Letter To The Editor: Our Schools And Our Children Are Not For Sale

By GERRY WIGGINS
Los Alamos

Public education is one of America’s greatest achievements and assets. The schools belong to the communities and provide free education for all children regardless of race, wealth, religion, or disability. 

Each district is held accountable through a publicly elected school board that the can be replaced periodically by the voters. Additionally, each district is funded through a system of democratically approved bond and tax measures. 

On the whole, the American people choose to fund this great public asset to the tune of $600 billion a year.  Sadly, the scale of our investment in our children has attracted a breed of “Education Reformers” that are interested in nothing more than profiting off of our public investment. 

These “reformers” lobby politicians and pass laws that force communities to hand over their public schools to privatized charter school corporations. As most communities are not willing to hand over their assets to such vultures, laws are passed to require mandatory assessment tests. 

These tests are poorly written and intentionally confusing so that failure will be inevitable. Once a school has failed, laws are enacted that require the firing of all teachers and the hand over of the school to a private company.

Sadly, the PARCC test that will be administered in Los Alamos this week seeks to do just this. The PARCC test was written by the Pearson Corporation, a corporate donor to the Foundation for Excellence in Education, Jeb Bush’s lobbying group that represents those seeking to benefit from privatizing public education.

In turn, Jeb Bush has actively campaigned for Governor Martinez, and has even hosted $3,000 a plate fund raising dinners with her. Thus, in exchange for thousands of dollars of cash to her personal campaign fund, Governor Martinez is actively trying to sell off millions of dollars of New Mexico’s public education assets. 

The mandate that our children take the PARCC test, not to benefit their education, but to “evaluate” their schools and teachers, is proof that this woman and her campaign benefactors view our children as a source of their personal profits. 

It is time we stand up to this nonsense and tell them that our children are not for sale. The public schools belong to the people, and we need not cooperate with those who seek to harm our communities and our children in the name of personal gain.

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