A number of my fellow bloggers have been on the case of a certain school system superintendent by the name of Casey Wardynski. I already covered him on two separate occasions, highlighting how he hails from an organization that exemplifies the term "controlled chaos" when it comes to public education and how he wowed the administration of Huntsville City Schools with his military background and no-nonsense posturing. Except that most of his actions have been a bunch of nonsense. Dangerous nonsense that would have had people screaming for previous superintendent Ann Roy Moore's head on a commemorative platter.
Not only has he made sure that the Broad Foundation got a return on its investment, he's also called on several of his closest friends to get in on the fun. He's "cleaned house" by playing musical chairs with teachers and principals, shut down a number of schools and closed the city's only alternative school in favor of a far-flung private "treatment program" with little to no accountability. He's also managed to be incredibly hostile to anyone who asks him exactly what the flying hell is going on. All the while, he receives praise and pats on the back from a largely cowed and sycophantic school board and an equally cowed and sycophantic press.
Meanwhile, he's looking for ways for the school system to get out from under its "unitary status," including putting the kibosh on majority-minority transfers that help many of the kids from the poorer northern half of the city into schools in the wealthier southern half. I suspect that by loading up the schools on the north side of town with "failing" students, there will be an impetus to "do something" about the low test scores they're producing. Instead of actually addressing the underlying issues of poor performance, there may be a drive towards converting said public schools into "experimental" charter schools. But at least you get free laptops out of the deal.
Conservatives are interested in proving their point about public schools by doing all they can to make them fail. Once that's done, the wreckage can be dismantled and swept away in favor of charter schools and privately-owned academies. I sincerely doubt that Casey Wardynski is actually doing anything to make the school system he's in charge of any better. However, I have complete confidence that he's reshaping the school system as a showpiece for why converting the "dysfunctional" public schools into a privatized charter system is much better.
The endgame is directing billions of education dollars away from federal educational institutions (most of which aren't likely to exist anymore) and into the hands of private companies charged with the administration of charter and private schools. Paraphrasing Major General Smedley Butler, "It's a racket."
And it's a racket that most likely won't involve many of the poor inner-city urban youths (a.k.a. blacks and browns). Public education will hang on as a dumping ground for the so-called "scraps" that no private or charter school wants. These schools want to look good and having kids who are considered "hard to teach" and perpetual "low achievers" brings down the test score averages and makes the place look bad. Those with disciplinary problems are likely to end up in a "wilderness behavior modification" program with no contact with family or legal representation.