Posted in 1000 Words, SchoolFunding, Taxes, Testing, WaltonFamilyFoundation

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words – February, 2014

Here are some graphic images from around the net — plus my own 2 cents worth of comments. Click on any image to see the full sized version.

No More Taxes vs. You Get What You Pay For

We’re a selfish lot. As a nation, we don’t really care about each other or our collective children very much…other than the lip service we pay during elections. The “common wisdom” is that we’re over-taxed. Unfortunately that’s just a lie. We’re among the least taxed people in the industrialized world…and we have the lack of social safety nets to show it. Poor medical care and our incredibly high child poverty rate lead to a crisis in learning for our most vulnerable children…and we, as a nation, are unwilling to pay more. The “community” of America doesn’t exist. The attitude has become “what’s mine is mine and you can’t have it.”

As taxes on the wealthy and corporations continue to drop we keep waiting for the “job creators” to let the wealth trickle down to the bottom rungs of the economic ladder. In the meantime our “leaders,” bought and paid for by the low-tax-paying corporate donors, are redistributing the wealth to themselves and their supporters.

We are diverting a big chunk of what tax money we do have to privately operated schools. People expect high quality public services — snow removal, street repair, fire and police protection, military protection — but are unwilling to pay for it. Yet, we continue to vote against our own interests year after year…

Subsidizing the Richest People in America

Still shopping at Wal-Mart because you think it saves you money? While the Walton’s are avoiding taxes through loopholes allowed to the wealthy, their customers are paying the taxes that help support the store’s workers who make so little they’re entitled to public assistance. In other words, America’s taxpayers are subsidizing the payroll of Wal-Mart.

What are the Walton’s doing with their billions? They’re giving it to school privatizers who in turn, work to divert tax money from public schools to privately owned schools. Money lost to public schools means less materials, fewer teachers and larger class sizes, and less support.

Still think you’re saving money?

The Walmart 1%: Education

While the family funds charter schools, it seems clear that its real interest lies with voucher programs, a mechanism for school privatization through which public tax dollars can be diverted to private institutions. The late John Walton, son of Walmart founder Sam Walton, was recognized by Business Week in February 2000 as “a leading advocate for using ‘consumer choice’ to reform America’s schools”—that is, through the use of taxpayer-funded private school vouchers. Indeed, the family apparently began working on charter schools as a sort of compromise, only after it became clear that privatization of schools was a very controversial idea. [emphasis added]

Walmart Heirs Worth Same Amount As Bottom 40 Percent Of Americans In 2010: Analysis

…bringing a new Walmart to town may cost a community big time in lost wages. A planned Seattle-area Walmart could cost the area $14.5 million in lost wages over the next 20 years, a local advocacy group found…

Just Four Members of the Walton Family Have a Higher Net Worth Than All Walmart’s Workers Combined

But as many Walmart workers go on strike today, asking for wages high enough to lift them out of poverty, it’s worth pausing to consider just what they are asking for: Among other things, they essentially want those four Walton family members—who, together, still own a big chunk of the company—to be satisified with a tad less in shareholder returns.

Money Isn’t Going Where it’s Needed

We’re giving away our tax dollars to welfare for workers in low wage jobs at places like Wal-Mart and McDonalds. We’re giving away our tax dollars to privately run schools which leave the most expensive to educate children in the cash-strapped public schools. A larger and larger chunk of the money that is going to public schools is being spent on test prep, testing materials, and technology for testing.

Subsidizing the Rich in Education

U.S. Rare in Spending More Money on the Education of Rich Children

“The United States is one of few advanced nations where schools serving better-off children usually have more educational resources than those serving poor students,” writes Eduardo Porter for the New York Times. This is because a large percentage of funding for public education comes not from the federal government, but from the property taxes collected in each school district. Rich kids, then, get more lavish educations.

Testing

When can we stop wasting time and money on the overuse and misuse of tests? Here’s an idea…“Let’s have private school students take the same standardized tests that public school students now take each year.”

Study: High Standardized Test Scores Don’t Translate to Better Cognition

Even when students improve their scores on standardized tests, they don’t always improve their cognitive abilities…

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All who envision a more just, progressive and fair society cannot ignore the battle for our nation’s educational future. Principals fighting for better schools, teachers fighting for better classrooms, students fighting for greater opportunities, parents fighting for a future worthy of their child’s promise: their fight is our fight. We must all join in.

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Stop the Testing Insanity!
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Author:

Retired after 35 years in public education.