Saving American Education from Itself

Universal education in the United States is under attack. A battle between private and public education has waged for centuries but in the last few decades what had been a reasonable stalemate has turned into a rout, with the forces seeking a way to monetize the education system winning major victories on all fronts. Soulless money grubbers are utilizing the public/private debate in order to line their pockets at the expense of us all, while at the same time not caring one whit about the education of future generations.

A corporate mind set which sets no value on the rights of individual American citizens has become so prevalent as to appear normal and acceptable to a frightening percentage of this country’s population. Unless steps are taken to stem this tide of monetary inanity, generations to come might well be subject to a form of dollar slavery which would have been opposed to the last breath by those who came before us and invested their blood, sweat, tears, and lives, to achieve the freedoms presently enjoyed by citizens of this democracy.

It’s time to deprive the for-profit corporations of one source of revenue, and by doing so possibly turn their vulture eyes to more easily exploitable targets than this country’s children.

Those involved with the corporatization of American education look to profits in a number of ways. There are government monies to be tapped. There are tuitions and fees. There are exorbitant salaries. There are testing fees. There are any number of ways that monies which should go towards education are diverted. But in a way these are but small potatoes and not the profit centers which attract megacorporations.

Text books are a major profit center for corporate America and a major drain on the budgets of individual states and school districts.

There is no longer any reason to pay one single dime for the vast majority of text books currently in use in this county. Not one dime. Zero. Monies now diverted into the accounts of big time corporations would stay in the local area where they could be used to more beneficial effect to help balance budgets, actually improve the education of our children, and even pay teachers salaries and associated pension obligations.

Most states have a union which represents the interests of their teachers. These unions are meant to represent the interests of their members and help improve the quality of education for all. What follows is a way for these unions to accomplish both of these goals. Unions should never be in bed with organizations whose primary motivation is their own fiscal bottom line.

Every union in every state should publish a “free to the public” line of electronic text books, endorsed by the union, authored by qualified retired union members, and available free to every student. History, mathematics, all the sciences, language arts, you name it. There is absolutely no reason for any school district to ever again spend a single cent on text books.

Individual unions would sponsor a contest for their retired members to create textbooks within their realm of expertise. A qualified committee would then judge the entries and award a suitable prize to the author of the winning texts. Fifth grade American history, authored by Doctor John Doe, Endorsed and Approved by the Pickyourstate Education Association, would then become available to all school districts, teachers, and, of course, students. For free. One click away on the Web.

It’s time for the education unions to take on the text book publishers by offering a free alternative. Laptops and tablet computers now offer the opportunity to really democratize this nation.

Say goodbye to at least one reason for corporatizing education.

Say hello to all those dollars school districts used to piss away.

Education unions don’t exist to support for-profit text book publishers. Education unions have the clout and respect to take on the profiteers who want to strip mine every school in this country. Unions have the moral obligation to fight the good fight against those who would deprive this country of its future.

Free text books for all. This is an idea whose time has come. This is a step which must be taken.

Peter Breschard is the author of Circus Rider and My Love Affair with Barack Obama as well as other lesser works of fact and fiction. Read other articles by Peter.