Prison Radio
Mumia Abu-Jamal

It is a national crisis.

Worse, it is a crime.

Schools, all across Black America and in El Barrio, are closed –shuttered.

What does this mean? It means that the one source of social advancement –education – is being narrowed, so that few can access it.

The political class has been bought off and made so inconsequential that it either supports this tragic process, or is silent.

They are preparing the way for the corporatization of education. Tossed into the trash can of history is the very notion of public schools. Why? Simple. Tax dollars.

Diane Ravitch was once a loud and opinionated advocate for these corporate schools, seemingly driven by the problems of American education. She has had a profound change of heart, and in a series of articles, she has written condemnatory lines about that process.

Ravitch writes:

No nation in the world has eliminated poverty by firing teachers or by handing its public schools over to private managers; nor does research support either strategy. But these inconvenient facts do not reduce the reformers’ zeal. The new breed of school reformers consists mainly of Wall Street hedge-fund managers, foundation officials, corporate executives, entrepreneurs, and policy-makers, but few experienced educators. The reformers’ detachment from the realities of schooling and their indifference to research allow them to ignore the important influences of family and poverty….*

Despite this biting criticism, published in a major national magazine, the process goes on, and as cities scuttle to pay for the machinery of repression, they close the institutions of reason and learning.

Charter schools are the new thing. Corporate schools.

Schools for those who can theoretically afford them.

For the poor –nothing.

We don’t even pretend anymore, for we need no longer do so. This is the age of business.

Those in power don’t have to worry about this.

But we do.

The closure of schools is the expansion of prisons.

It’s as simple – and as ugly – as that.