Education Tax Credit. Those opposed to this credit warned that this money would primarily support the wealthy, revealing the PCs' vision of a two-tier education system."

And the PCs have three more years to keep on track with this in Ontario. Too many people don't get the big picture here, and I fear it will be too far gone to undo by then, leaving us with what some states have: private schools for the rich and a shell of an education system for anyone who can't pay. The whole parental rights movement here is going to push it all over the edge, and I guarantee many if not most of them don't understand that. Dr. Jonathan Arendt explains,

"My home state of Louisiana should be a CAUTIONARY TALE of this 'school choice' movement. I've seen it for nearly 20 years now, and we should be running from it if we value public education. We should absolutely NOT be looking to Louisiana as a model. We're 49th in education."

Once again, instead of following educational systems that work, we're diving head first in some very shallow waters that provide a massive profit for providers - and the governments that usher them in.

The Enough is Enough protests on the weekend were great, but I'm afraid that only works if the government cares about making the public happy. They have a majority, and I don't think they'll even need to win the next election. Their plan will be complete before then. And Alberta got another PC government despite the protests. We need massive education of PC supporters if we have any hope of turning this ship around. 

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