“Humans are biohazards, machines are not.” New York to “reimagine” public education.

Welcome to Cashing in on Kids, a newsletter for people who think public education should be truly, absolutely, authentically public—produced by In the Public Interest.

Not a subscriber? Sign up. And make sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 

Cuomo questions why school buildings still exit. Last Tuesday, New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) announced that he would work with Microsoft founder Bill Gates to “reimagine education,” with technology at the forefront. The next day, he tapped former Google chief executive Eric Schmidt to lead a new blue-ribbon commission to “reimagine” New York state. 

“Call it the ‘Screen New Deal,’” Naomi Klein writes. “Far more high-tech than anything we have seen during previous disasters, the future that is being rushed into being as the bodies still pile up treats our past weeks of physical isolation not as a painful necessity to save lives, but as a living laboratory for a permanent—and highly profitable—no-touch future.”

As Klein reports, the CEO of a company selling self-parking technology recently summed up the new virus-personalized pitch to government officials going on nationwide: “There has been a distinct warming up to human-less, contactless technology. Humans are biohazards, machines are not.” The Washington Post

Charters continue to seize public funds. Education professor Shawgi Tell looks at how charter schools are continuing to seize enormous sums of public funds during the pandemic. “There is no such thing as a public charter school, especially given the fact that charter schools are now openly claiming to be small private businesses so as to obtain public Small Business Administration money (from the CARES Act) that regular public schools, precisely because they are actually public, do not have access to.” Dissident Voice

Is blended learning on the horizon? Some in San Diego County think the pandemic will force school districts to switch to “blended learning,” an area dominated by charter schools. But others are raising caution. “Right now, it’s a time when everyone is going scrambling to try to find alternatives,” Roxana Marachi, education chair of the California NAACP, tells the San Diego Union-Tribune. “And so, unfortunately, it’s also a high time for the potential of exploitation of our communities.” The San Diego Union-Tribune

“The educational system actually belongs to us.” Parents in Minneapolis are being forced to fight off school closures and privatization in the midst of the pandemic. Citizen Truth

Controversial hire in Boston. The Boston Planning & Development Agency has appointed the former leader of a controversial charter school to its board. Brian Miller, founder of The Miller Group at Morgan Stanley, was a founding trustee and finance chair of the Boston Collegiate Charter School. Last November, more than 100 students walked out of the school to protest policies, practices, and a school culture they consider discriminatory and racist. Connect Boston

Education equity or else. The Schott Foundation is livestreaming an event on the danger and opportunity for public schools in the era of COVID-19, with Journey for Justice’s Jitu Brown and others. Watch “Education Equity or Else: The Danger & Opportunity for Public Schools in the Era of Covid” Thursday May 14 at 7pm ET. Schott Foundation