No one should ever forget that one of the leaders in the profits before kids charter school movement is Hillsdale College. Their brand of for-profit charter schools which they call, “Classical Education”, is a nice way of saying Christian conservative education that bears little relevance to what students actually need to be prepared in a modern workforce and world. Hillsdale College last year took some much needed criticism university president Larry Arnn commented that the state had come to investigate whether Hillsdale College had enough “dark ones” enrolled.
Larry Arnn’s racist comment is nothing compared to the scandal his predecessor left behind, but personal conduct or horrendous bigotry has nothing to do with running a Christian conservative college, or fostering charter schools around the country.
Or does it?
Downstate near Holly, Michigan, lives a man named Pasquale “Pat” Battaglia. Self-labeled as a Christian husband father grandfather, he wants to open Hillsdale College-style charter schools in Southeast Michigan. Currently, he is working on securing a building to open a school in Brighton and another is projected to open in Warren in 2015. These schools according to him are based on the Hillsdale Academy model, which the college publishes reference manuals for $100 a pop so you too can run a for-profit charter school cleverly disguised as a Christian private school that fleeces public tax dollars.
He’s written impassioned letters on nearby local tea party websites asking people to help him open up new charter schools so he can bring back real education to American children based on what the founding fathers would have wanted.
The letter begins with an obvious dog whistle:
I guarantee to you folks that the kids that we see who are in the process of completely soiling the tenants of our Western Civilization are a products of the government run school systems, kindergarten thru grad school. What do we do?
Apparently write letters with glaring spelling and grammatical errors. That will show people you’re the guy who’s qualified to operate a school.
We can get a clear picture of what kind of person Pat is from looking at his online presence. Remember that bit about kids soiling the tenants of our western civilization attending public schools? What kids could he be talking about?
Oh of course he means those kids. What else does he have to say about certain people soiling western civilization?
Not quite as dog whistlely there. It’s okay to hate Muslims openly in western civilization. Being a tea party supporter, what could he have to say about the president and first lady?
Haha! See what he did there? By ‘paraphrasing’ Plato you’re not supposed to know he just riffed on Obama for being inferior to him! Praise Jesus for the Southern Strategy! In fact, throughout Battaglia’s post history, you will see him refer to President Obama as “Potentate O.” That’s because he doesn’t consider the president to be a real president.
As for Battaglia’s opinion of the First Lady:
And finally, here’s an exciting conversation Battaglia had with a scientist about climate change. Guess which side of that debate he’s on?
Heaven help us indeed.
Here’s the problem with the notion the schools we had 200 years ago were better than what we have now. Most children never went to school, and if they did manage to get a year or two of education, it was at a dame school being run in the neighborhood or a few years in a writing school. Only about ten out of every one hundred people graduated from any formal education setting. It was simply too expensive for most people to send their children to school. Is this really what Pasquale Battaglia wants to do to American education? Somehow it seems unlikely, or his for-profit charter schools won’t stay open for long.
Pasquale Battaglia wants to open schools that according to him teach proper “western civilization” values, but in reality would be taxpayer-funded hives of racism that perpetuate hate onto the next generation. School choice is a dog whistle for segregation.