Segregationist, serial plagiarist, and supporter of armed insurrection against the United States government, Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky has come to Chicago. To fix our schools. Be afraid. Be very afraid.
Yes, thanks to those other fine guardians of our children, the Archdiocese of Chicago (salivating over the prospect of vouchers to replenish its coffers decimated by years of child sex abuse damages), and the Illinois Policy Institute (a libertarian "think tank" bent on privatizing Illinois public schools, perhaps for the personal financial benefit of its executives.).
Senator Paul spoke about the importance of school choice, the ability of parents to utilize public funds to access private schools like those operated by the Archdiocese or other not-for-profit or for-profit charter schools organizations. "School choice" is, of course, the standard Republican euphemism for destroying our national system of free public education and replacing it with chains of McSchools that, by firing experienced teachers and replacing them with lesser skilled individuals and online learning and by cutting school programs to the bare minimum, will take the money we're 'wasting' on public education and put it back where it rightly belongs...in the offshore bank accounts of the 1%.
The efforts of Senator Paul and fellow Republican 'reformers' will re-segregate our school system (a secondary motivation?) creating a two-tiered system where poor children and minorities will flounder in underfunded remnants of the public schools or low-rent charters while wealthier students thrive in private schools enriched with tax dollars.
Senator Paul's attempt to meddle in Chicago's educational system to further his political aspirations came during a week when we learned that, according to U.S. News & World Report’s annual rankings, 5 of the top 10 schools in Illinois, including the top 4, are part of the Chicago Public Schools.
It was also this week that the Economic Policy Institute released a report analyzing the impacts of privatization on low-income students in the Milwaukee Public Schools. The full report is lengthy and I haven't yet read it in its entirety, but, in a nutshell, it illustrates how privatization is being pushed not because of any benefit to poor kids but because it lines the pockets of corporate investors. Like any other form of privatization of public assets, this is a means of extracting public funds for private benefit. It is theft. Chicagoans don't need to be reminded of what a fiasco the privatization of our parking meters was and this is no different. Republicans are aiding and abetting corporate interests in the theft of our public schools.
We need a militia of voters to to chase Rand Paul back to Kentucky and to say no to all politicians -- Republican and Democratic alike -- who want to steal our public schools. And while we're at it we need to put a load of figurative buckshot in Rahm Emmanuel's ass.