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Enclosure: “Private companies will take over five public schools in Gary and Indianapolis”

The Associated Press and various news outlets reported yesterday how “Private companies will take over five public schools in Gary and Indianapolis.” This is a consequence of an assessment by the Indiana State Board of Education that the target schools are in “various stages of dire situations.” The students in these five schools surely deserve more educational opportunity that they have been getting, but it is also crucial to note what else is going on here. Two large and one small for-profit corporations are being handed five pieces of the former public realm and no one should expect to see these schools handed back to their communities. In keeping with the spirit of the age, corporations have allies in government willing to take public resources and responsibilities away from citizens and local communities and hand them over to private interest, for-profit corporations. The public realm shrinks and the private realm grows through processes of enclosure. The children of Indianapolis and Gary are now revenue-generating assets for Edison Learning, Inc., Charter Schools USA, and EdPower. Indianapolis parents who would rather not have their children turned into corporate beings have a choice–private parochial (Christian or Islamic) schools, which Indiana is also now subsidizing with tax funds via its new voucher program. Voucher-eligible, Christian options in Gary only go to grade 8, so parents at Gary Roosevelt High School will have to stick with Edison Learning, Inc. Those retrograde folks who still believe in community-driven, public interest activity will just have to get with the program and accept their new corporate overlords.

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