My Interview with Counterpunch
Sacramento jounralist Seth Sandronsky learned of the release of my book, A Chronicle of Echoes, and requested an interview on the book and other issues, including questions about my personal history and varied education reform topics.
His interview is posted in the online publication, Counterpunch
May 14, 2014
An Interview With Mercedes K. Schneider
Bill Gates and the Push to Privatize Public Education
by SETH SANDRONSKY
Mercedes K. Schneider holds degrees in secondary education (English and German), guidance and counseling, and applied statistics and research methods. She is finishing her 19th full-time year of teaching, 14 of which have been as a certified teacher in the traditional public school classroom. Schneider lives in her native southern Louisiana and blogs on education issues at deutsch29.wordpress.com. Information Age Publishing just released Schneider’s first book, A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who in the Implosion of American Public Education, which is climbing in popularity on Amazon. Her book unpacks the whys and wherefores of the groups and people propelling the corporate assault on the nation’s public K-12 schools. She and I conducted this interview via email.
Seth Sandronsky: Talk about who you are and the actors (family influences) and factors (class interests) that produced Mercedes K. Schneider today.
Mercedes K. Schneider: One major influence on my development was my father. He thought I was smart and strong, and he told people so in front of me. He also enjoyed conversing with me about history and politics (he served in World War II under Army General George Patton). He died when I was only 12 (today happens to be the 34th anniversary of his funeral), but his influence on me during my formative years was undeniable. He allowed me to work part time at an early age (11 years). He also allowed me to pursue my varied interests despite their unusualness. For example, I had a Honda CT 70 minibike, and I remember sitting on our patio cleaning the carburetor as he watched. I also rebuilt bicycles and sold them and repaired appliances. He was clearly proud of me.
Another major influence was my teachers. I am a product of public schools and state universities. So many of my teachers took obvious pleasure in my abilities. I am able to function well in both math and English. I did not know until I was an adult that functioning well in both is unusual.
SS: In A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who in the Implosion of American Public Education, you investigate and reveal the corporate actors and factors driving school reform: “The primary motivation behind this destruction is greed.” How does that motive work in politics?
MKS: One of the best examples of greed driving the political process is the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Corporations pay thousands of dollars annually to belong to ALEC, but legislators pay $100. Legislators are then “scholarshipped” to attend conventions that second as appealing vacations.
ALEC’s corporate members foot the bill in exchange for legislators’ taking corporate-benefiting “model legislation”—including education legislation—back to their districts. All are happy: ALEC’s corporate members increase profits via legislation designed to protect the profit motive; legislators receive”perks” such as nice vacations called “conventions” and they get to take credit for the model legislation. Thus begins a cycle of corporations and legislators “helping” each other to serve their own selfish purposes in a twisted mockery of democracy.
To read the rest of the interview, click here.