Opting Out studies for the summer of 2015... It's time to read (or re-read and study) 'The War Against the Weak'... One book provides the most chilling and detailed background on the previous generation of America's corporate 'reformers'...

As our children graduate these weeks, our son Sam, for example from 8th grade at O.A. Thorp, the Opt Out movement now has the time to consolidate, reviews where we are, and plan for the next year's work against the regime of corporate school reform, based on the protection and promulgation of tests that by definition will enable the ruling class to rank and sort children, teachers, and our public schools.

One book needs to be studied as the movement against the current Eugenics movement -- this one under the guise of corporate "school reform" -- continues.As my beginning for that summer, I'm re-reading Ediwn Black's book "The War Against the Weak", which I'll review (again and in detail) by the end of June 2015. Meanwhile, those who don't yet have the time for a "War Against the Weak" Book Club can read about the findings of the book. There is also a brief "trailer" at the Web site of Edwin Black:

The ancestors of today's generation of corporate reformers are the eugenicists of the American ruling class whose work began in the late 19th Century and which expanded into national policy, upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, in the 1920s and early 1930s.

And it wasn't that Eugenics was bad science -- ridiculously so as the book shows -- but that it became national policy.

But Eugenics had a problem: It's biggest fan internationally was Adolf Hitler. And once Hitler and his government took American Eugenics to its logical conclusions, the American ruling class shut up-- for a short time. In fact, it wasn't until the generation that witnessed the horrors of the Nazi "Final Solution" (including my father, who was a GI who helped liberate one of the "smaller" concentration camps) was moving away from leadership that the American ruling class began to reinstate Eugenics. This time, however, it is called "reform" and begins under the regime of Bill Clinton. Clinton's three "reforms" -- "Welfare Reform," "Housing Reform," and "School Reform" -- had many of their origins in Chicago, where the iron rule of Mayor Richard M. Daley and the hypocrisy of men like Paul G. Vallas made the scams go over into the corporate media more easily.

And so, under the regimes of President Bill Clinton and his successor, George W. Bush, and under the guise of corporate "school reform," America's ruling class has returned to one of its points of origin -- eugenics and other pseudo-science, only this time they are clever enough not to use that name, but only those same methods, modified for the 21st Century.

As we noted at Substance from the beginning of Chicago's corporate "reform" during the 1990s, the key for the ruling class and its servants was not any particular testing program, but what the test did. Chicago has been through the regime of the ITBS, the IGAP, the ISAT, and most lately the NWEA-MAP. Substance helped destroy the odious CASE (Chicago Academic Standards Exams), but undaunted, and with the support of one of the most reactionary judges on the federal bench (Chicago's Richard Posner), the leaders of Chicago Public Schools simply moved from one test to the next, at each point declaring that this version of ranking and sorting was the "right" one. Until, of course, the next one comes up.

In his introductory materials to "The War Against the Weak," Edwin Black warns readers to read either the whole book, from start to finish, or not at all. And now having re-read half the book, I can understand why. Black and his research teams bring us from the white supremacist and ruling class supremacists (many of their victims are white and working class; the book shows the lie of blaming everything on "racism" that is prevalent on some places in Chicago today) developed, over a period of nearly 40 years, the "science" and propaganda machinery that Adolf Hitler, who praised their work, took to their logical conclusions with the Nuremberg Laws all the way to the "Final Solution" in the death camps.

In 1995, Chicago proclaimed that a "business model" was what would save the public schools and the children. Then instead of picking a business leader to head the schools, Mayor Richard M. Daley chose two political hacks, Paul Vallas (who had been Daley's budget director) and Gery Chico (who had been chief of staff) to head the schools under the first years of "corporate reform." Their first job was to proclaim the sanctity of the testing programs, which in 1995 and 1996 consisted of two tests, the ITBS and the IGAP. By the time Vallas and Chicago were removed by Daley in 2001, those tests were ancient history, and new ones were put in their places.

It didn't matter what the tests were: The test had to rank and sort children, classes, schools, and even school districts from "worst" to "best" using criteria that were as ridiculous as the Eugenicist predecessors of the Paul Vallases and Arne Duncans and Barack Obamas of today.

Like their Eugenicist predecessors, Vallas, Obama and Duncan portray themselves as liberals and claim their work is to improve things for everyone.

As we will show during Book Clubs on The War Against the Weak, the precedents to today are rooted in some of the ugliest work of previous generations and previous versions of "science." The Opt Out movements that have finally swept the USA are the beginning of the movement to oust this latest version of Nazism in the USA. But until we understand how deep and complete are the ruling class roots of what we fight, we have a long way to go. And then, the road to establishing democratic public schools in the USA for all children will still be a challenge -- but at least a challenge we are intellectually ready to meet without the illusions that have been around the past quarter century of so.


June 12, 2015 at 11:07 PM

By: Jim Vail

Nice connection

This is an excellent short analysis to tie the eugenics movement to today's testing mania. A short yet powerful summary to educate and inform people what is really going on today. Thanks George!

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