Pauline Lipman: The Attack on Public Education

Pauline Lipman is Professor of Policy Studies in the College of Education, University of Illinois-Chicago. Professor Lipman presented a powerful keynote at Saving Our Schools: Defending Public Education, a  March 27 conference co-sponsored by Citizens for Public Schools and the Public Higher Education Network of Massachusetts (PHENOM). Coming from Chicago, former home of U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Lipman described the devastating consequences of Duncan’s privatization efforts as CEO of Chicago public schools. She exhorted the audience to keep at the forefront a vision of what we want for our public schools:

We need more than opposition to what we are against. Forging a social movement to defend public education means defining what we are for. It is not surprising that some parents and students in Chicago are not enthusiastic about defending public education. Public schools, like other public services (think public assistance, public hospitals, the police) have a deeply flawed record of exclusion, disrespect, racism, hostility, even violence for working class and low-income people of color. Collectively developing a mandate for public education that is inclusionary, democratic, and just is one of our central tasks.

For an updated version of her full keynote address, click here.