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Letter: Modern day money laundering

Next week will begin the legislative fight over public education. An interesting David and Goliath battle between the pro-public education parent and teacher groups against Louisiana’s big businesses that are largely right wing establishment Republicans with deep and wide business “non-profits” like LABI (Louisiana Association of Business and Industry), CABL (Citizens for a Better Louisiana), and Chambers of Commerce. Few would have ever imagined such odd sparring partners.

Common Core has taken varied journeys in each state in the Union. 45 states originally signed onto the federally coerced standards. Many states, like Louisiana, signed on before the standards were completed, sight unseen. And many, like Louisiana, didn’t use the Administrative Procedures Act to democratically process the standards. Other states, like Texas, didn’t sign on to the standards, but have adopted very similar standards and are seeing similar parent and teacher uprisings against this modern education reform.

While there are many egregious goals, peeling back the layers of propaganda reveals that a major target of the initiative is to fail the public school system and use public tax dollars to fund privately run charter schools. Imagine the money that can be made if the entire public education system can be turned into private entities. Fail the schools with tests that can’t be passed. Silence the teachers by tying their jobs to the failing tests. And take all the student data to the bank to sell it to the highest bidder. The result is an all-in-one modern day money laundering scheme via the education system.

Various techniques are being used to forward this effort. One that unfolded this week was the movement of the “Paycheck Protection Act.” This bill will stop the ability of teachers, firefighters, and police to have their union dues automatically withdrawn from their paychecks. One must ask why would businesses want to stop public employees from having a voice? Lane Grigsby, LABI Education Council Chairperson, told us himself through a video that was leaked on May 6th. He said that LABI’s #1 legislative goal was to silence teachers, “I can’t talk for the grin on my face,” he said. “Guys, this is where you grab the aorta and you shut it off.” Heartless manipulation of the political system for the sake of making money at its finest.

So what happens when the upper class decides that public education is better served by private companies collecting tax dollars for profit? This results in the 21st Century Segregation. The result of the business model in education is charters selectively choosing who can attend schools and therefor the lower-performing, higher-needs children get pushed further and further down the food chain. This along with “standardizing” every child through Common Core and its failed testing system is creating a flight from the public education system. Failing our public schools by draining them of those that have the money to go elsewhere. Doesn’t seem like educational equity, but a genius business strategy!

The Perfect Storm is raging! And if our state and country does not acknowledge the big picture quickly, the community and parents will be erased from the educational equation all together because invisible boards run charters. The citizens of Louisiana should look deeply into the finer messages of Common Core and start communicating with legislators to vote FOR public education. The citizens of Louisiana do not have the monetary force of LABI, CABL, etal., but they do have votes. With every legislative seat up for vote including governor this Fall, voices can be loud and forceful. The time to stand up for the children of Louisiana is now!

Caryn Jenkins

Stonewall, LA

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