Monday, March 21, 2016

Thank you

Dear Readers,

Thank you for visiting The Perimeter Primate. This blog is being retired for the time being. Although I no longer post here, I do still share information and my perspectives on Twitter, including regular links to news about the Gülen Movement and its charter schools.

I launched The Perimeter Primate in February 2008 as a place to express my frustration and findings about the damaging corporate-type education reform being implemented here in Oakland and elsewhere. Los Angeles-based billionaire Eli Broad was having an outsized and negative impact on my daughters’ public school district, so I also created The Broad Report and posted there for a period of time.

During those early years I was thrilled to be able to connect with parents in other states who were experiencing the same type of public school system dismantling in their communities. Such is the power and tremendous potential of the internet. We eventually gathered in New York City to form Parents Across America in order to support other concerned parents who were experiencing the privatizers’ agenda, and to share with them what we knew.

It was around that time that I decided to do what I could to counter all the billionaire-funded charter school propaganda flooding the country. Knowing that charter schools were not all about goodness and light, I started Charter School Scandals (CSS) with the intention of it being a compilation of news reports about problems popping up at charter schools across the country, i.e. this one in Oakland.

Within a week or two of CSS’s launch in mid-May 2010, I encountered a set of articles about charter schools in Utah and Arizona that were believed to be linked to a mysterious Turkish religious community called the Gülen Movement.

At that point I’d never heard of the Gülen Movement and knew next to nothing about the Republic of Turkey. Then I realized a charter school with the same characteristics was operating in my town. This odd “coincidence” is what led me down the rabbit hole to the study of this secretive and controversial group’s involvement in the charter school sector. I’m especially proud to have contributed to KILLING ED, a new film about this situation.

Thanks to filmmaker Mark S. Hall, many more Americans are going to get up-to-speed on the Gülen Movement’s existence, its presence in the US, and its involvement in an enormous network of taxpayer-funded charter schools. You can watch the trailer below.

When I started The Perimeter Primate in early 2008, very little word was getting out to Americans about how US public education was in the midst of being privatized; those who suggested it were often labeled conspiracy theorists. Back then, the tip of the spear for exposing what was going on – as far as I knew – was Susan Ohanian, Gerald Bracey (d. 2009, what a tremendous loss!), and Jim Horn. Mainstream education writers would not touch the topic, and many still refuse to. At that point, Diane Ravitch had not yet published her first book, Anthony Cody hadn’t quite started blogging yet, and if Peter Green was, I wasn’t aware. So many wonderful activist/bloggers and valiant warriors are out there now, with a special h/t to Tim Furman.

I can’t close without mentioning one other major early influence on me: Naomi Klein’s book, Shock Doctrine - The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. Reading it was a visceral and life-changing experience. Although not about public education specifically, it opens with what was done to the public school system of New Orleans, post-Hurricane Katrina.

Make no mistake: US public education is in the midst of being privatized. I’m glad to have been able help my readers grasp that fact. More and more Americans are catching onto the agenda of the corporate powers, that one-tenth of the 1%. And although it might feel like it sometimes, resistance is definitely not futile.

Sharon Higgins
The Perimeter Primate

Trailer for KILLING ED from Visual Truth Projects on Vimeo.