The school system is one of America's last public treasures, but corporate interests represented by private schools, charter schools, and virtual schools are launching a new push to help privatize them.
Dubbed "School Choice Week," a coalition of these schools is launching 3,500 events this week to advocate for school vouchers, the expansion of charter schools, and other policies that would help privatize education.
The kick-off event for the group featured a concert and rally hosted by the Jonas Brothers in Phoenix, Arizona. Organizers described their push for school vouchers as equivalent to the battle for civil rights and woman's suffrage:
Just as whistle-stop tours were used to promote civil rights like women’s suffrage to the end of racial segregation, the National School Choice Week ‘Special’ will draw attention to the great civil rights fight of the 21st century: school choice for all Americans regardless of their race, income, zip code or learning ability.
But it should be noted that this coalition doesn't consist just of grassroots activists like the civil rights movement did. On its website, you can see that it has support from the New Jersey Business and Industry Association and a number of virtual schools that would profit from greater access to public dollars.
And it's also important to remember a key study released late last year that found that the proliferation of charter schools has actually increased racial segregation, a blow to civil rights.