By Jim Hightower
Photos: YouTube Screenshots
Back to school! Bright-eyed youngsters are now back in our public classrooms, filled with questions about the world around them. Questions like: What happened to our school library, and where did our librarians go?
Sadly, these wholly beneficial, caring educators are being dumped in school trash bins by loopy right-wing ideologues who’re out to impose their bigotry and ignorance on America. They’ve been on a rampage of banning books and demonizing teachers, but now the extremists are saying: “That’s not stupid enough – let’s also launch a witch hunt against librarians!”
This authoritarian assault, funded by a clique of far-right billionaires and coordinated by their front groups, has been popping off across the country. But leave it to Texas Governor Greg Abbott to push it from extreme to totalitarianism.
He has unilaterally seized control of Houston’s school district (the largest, most diverse in Texas), installing his own whip-cracking, dictatorial overseer. Mike Miles, a former Army Ranger and CEO of a corporate school chain, promptly decreed that to improve reading scores in the district, he would first, eliminate librarians from 28 schools in Black and Latino neighborhoods, and second, turn their libraries into centers where students who misbehave will be disciplined.
Also, Abbott’s education czar demands that all teachers there must reapply for their jobs, agree to follow a centrally-scripted curriculum, and be monitored by classroom cameras. All this, says Miles with a twisted smile, is meant to give a message of “hope” to teachers and parents. Of course, elimination of independent educational resources and regimentation of instruction will reduce schools to state institutions for obedience training.
And that’s the point. The GOP’s push to remake education is a billionaire’s wet dream of a compliant, subservient workforce: Don’t ask questions—just keep pulling that plow.
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