Thursday, 10 January 2019

The dominance of public education in the US

From Badass Teachers

Ninety percent of America’s students go to public schools.

But you wouldn’t know that if you opened a book, turned on the TV or went to a movie.

The media is engaged in a disinformation campaign erasing public schools and public school students from our entertainments.

It’s another way marketing and advertising is forced down our throats and into our leisure hours.

Not only do the multi-billion dollar corporations who fund these entertainments want to convince us we need this pill, that appliance, those technological doo-hickeys — they need to cajole and inveigle us that we need school privatization, too.

And what better way to do that than to give us heroes that – what-do-you-know – just happen to go to charter, voucher and private schools?

No one takes Betsy DeVos, the billionaire heiress who bought her position as education secretary to tear down public schools, seriously. But we certainly do when it comes to Hollywood, the Boob Tube and Young Adult literature.

Take Miles Morales, an Afro-Latino Spiderman, who just made his big screen debut in Marvel’s “Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse.”

It’s refreshing to see the iconic Spideysuite worn by a character of color, but why change his alma mater, too?

The original webslinger, Peter Parker, was an everyperson teen who went to a public school. But Morales goes to a private school in the movie and a charter school in the comic books on which the film is loosely based.

Then we have “The Kid Who Would Be King” a modern day retelling of the King Arthur legend. In the film, Alex finds Excalibur and becomes king – while attending a British academy, the U.K.’s version of an American charter school.

And let’s not forget “The Hate U Give.” In both the book and the movie, the protagonist, 16-year-old African American Starr Carter, deals with a white police officer murdering her black friend. And her struggle is worsened by the incomprehension she meets at her mostly white, privileged private school.

Why are all these stories taking place where a tiny sliver of kids are educated?

What happened to all the public school students?

It’s not like privatized education has ever been starving for representation in the mass media.

If anything, private schools have historically been overrepresented – Lord of the Flies, A Separate Peace, Dead Poets Society, Catcher in the Rye, etc.


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