Saturday, July 12, 2014

Divest from corporate education reformers like growing fossil fuels divestment

The World Council of Churches announced they're divesting from fossil fuels  and divestment from fossil fuels is a growing movement.  

It's not hard to imagine "fossil fuels" being replaced in this with "corporate-driven education reform."

While we should continue to exert pressure on elected officials, that's a roll of the dice at best given the money the corporate-driven reformers give to politicians, but we could have a greater chance of success going directly after the bottom line of the corporations hoping to profit from privatization and their public images.

The AFT is working on divesting our pension funds from money managers who politically advocate gutting teachers pensions (a clear conflict of interest), and getting our retirement funds to divest more generally from corporate education reformers is worth pursuing. Public colleges and universities should be at least as interested in this as they are in divesting from fossil fuels since the same corrupting Wall Street forces have their sites set on higher education as well, with an equally destructive agenda.

But the divestment from fossil fuels movement is showing an even bigger strategy we should begin pursuing: get universities and colleges to divest their endowments from the privatizers of public education, and convince religious groups like the World Council of Churches to condemn and divest from the corporate education reformers, a movement that makes inequality worse, steals public money meant for educating children and diverts it to corporate profits, and through the abuse of teachers, drives them out of the profession and discourages others from becoming teachers.

Divestment would attack what these companies value most: their stock price and profits, and to attract future investors,  the public perception that they are growing, reputable businesses, the latter a reputation that they do not deserve.