the new school year gets off to a wobbly start, public education is
under increased assault. Governors in the red states of Florida,
South Dakota, and Texas are leading the way as they crackdown on
student masking, distancing, and vaccines as the antidote to
COVID-19. Now that students of color are the majority, public
education is in danger.
the recently completed California gubernatorial recall election,
opposition to coronavirus reduction remedies was at the center of
Republican opposition, with the Democrats only prevailing after
massive campaign spending during the final months of the race.
Republican political moves are gaining steam in the 27 states helmed
by Republican governors, and 54 percent of legislatures are also
under their control. As the nation continues its rapid trek toward a
demographic status where Whites are no longer the racial majority
group, Republicans are pulling out all stops to stay in power.
they are attacking those venues of the nation where people of color
and their children are making rapid gains - K-12 public education and
voter registration and participation. As noted often in this column
during the past two years, our nation is moving toward a system of
Apartheid whereby a White minority group controls all aspects of
Christine Beltran, a professor and Director of Graduate Studies, at
NYU, stated that we must mobilize to pass Congress’s proposed
The People Act
to prevent this from happening.
would say that it is perhaps conspiratorial to conclude that the
disinvestment in public education, urban and rural infrastructure,
voter access, police reform, and a lethargic COVID-19 response are,
collectively, a mugging of democracy and our current way of life with
an aim of making it more flawed. We need to forestall a bleak future.
to this the Republicans’ xenophobic focus against immigrants of
color who Fox News’ leading TV host, Tucker Carlson, has
labeled a “replacement
group for White Americans”
due to what he alleges to be their obeisance to the Democratic Party.
the Delta and other more infectious coronavirus variants are
overwhelming hospitals with a herculean increase in the number of the
unvaccinated, many of whom are children, being admitted, Republicans
are standing by blocking any meaningful response. Democrats appear to
be idling in place, confused and/or immobile, and unsure of what to
is difficult for many to see the connections between the
aforementioned issues, but it is a reality that former President
Trump’s ‘Big Lie’ about supposed voter fraud and
irregularities have seized upon these falsehoods to pummel Democrats
in every arena of politics.
education is at a crossroads in that its Democratic allies are not
giving voice to its plight due to their internal dissension over the
filibuster, safety-net spending priorities, and other progressive
initiatives. For the time being, K-12 public school students are not
on the front burner of Democratic political discourse, and they
of color who are the rapidly growing majority of public school
populations are further decimated by residing in neighborhoods of
increasingly concentrated poverty with parents whose employment has
been severely impacted by the pandemic. Now that the latter’s
state and federal government subsidies have ended, their plight is
menace to public education is the largely ignored threat of the
corporate funding of school choice vouchers and charter school
expansion during the COVID-19 crisis while many school districts had
resorted to remote learning. Hundreds of millions of dollars have
been pumped into school choice schemes to privatize K-12 public
the school choice corporate cartel also perpetrates the ‘Big
Lie’ that vouchers and charter schools provide a higher quality
education to low-income students of color than their public school
counterparts. That was untrue when they first said it a decade ago,
and it is untrue now.
lobbyists have also intervened in police reform, and Sen. Tim Scott
(R-South Carolina) the appointed Senate lead on police reform
legislation and his Democratic counterpart, Sen. Cory Booker (D-New
Jersey), appear to be slow-walking any meaningful changes in the
infamous qualified immunity police statute.
founder Larry Ellison’s summoned Sen. Scott to his private
Hawaiian island in early 2021 after Ellison made a $10 million
contribution to a political organization aligned with Scott. Ellison
is also a major funder of school choice groups, especially the
American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) that has developed much
of the school choice legislation.
is also evident that these same lobbyists have rallied their
corporate employers to contribute tens of millions of dollars to
Sens. Scott’s and Booker’s campaign coffers, during the
past decade, who have also been consistent advocates and have
delivered votes for school choice legislation. Thus, public education
is in an awkward position.
the made-up controversy over critical race theory, which is
essentially the accurate teaching of American history, warts and all,
can also be added to the list. A Taliban-like insurgency that places
today’s students at cumulative risk as Republicans target them,
directly and indirectly, is emerging.