SEE UPDATE BELOW
You know the corporate funders driving the push to dismantle and privatize as much of our public school system as they possibly can are freaking out when they do stuff like this tweet from the Great Lakes Education Project (GLEP):
You also know they’ve stepped in it when they have to tweet out four explanatory tweets following the tweeted meme explaining themselves.
PRO TIP: If you have to explain your meme, especially if it takes four tweets to do so, you blew it and should just go ahead and delete the damn thing before too many people see just how out of touch you are.
The meme attached to the tweet compares State Superintendent Mike Flanagan and his vow to increase oversight of charter schools in Michigan to the racist Governor of Alabama George Wallace in 1963. Wallace stood in front of the doors to the University of Alabama to defend his inaugural promise of “segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever” by preventing non-white students from enrolling. He was, of course, pushed aside under direct orders of President Kennedy and three African American students were allowed to enroll and attend the university. The event put Wallace on the map as one of the most notorious racists in the country at the time.
Flash forward 51 years to this summer. An astonishing exposé by the Detroit Free Press showed a horrendous lack of oversight of charter schools in Michigan, 80% of which are for-profit. Nepotism is out of control as “school” administrators enrich their family and friends and many of the schools are showing provably terrible education results. The state legislature has created a situation that allows the charter schools and the groups that charter them to operate unchecked.
So, Supt. Flanagan responded by putting over 25% of the charter school authorizers on warning that they may have their chartering privileges revoked.
This, to GLEP, is the same as a hideous racist barring the doors of a university to stop black students enrolling. What’s particularly hilarious is that Flanagan’s action, should he decide to take it, won’t close a single school. It simply prevents charter authorizers from chartering any MORE schools.
I’m guessing I don’t have to take four tweets to explain to you why this is so hyperbolic, inaccurate, and offensive.
GLEP is headed up by Greg McNeilly and wealthy corporatist Betsy DeVos, both GLEP Board members and two people who have long wished (and worked) to destroy our public school system and to siphon off our tax dollars to for-profit privatized education corporations like K12 and others. They even have the failed fake Democrat Cody Bailey on staff.
Apparently GLEP, realizing they don’t have the support of most Michiganders, has now turned to offensive race-baiting in order to sway people to their cause. It’s a clear indication that they know they are no longer going to be able to continue their anti-public school efforts unencumbered, something that scares the bejesus out of them.
Thankfully, their offensive effort fell to earth with a resounding “splat”.
Feel free to chime in on their tweet and let them know how you feel.
UPDATE: GLEP has deleted the tweet and apologized (as they should have):
We apologize for anyone offended by our post comparing @suptflanagan with George Wallace. It was inappropriate and has been removed.
— GLEP (@GLEP_MI) August 15, 2014
I agree 100% with Lonnie Scott, executive director of Progress Michigan who yesterday issued a call for GLEP to apologize:
Comparing efforts to hold charter schools accountable for the $1 billion in taxpayer money they spend each year to racial segregation is asinine and disgusting. GLEP should immediately apologize for their inflammatory and insensitive remark. There are real civil rights issues being fought on a daily basis in Michigan. I expect in light of their newfound quest for equal opportunity, that GLEP will be coming forward to support some of those, such as marriage equality and equal pay for equal work.