Budget Cuts, Testing,
Hiring Non-Educators for Education Positions,
Nominating a Pro-Privatization Judge
NEGLECTING OUR CHILDREN, AND OUR FUTURE
Kids are 25% of our population, 100% of our future, and 9% of federal spending…for now. “Kids’ Share” thinks the federal spending number will drop to less than 7%. Yet politicians, especially those who control the pursestrings, don’t recognize that there’s a relationship between the amount of money we spend on kids and the results we get.
I understand that the budget is tight…and we need support for other public services, but a 27% cut isn’t going to improve the care and education our children get.
Meanwhile, “reformers” continue to (wrongly) claim that they can do better than “failing public schools” and drain more money from the public schools.
“Kids’ Share” projects that Washington’s budget for health, nutrition, tax provisions, and education spending on children will drop from 9.4 percent of the fiscal 2017 budget to 6.9 percent after 10 years, a decline of 27 percent from 2017 levels. The Urban Institute expects spending on elementary and secondary education to dip to $37 billion from $42 billion, and for early-childhood education to drop to $14 billion from $15 billion, after adjusting for inflation.
As the money set aside for educating America’s children lessens, the gap between those children who grow up with enough, and those who don’t, widens. Politicians like to claim that the US is “the greatest country in the world.” You wouldn’t know it by paying attention to how we treat our children.
We’re doing nothing less than squandering our future.
“A shockingly high number of children in the U.S. live in poverty,” the United Nations special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Philip Alston, declared in a scathing report. Almost one-fifth of American children live in poverty, he noted, and they account for more than one-fifth of homeless people.
The big reason for school cuts from the state? Tax cuts for the wealthy. The poor and middle class are paying their fair share. A caring society – which I understand is not the US – would ask those who can, to pay more.
Most states still invest less in K-12 schools than they did in 2008, despite the fact that enrollment increased by over 1 million students nationwide between 2008 – 2016.
…It’s up to educators to call on their state’s elected leaders to:
1. Stop subsidizing corporations
2. Ask companies to pay their fair share in taxes
3. Raise income tax rates for top earners
4. Eliminate ALL voucher schemes
END TEST AND PUNISH!
Two years ago the NAACP called for a moratorium on charter schools. Now they’re calling for an end to high-stakes tests. Cheers!
…one-time, [high-stakes] standardized tests may have a disparate impact on students of color, many of whom have not had the benefit of high quality teaching staff (urban school districts have the greatest challenge in attracting and keeping highly qualified teachers), adequate classroom resources, or instruction on the content and skills being tested by the standardized tests. Considering additional measures of student achievement, such as grades and teacher evaluations, adds not only to the fairness of a decision with major consequences for students but also increases the validity of such high stakes decisions.
The test and punish plan for public education has failed. The NAACP understands. State governments don’t. The average person believes that test scores indicate the quality of a school and that erroneous belief is perpetuated by politicians and pundits.
…underneath any conversation about “failing” schools are lots of realities about segregation—by class and also by race.
Research has documented growing economic inequality and segregation by family income. Sean Reardon, a Stanford University sociologist, used a massive data set to document the consequences of widening economic inequality for children’s outcomes at school. Reardon showed that while in 1970, only 15 percent of families lived in neighborhoods classified as affluent or poor, by 2007, 31 percent of families lived in such neighborhoods. By 2007, fewer families across America lived in mixed income communities. Reardon also demonstrated that along with growing residential inequality is a simultaneous jump in an income-inequality school achievement gap. The achievement gap between the children with income in the top ten percent and the children with income in the bottom ten percent, was 30-40 percent wider among children born in 2001 than those born in 1975, and twice as large as the black-white achievement gap.
As a nation, we’re still hiring people to run school systems who don’t know anything about education…people like Arne Duncan, Margaret Spellings, and Betsy DeVos. Los Angeles is following suit, hiring a neo-liberal investment banker to run a K-12 school system with three-quarters of a million students.
When was the last time Beutner stepped into a K-12 classroom? When he was a student? For a photo op? That’s not good enough. It’s educational malpractice.
He’s got quite the résumé.
Austin Beutner, the new superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District, has been, among other things:
— Clinton administration appointee assigned with helping Russia transform from a centralized to free-market economy
— Successful investment banker
— First deputy mayor of Los Angeles, overseeing 12 city agencies
— Publisher and chief executive officer of the Los Angeles Times and San Diego Union-Tribune
— Major philanthropist
Now he is chief of the second-largest school district in the country. Experience in the classroom? Zilch. Operational experience in education systems? Nada.
Speaking of hiring…the judge that the President wants to hire for the US Supreme Court is no friend of public education…
National Education Association President Lily Eskelsen García said Kavanaugh will be a “rubber stamp” for the agenda of Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, including on school choice issues like vouchers. American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten said that a Supreme Court nominee “should be fair, independent and committed to protecting the rights, freedoms and legal safeguards that protect every one of us. Judge Kavanaugh does not meet this standard.”