Saturday, March 2, 2013
Joel Klein: I Helped Kill The American Dream
Former New York City Schools Chancellor and current Amplify CEO/News Corp. executive Joel Klein stunned an audience of education reform advocates, business executives and politicians when he admitted that his goal as a school leader and for-profit education proponent has been to "Kill the American Dream."
Klein, speaking at the "Civility in Education/Civility in America" series at the Ferguson Library in Stamford on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013, told the packed audience that the real program behind the education reform movement has always been to increase economic inequality and decrease social mobility.
"Look at the things we did in New York City," Klein said. "We closed the neighborhood schools that had been the anchor of these communities for decades. Back in the 80's, these were often the only safe spaces in some of these areas, other than maybe the churches. But we don't want places where people gather and commune. We want people to be isolated and alone. So we declared these schools 'failing' even though we had never given the schools the supports they needed to succeed and we closed these and opened new small schools and then we declared those new schools 'failing' and closed those. By the end of my tenure in NYC, we had successfully destabilized both the inner city neighborhoods and the school system as a whole. And we did this because we knew it would both increase economic inequality and decrease social mobility."
Klein told the audience that the charter school movement was one of the primary mechanisms for destabilizing the system and for ending the American Dream and increasing economic inequality.
"We set these neighborhood people against each other, much the way the Plantation class set poor whites and poor blacks against each other in the South so that these groups wouldn't recognize their common economic interests and band together to fight the Plantation class. So we have pro-charter and pro-public school parents fighting each other all over the city, fighting for space, fighting for resources, fighting for the kids with the highest test scores. And what's even better, we're funding this fight through our philanthropy movement. Many of you here tonight are providing the bullets in this fight, by providing the money and the resources the charter movement and education reform movement need to sow discord among the public. And as a result, we don't have to worry about these people fighting us."
Klein used charts and graphs to show how the education reform movement has exacerbated economic inequality over the last decade by stealing resources from public school classrooms and giving them to Fortune 500 companies like Pearson, News Corporation, and Microsoft.
"It's a two-pronged strategy," Klein told the audience. "On the one hand, we increase corporate profits by taking education monies out of the classroom and giving them to reform-friendly companies for technology upgrades and expenditures, curriculum, data tracking system and the like. But on the other hand, we also develop a generation of brain dead kids who can't do much beyond bubble in circles and follow directions from superiors. It's a win-win for the oligarchy!"
Klein said the reason why his bosses, Michael Bloomberg and Rupert Murdoch, have been such staunch proponents of education reform and charter schools is because they are greedy men with an insatiable thirst for wealth and power.
"Look, Mike and Rupe have more money than Jesus, Moses and David Einhorn put together, but it's not enough for them," Klein said. "That's where their greatness lies - no matter how much money they have, how powerful they are, how many houses they own, how many sychophants they have to suck up to them, it's never enough. They ALWAYS want more. In fact, they ALWAYS want it ALL. If both of these men live long enough, theyll turn on each other and try and take what the other has. But for now, the lower classes still have some money and privileges left, and Mike and Rupe are happy taking that stuff away. For now, at least."
During the Q&A session, Klein said his current goal at Amplify was to sell as many school districts as possible on the soul-sucking, sanitized "blended learning model" of education that puts 70 children into a barn-sized computer lab with three or four "facilitators" where the children get "individualized lessons" from standardized computer programs that offer Common Core test prep lessons for nine hours a day, plus half days on Saturday.
"There's no way any child can develop into an emotionally healthy, intellectually curious adult when we're educating them like this," Klein told the audience made up of hedge fund managers, bankers, Wall Street traders and other members and functionaries of the 1%. "And that's the point. We want your kids to grow up to be emotionally healthy, intellectually curious adults. That's why we encourage you to send them to private schools where there is no Common Core Federal Curriculum, where the children are not given standardized tests and the teachers are certainly not evaluated by them. Where there are small class sizes and individualized human instruction, like you and I got when we went to school."
"But for the rest of this country, the plebes," Klein continued, "We want them to learn to follow orders, follow rules, live in fear of the people in authority, become obedient workers and compliant consumers and citizens. And what better way to develop that kind of plebian populace than through our corporate education reform movement?"
Klein ended his talk on an emotional note: "I'm proud of my achievements in both the public and private sectors. Few people have done more to help end the American Dream than I have. Of course I owe much of my success to wealthy men like Bill Gates, Michael Bloomberg and Rupert Murdoch. I really couldn't have done this without their help, without their money, without their power."
Klein smiled as he finished up. "And given how much money and power these men have, I think we'll be doing a lot more damage to this country before we're through."
The "Civility in America" series continues this month with three more speakers slated to talk about the issues that matter in America.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo will talk about the need for absolutist rule in America on March 8, Donald Trump will speak about bringing a serious tone back into political discourse on March 15 and Cathie Black will lecture about the importance of cronyism in our meritocratic society on March 23.
Seats for the "Civility in America" series are by invitation only. If you have been invited to the series, you know who you are.