CommunityMy FDL

Letter to the Indiana Chamber of Commerce: Hoosiers Say No to Charter School Scammers

Dear Kevin Brinegar, CEO, Indiana Chamber of Commerce,

Not content that Citizens United Terre Haute lawyer James Bopp, Jr. and your lobbying against the Disclose Act made it legal for undisclosed corporations to endlessly fund the destruction of democracy, the Indiana Chamber of Commerce now has the nerve to call Vigo County School Corporation Superintendent Dan Tanoos a “bully” for exposing the charter school scam. Such hypocrisy sounds like a typical case of what psychologists call “projection” on your part. Isn’t being a “bully” a prerequisite for joining your brotherhood?

To anyone looking, last year’s award the Indiana Chamber of Commerce bestowed upon Tony Bennett, Indiana Superintendent of Public Education, sums up your quest to bulldoze education out of this state.  As an opportunist like his wife, Bennett selected two charter school cronies to his educational transition team in 2008: Mr. Derek Redelman, the Indiana Chamber of Commerce’s own pseudo-researcher who founded the Indiana Charter Schools Association and worked at the Koch-funded Hudson Institute; and Don Willis, the Mitch Daniels, Jr.-donor formerly of Imagine Charter Schools, who broke Indiana’s Open Door Law in Fort Wayne.

Last I heard, Imagine Schools illegally operates as both a for-profit and non-profit organization (if you could update me on this or clarify Imagine’s IRS status, it would be highly appreciated, since the government will not comment), and Dennis Bakke, their CEO, has a long history with your governor going back to 2001 with the AES-Indianapolis Power and Light Company merger, where IPALCO stockholders and workers lost millions, including their 401k packages, after Daniels, Jr. dumped his stocks

Sadly, you and Mr. Bennett wish to use “Play Dough Economics” to teach these same psychopathic tricks to Indiana kindergarteners, so they, too, can grow up to steal the pensions of their former teachers just like big Wall Street criminals do. The governor is your perfect orbitofrontal lobe damaged hero, in this regard; as recent neuroscience suggests, there is a fine line between the Jeffrey Dahmers of the world and the Republican leadership.

A policy brief to you and your MBA-friends-turned-fake-educators: we do not need a sociopathic society where schools become profit-making factories and kids gobble and throw up I-STEP test answers like Big Macs and boloney. And honestly, the Indiana Chamber of Commerce has no right to tell teachers they should work as slave laborers in charter schools run by the rich who use rental schemes to rake in millions of taxpayers’ money.

After apologizing to Superintendent Tanoos and those working daily with the fine children of Vigo County, Indiana, you should pass along to Mr. Bopp, Jr. (and Counterfeit Christian, Dennis Bakke) the words Eugene V. Debs spoke from his prison cell to a reporter in 1919 on the real meaning of Christ:

            I told my friends of the cloth that I did not believe Christ was meek and lowly but a real living, vital agitator who went into the temple with a lash and a krout and whipped the oppressors of the poor, routed them out of the doors and spilled their blood and got silver on the floor. He told the robbed and misruled and exploited and driven people to disobey their plunderers, he denounced the profiteers, and it was for this that they nailed his quivering body to the cross and spiked it to the gates of Jerusalem, not because he told them to love one another.

I’m waiting for Redelman and your Republican friends to include that quotation in your private school and charter school curriculum.

 Dr. Doug Martin

Previous post

Sunday Talk Shows: Making America Dumber One Week at a Time

Next post

Rewriting the Union Label

Doug Martin

Doug Martin

Doug Martin is a Walt Whitman scholar, poet, fiction writer, editor, musician (the Delicious Militia), and teacher.