Research Example 1

Saltman, Kenneth J. “Capitalizing on Disaster: How the Political Right Is Using Disaster to Privatize Public Schooling.” JAC 28, no. 1/2 (2008): 11-27.

This research by Keneth J. Saltman uses a correlational research logic to analyze the harmful impacts of educational policies such as the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), the Renaissance 2010 project in Chicago schools, “educational” restructuring in Iraq by U.S. companies, and the privatization of New Orleans Public Schools after Hurricane Katrina. While the research focuses on four different educational case studies, I was able to gain more information on corporate, for-profit responses to natural disasters that exploit communities with high poverty rates and residents of color. In describing the actions and policies used to make corporate profits Saltman calls such actions systems of “urban cleansing”. These systems operate off of high-pressure models that pose threats to educational opportunities and teacher’s job security even in the wake of a natural disaster that blocks many students from returning to school without buying into new privatized, for-profit charter schools at rates they cannot afford. While a large proportion of the privatization of public schools in New Orleans was seen as a response to the damage by Hurricane Katrina by private companies, the threat of privatization of school systems was felt at smaller rates prior to the disaster. Board members and politicians, especially the Louisianna Governor, held the threat of turning over “failed” schools to the economic market to be privatized and restructured when in reality they were “failing” due to inadequate funding and resources. However, when Katrina hit, the governor used the opportunity to bring in notorious for-profit companies like the Edison Schools to restructure many New Orleans school systems, destroying public education systems in order to profit off of the control of privatized education. For-profit companies such as the Edison Schools used the disaster of Hurricane Katrina to expand the reach and profits of dominantly white businesses and right-wing conservative politicians through educational privatization that further ostracized and displaced poor and black communities in the wake of the hurricane. The privatization of public schools is eerily similar to the privatization of for-profit prisons, further solidifying oppressive systems of for-profit control the feed the school-to-prison pipeline.


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