4 conditions that will make public schools in Chattanooga less tenable

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Sharmon Hardin talks about the demolition of Red Bank middle school Wednesday. (Photo from WRCB TV3)

By David Tulis

The demolition Wednesday of Red Bank middle school by a mass excavator is a picture of the future of public schooling.

Heavy equipment began razing the 1938 structure in the Chattanooga suburb city north of the Tennessee River as students were enrolled in other government facilities in that part of the county. Once the building is flattened and the salvageable brick resold, the lot will be turned into a grassy park. It will be seeded, strawed and, when grassed over, will be deeded to the city of Red Bank, school maintenance director Ron Smith told a TV reporter.

Insofar as educational progress is concerned, the Chattanooga-area public faces a bright future as market pressures increase against the public school monopoly, run ostensibly by counties, but run in fact in the name of state government through departments of education and a welter of foundations, nonprofit corporations and for-profit business interests. As public schools fade, an already vibrant educational services marketplace will become even richer. The safest schools is not the new one planned in Cleveland, Tenn., but a closed one.

Schools stay aloft amid disinformation

Razings and repurposings of old school structures are ahead. But they won’t become more generalized in Hamilton County until several conditions are prevalent.

End of public insouciance about moral results. Before any city can become public school-free, its residents must become angry at the defective conceptions of right and wrong taught by the state. It teaches powerful ideas within several frameworks: Moral neutrality, utilitarianism such as the decision-making model of human action, official atheism and indifference to religious interests of fathers and mothers. Its moral relativism and statism are taught obliquely, selectively, by omission as much by comission.

The relinquishing of legacy systems of thought about the necessity of public schools. For decades already public schools have operated though their underlying premises have faded and been forgotten. Could you tell me in 10 seconds WHY Chattanoogans have public schools? Until habits of thoughts in their favor fade, we have implicit public support for their continuing expense. The power of inertia is visible even when a moving object is at the acme of its trajectory.

General acceptance of the paradigm shift represented by the worldwide Web. The digital network is a powerful force toward decentralization of many industries, from newsgathering to medicine to the university lecture hall. The free market is already expanding offerings of low-cost educational services. Home education has pioneered the field.

A credit market collapse. The unsustainability of the current system may show its strongest signs emanating from this sector. Chattanooga had a foretaste in 2008 of a crisis in confidence in a global paper money scheme made more severe by central bank controls of national economies and the global interconnectedness of banking systems held aloft solely by public confidence. In the financial sector’s sorry state, everything is leveraged, few people have cash, millions are dependent on government, the public mood fickle and most people are willing to blame government for any catastrophe.

Common core; another placeholder pseudo reform

The national elites see no end to centralization of political function, chief among them being the government-run school cartel. What we see as county schools in state systems they view as a systemic political and business whole. Further centralization is possible as they bypass statutory barriers to federal government involvement. As the U.S. was created as agent of the states, it now is the agent of corporate interests within the states. They expect to consolidate power and influence, and create a bigger multibillion-dollar marketplace using digits, server farms and the Internet — the very instruments that are the free market escape valve.

Chief among these new markets is that in big data, the mining of personal information of millions of young people in what Rupert Murdoch says is a F$500 billion sector in the U.S. alone. These parties intend to profit no matter which direction the public school market heads, toward new heights or to senescence.

An eloquent essayist on the topic of economic devolution is Charles Hugh Smith, author of Why Things Are Falling Apart … and What We Can Do About It. He suggests in a recent essay that the large systems of national economy, primarily groupings within the U.S. government, will not be able to adapt, that the centralized power itself cannot adapt to crises and sudden losses in revenue.

He views public schools as a category of legacy system destined for collapse. But it is on the edges of the crisis that will be largely financial. This catharsis will destroy public optimism and the luxury that public schools have become. After initial stages of a collapse hitting next year, half-measures will come on the scene and then an ultimate crisis will occur in 2021-22. Mr. Smith says the U.S. is in an initial phase of the crisis which he charts in these terms, “official denial, reluctant recognition, simulacra reforms.” A second phase marked by official reassurances leads to a third in a parabolic curve pointing almost straight up as the crisis level intensifies. “The era of abundance devolves into scarcity,” he notes, as “the Status Quo toolbox is devoid of authentic solutions when the bad decisions finally catch up *** .”

The establishment has every interest in avoiding a meltdown such as the crisis of confidence in 2008. It favors what The Moneychanger newsletter calls a “slow burn.” The crisis will, I think, come in great waves and destroy the assets and savings of people in Chattanooga and beyond. Inflation, emergency taxes, company shutdowns, plunging valuations on the stock market, the puncturing of a bond market bubble are, by the estimations of some, what we have in store.

A crisis in confidence is ahead among great institutions such as the United States, the U.S. Congress, the Federal Reserve system and the U.S. dollar issued by the Fed. A potential decapitalization will slop over into other areas. Public schools are one of them. A financial crisis will bring to the fore the other preconditions for their abandonment. In the new official and controlled economy, we will have become too poor to afford them.

All the more likely Chattanooga will turn to free market solutions to meet the educational needs of families.

Sources: Carole H. Haynes, “Common Core’s Data Mining Trojan Horse,” Aug. 2, 2013, drcarolehaynes.com

Callie Starnes, “Demolition begins on Red Bank Middle School,” Aug. 14, 2013, wrcbtv.com

Charles Hugh Smith, “An Abundance of Bad Decisions,” June 13, 2013, Oftwominds.com

Charles Hugh Smith, “That Which Is Incapable of Reforming Itself Disappears,” Aug. 13, 2013, Oftwominds.com

One Response

  1. Sam August 17, 2013 Reply

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