PAYING IT FORWARD
America’s future depends upon the education and care of all its children. Today’s high school graduates will be our leaders in 2040. Today’s kindergartners will be the policy-makers of 2060. Will those adults – today’s children – be ready to take the reins of government and policy-making? Or will they be living in a dying nation, wallowing in fear and ignorance?
Our national behavior today must be one of “paying it forward,” or our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren will suffer the consequences.
What would it take to truly educate America’s children?
1. We allow the question of “What should the government do, and what should private enterprise do?”—a totally ideological concept – to get in the way of providing collectively for our children…
2. We allow non-education “experts” to hang up shingles and pretend that we do not know what works…
3. We pretend there is not enough money to do the job well…while spending large proportions of our budgets on measuring rather than learning…
4. We allow businesses to demand that schools deliver specifically trained employees to their door with certifications, licenses, core skills, and work ethics to reduce their cost of doing business, but we do not ask them to pay their fair share to educate the workers they will need…
5. We insist we want to educate all children equally well, but sabotage poor districts when they do well…
6. We know from studies that the quality of teachers is the primary determiner, outside of quality of homelife and basic health, in whether a child/children learn well. Yet, we continue to micro-manage, undermine, underpay, and refuse to listen to teachers who have consistently performed well…
7. We continue to report and accept reports of school performance based on invalid and useless test scores as though they meant something…
8. We allow people to publicly lie about our schools, the children in them, and the people who work for them without contesting or refuting what they say on a regular basis…
THE IMPACT OF THE GOP HEALTH CARE PLAN ON STUDENTS
The proposed Senate GOP health care plan will cause emotional and physical shock for children in public schools. When that happens, perhaps the government will succumb to political pressure and turn public education over to the private sector in a perfect scenario of the Shock Doctrine. If that happens, prepare to see schools provide inadequate support for “unprofitable” children.
For the past three decades, Medicaid has helped pay for services and equipment that schools provide to special-education students, as well as school-based health screening and treatment for children from low-income families. Now, educators are warning that the GOP push to shrink Medicaid spending will strip schools of what a national superintendents association estimates at up to $4 billion per year.
That money pays for nurses, social workers, physical, occupational and speech therapists and medical equipment like walkers and wheelchairs. It also pays for preventive and comprehensive health services for poor children, including immunizations, screening for hearing and vision problems and management of chronic conditions like asthma and diabetes.
The loss of funding proposed in both the Republican budget and “health care” bill, is a purposeful destruction of the safety net for our neediest children.
Fleming County [Ky] Schools Superintendent Brian Creasman was taken aback when he discovered the bill would make cuts that could devastate his ability to provide health services to needy and disabled kids.
Here in rural Kentucky, the heart of Trump country where three out of four voters cast ballots for Donald Trump and many regard McConnell as their political protector, Creasman initially thought the bill’s potential cuts to school districts must be a misunderstanding.
Only they weren’t.
Vouchers don’t help children succeed. They are part of the plan to defund and destroy public education. U.S. Secretary of Education DeVos is fond of saying that parents should choose the “best fit” for their children. However, when the “best fit” doesn’t support the public good, then public funds ought not to be used.
You are welcome to choose a religious education for your child. In the Notes on the state of Virginia, Jefferson wrote, “it does me no injury for my neighbour to say there are twenty gods, or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.” There is a place for parochial education in the U.S.
When tax dollars are used to pay for a parochial education, however, it does pick my pocket, and ought to be prohibited.
“This study confirms what many have suspected – private school vouchers are not a solution to helping kids succeed in school,” Indiana State Teachers Association President Teresa Meredith said.
“As we see more and more evidence that private school vouchers aren’t benefiting kids, I call on legislators and the governor to undertake an analysis of the financial accountability of the state’s voucher program as well.”
But advocates of the program say it’s not just about academics, it’s about a parent’s choice to pick the proper educational environment for their child.
Wiley’s group pushes for school choice and said those using the study to criticize the program “have never said a positive thing about school choice in their lives.”
“Should Indiana policymakers be accountable to the public for using their tax dollars on a program that’s hurting children?” he asked, “Policymakers should pay attention to evidence, and not just advocacy groups!”
In a May 23 statement denouncing Trump’s education budget, the National Coalition for Public Education (NCPE) noted that the Indiana voucher program isn’t alone in its lack of academic success: “Recent research in Indiana, Louisiana, Ohio and Washington, D.C., is clear: Students who use vouchers perform worse academically than their peers who do not use vouchers.”
NCPE, which Americans United co-chairs, noted several other concerns: “[V]ouchers underserve many students, including low-income students who often cannot afford private schools even with a voucher, students in rural areas who may have no other educational options nearby, and students with disabilities who often cannot find private schools to serve their needs.”
Additionally, vouchers lack accountability to taxpayers, threaten the religious freedom of both taxpayers and religious schools and can deprive students of the rights guaranteed to public school students, NCPE pointed out…
|Bill Gates, Eli Broad, Mark Zuckerberg, Reed Hastings, Jeff Bezos, and the Walton Family|
Attending school does not make one an educational professional. Billions of dollars of personal wealth does not give one experience teaching children. Buying influence and political power does not help one understand child development. Teaching children, and learning about learning, takes more than a fat wallet.
This intellectual arrogance has never been demonstrated more clearly than in recent pronouncements concerning education in America. Brilliant people in diverse fields outside of education feel perfectly comfortable making judgments and policy recommendations about education that impacts millions of students as well as educational professionals. Their audacity is appalling and their ignorance is inexcusable. Bill Gates and his wife Melinda have announced their goal to prepare 80 percent of American high school students for entrance into universities. Eli Broad, another billionaire, gives money to school districts with the clear expectation that they will implement his business-based plans. Alan Bersin, a US Attorney political appointee, believed high school students would learn best with three hours a day of genre studies. He imposed this policy by threatening termination of educational professionals who disagreed with him. Similarly, mayors have their own ideas about how to improve student achievement, notably without any substantive research to support them. George Bush’s No Child Left Behind policy used testing to determine the success of schools, however testing in itself, has not provided solutions to educational achievement. Arne Duncan and President Obama pushed merit pay and charter schools when substantive research does not support either of these policy initiatives. Trump’s DeVos hasn’t a clue about educational research as her feeble efforts have ably demonstrated. The advocacy for these already repudiated initiatives reflects a lack of understanding of the ultimate impact on students and educational professionals.
ANOTHER TECH MONEY GRAB
Just another money grab by rich technocrats.
Personal learning entails working with each child to create projects of intellectual discovery that reflect his or her unique needs and interests. It requires the presence of a caring teacher who knows each child well.
Personalized learning entails adjusting the difficulty level of prefabricated skills-based exercises based on students’ test scores. It requires the purchase of software from one of those companies that can afford full-page ads in Education Week.