Privatization: Vouchers and Charters,
The U.S. Mistrusts Education,
Politics Matters, Ethnic Labels
I added a number to the title of this post because I read the latest by Nancy Flanagan, an education blogger who is ending her tenure at Education Week to go out on her own. Read her stuff…
THE SIXTH EXTINCTION
Winner of the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction.
Kolbert shows us, without a shadow of a doubt, that the Earth is warming. Our food supplies and oxygen supply are at risk.
Simply put…There is just one country in the entire world – the United States, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the fossil fuel industry – which refuses to accept the truth. The ecosystem which has allowed humans to survive and thrive is dying; we’re killing it. We need to pay attention to the world’s scientists before it’s too late.
…having freed ourselves from the constraints of evolution, humans nevertheless remain dependent on the earth’s biological and geochemical systems. By disrupting these systems – cutting down tropical rainforests, altering the composition of the atmosphere, acidifying the oceans – we’re putting our own survival in danger. Among the many lessons that emerge from the geologic record, perhaps the most sobering is that in life, as in mutual funds, past performance is no guarantee of future results. When a mass extinction occurs, it takes out the weak and also lays low the strong. V-shaped graptolites were everywhere, and then they were nowhere. Ammonites swam around for hundreds of millions of years, and then they were gone. Richard Leakey has warned that
“Homo sapiens might not only be the agent of the sixth extinction but also risks being one of its victims.”
THE PAY GAP
Teachers are compensated at a lower rate than other professionals. Ironically, the teacher pay gap is approximately the same as the gender pay gap. Women earn less than men for the same work. The teaching profession, which is traditionally filled by women, receives less than those professions traditionally filled by men.
When adjusting only for inflation, the researchers found that teachers, compared to other college graduates, are paid nearly $350 less per week in salary in 2017, or 23 percent less.
When they adjusted for education, experience, and demographic factors, the gap had barely shrunk – 18.7 percent, up from 17 percent in 2015.
While benefits such as health insurance and retirement improved for teachers relative to other professionals during that period, the total compensation (wage and benefit) penalty for public school teachers grew from 10.5 percent to 11.1 percent in 2017.
VOUCHERS DIVERT PUBLIC MONEY TO RELIGIOUS INSTITUTIONS
Schools which accept vouchers in Indiana have a choice. They can either accept or reject your child. They don’t have to justify their choice. They can reject your child because of your family’s religious beliefs, your child’s sexual or gender preference, your child’s academic achievement level, or his or her behavior problems. The only “choice” parents have is whether or not to fill out an application for a private school. After that, it’s up to the school to choose the child.
Vouchers do not improve school achievement. Voucher schools are not subject to public oversight as are public schools.
…new studies have shown, not only do the claims made by voucher supporters fail to withstand closer scrutiny, these programs also allow private, often religious, schools to receive a skyrocketing volume of taxpayer funds without oversight. These facts should be enough to dissuade anyone from the notion that private school voucher programs are what’s best for America’s students.
First, public schools are under legal obligation to be open and nondiscriminatory in their acceptance of all students, regardless of race, sexual orientation or ability. Voucher programs, on the other hand, are governed by different laws in different states, but most allow private schools to accept taxpayer dollars but reject students with vouchers for a variety of reasons, ranging from disability to ability to pay.
That’s right: voucher programs actually fund discrimination. According to an analysis by the Huffington Post of the Florida Hope Scholarship Program—a voucher program aimed at public school students who have undergone bullying—10 percent of the schools participating in the program have “zero tolerance policies” for LGBTQ students. And nearly 20 percent of participating schools have dress-code policies that lead to disproportionately punish students of color.
CHARTER SCHOOLS: PRIVATE SCHOOLS DIVERTING PUBLIC MONEY TO PRIVATE WALLETS
Lack of public oversight has yielded a charter industry full of corruption and cheating. Public money should go to public schools…and all schools accepting public funds ought to subject to the same oversight, restrictions, and requirements.
As scandalous news stories and scathing reviews of the charter industry continue to emerge, the negative impacts these schools have on families and communities will prompt more to question the wisdom of expanding these schools and draw more attention to the need to ratchet up regulations for the charters already in existence.
THE U.S. DOESN’T VALUE AN EDUCATED CITIZENRY
In OECD nations, funding for education increased an average of 4% from 2010 to 2014. In the U.S. it dropped by 3%.
The United States has always had a national undercurrent of suspicion with respect to education. During the 2016 campaign, then Candidate Trump even went so far as to claim that “I love the poorly educated.” What he meant to say was that he loved everyone who supported him, but the implication, which has been borne out in his administration’s attitude towards public education, is that there was no need to improve the education of those who needed it the most — as long as they voted for him.
And Trump wasn’t the first to bring in the education level of voters to the campaign. In the 1952 campaign, Adlai Stevenson was branded an “egghead” by V-P candidate Richard Nixon. Richard Hofstadter, in his Pulitzer Prize-winning Anti-Intellectualism in American Life, wrote that the term was coined because “the country seemed to be in need of some term to express that disdain for intellectuals.”
School teachers have frequently been accused of being agents who disrupted tradition and taught children politics. A school board member (and local Eagle Forum member) in my district once accused staff members of exercising “mind-control” over students (something many of the teachers wished they could actually do in order to increase student attention to their assignments!). In another example, a Texas state school board member once proclaimed that “Somebody’s gotta stand up to experts” when educated people tried to explain why actual science needed to be included in the state science curriculum.
The title of this piece hits the nail on the head. We, as a nation, don’t value education and we don’t want to pay for it.
The Thomas B. Fordham Institute is a conservative think tank focused on education policy issues. One of their frequent contributors is a person named Dale Chu…
• Chu: Finally, there are those who argue that the system as it currently exists works perfectly fine for the era it was designed for (think the G.I. Bill and universal high school). In this view, education is wrongly perceived as broken. Moreover, the thinking goes, we won’t make any headway unless we solve larger societal issues like poverty or institutional racism—though for better or for worse, reformers tend to part ways when it comes to race.
VOTE YOUR INTEREST
Why do the poorest, sickest Americans vote for candidates who promise to take away their health-insurance? Why do struggling workers vote for candidates who promise to move their jobs overseas? Why do middle-class taxpayers vote for candidates who give tax breaks to the wealthy, reducing services for those who need it?
That was the astonishing conclusion of a study reported by Inc. The study ranked life expectancy in all 50 states, and came to some truly eye-opening conclusions. Among them: residents of Mississippi have the same life expectancy as residents of Bangladesh.
LABELS AND ETHNICITY
“Nazis march unmasked in our streets…too many of our police use murder and atrocity to ensure the social order.”
Labels reduce us to one thing: black, Hispanic, Jewish, Socialist. We’re all much more complicated than that.
I don’t want to live in a world where human beings are tattooed and numbered and sent to their deaths.
Because the Holocaust is not over.
American slavery is not over.
Neither is Jim Crow or lynching or a thousand other marks of hatred and bigotry.
Nazis march unmasked in our streets. Our prisons are the new plantation. And too many of our police use murder and atrocity to ensure the social order.
As long as we allow ourselves to be white, there will be no justice for both ourselves and others.