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The Myth of School Choice

June 19, 2014 Leave a comment

Timeless Posts XIX

Over the past three decades, conservative and neo-liberal politicians have convinced many voters that the private sector can provide public goods more effectively and efficiently than the government. They base this assertion on the theories of libertarian and conservative economists who have faith that an unregulated marketplace will provide goods fairly, efficiently, and effectively. These free-market economists and politicians contend that if public goods were subject to market forces and the creative destruction that results from market forces, the price of services would decline and their quality would improve. This would benefit taxpayers who would experience lower taxes and benefit citizens who would receive better services.

Education is one area of the public sector where there is no debate over privatization between the two political parties. The neo-liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans both agree that parents want to have choices for their child’s school the same way consumers have choices when they buy detergent in the grocery store. Their vision is to create a public education system where informed parent-consumers would be able to choose the best school for their child. This school-choice concept seems like a common sense, but it fails in practice for two major reasons: parents, especially parents who live in impoverished communities or neighborhoods have limited choices in the public schools; and even if all parents DID have a wide array of choices they do not have the information they need to be “informed consumers”.

Parents, particularly those in high-poverty neighborhoods or towns, have limited choice because they are unable to select from the better schools located in nearby or readily accessible affluent communities. School boards and elected officials who govern schools in affluent communities know that parents in their town chose their residences based on the quality of schools. Parents in affluent communities value smaller classes, high quality teachers, and a wide range of courses and activities, and they willingly pay higher taxes to provide those elements in their public schools. If these schools expand their populations by accepting students from nearby schools they would strain their facilities, resources and budgets. In doing so they would compromise the quality of the schools and, in turn, erode their property values. Consequently, a parent in the Bronx, where class sizes are in the mid-20s, is not able to choose a school in nearby Bronxville, where class sizes are under 20. Boundaries between districts are impermeable, which means a parent’s “choice” is restricted to those schools within the boundaries of the city or town where they reside.

School choice, a key element of privatization, is based on the flawed notion that parents are “informed consumers” who have the information available to them to make a sound decision regarding their child’s education. At the same time, however, the politicians and economists who advocate for “choice” and privatization also champion de-regulation, which limits the accuracy of the information available to parents. The financial sector provides glaring examples of how unregulated businesses limited, withheld, and manipulated the information they provided to consumers. Banks issued “liar loans” to unqualified borrowers by withholding or glossing over important information. These same banks colluded with rating agencies to misrepresent information about the toxic mortgages they bundled into “innovative products” misleading even sophisticated financial analysts. They then colluded to manipulate the interest rates they charged to each other, masking weaknesses in the market.

But even highly regulated sectors of the economy provide poor information for consumers, as a trip to any grocery store demonstrates. What does “organic” mean? What kinds of antibiotics are injected in our meats? What’s been sprayed on our fruits and vegetables? Are our fruits, vegetables, and meats genetically modified? The food industry recently invested millions of dollars to fight a referendum in California seeking to have the use of GMOs labeled clearly on crops sold in stores so consumers could make informed decisions. Indeed, businesses (including for profit charter schools) spend millions of dollars on advertising, which intentionally misleads and misinforms consumers. In short, it is unrealistic to expect parents to get the clear and accurate information they need to make a rational choice regarding the school they are choosing.

Knowing that the parents of the neediest children will not have access to the best schools and knowing that privatization will not provide parents with clear and helpful information regarding schools, why do politicians agree that school choice is a good idea? They agree because “choice” is intuitively appealing and logically defensible in a theoretical universe where parents could move freely into any school and where information is free flowing and clear. Best of all, IF you lived in such a universe the overall cost of schooling would be lower and parent-consumers would be more satisfied. We do not live in this ideal universe and we cannot create it without eliminating state and local control of schools. Since we don’t live in the ideal universe that is the basis for school choice and never will in our lifetimes, if we want to provide equal opportunities for all children our country we will need to find a way to make all of our schools as good as those in our most affluent communities. Until we do so, expect the divide between classes to expand, the opportunities for children raised in poverty to diminish, and the American ideal of class mobility to disappear.

Racing to the Top: The Prequel

June 18, 2014 Leave a comment

Timeless Posts XVIII

The conclusion: I worked for several weeks on an RTTT grant that was not funded.

In an earlier post, I reported that I was exploring the possibility of submitting a Race to the Top District grant. As of Friday, it is evident that I will be playing some role in the development of a Race to the Top proposal that will be submitted by at least five New Hampshire school districts, two of which are in the North Country where I am doing consulting work. This post describes how this came to pass.

In late May, when I returned from a three week camping trip to the Four Corners, I read with great interest that the US Department of education was launching a new Race to the Top competition that was aimed at DISTRICTS as opposed to STATES and would emphasize personal learning plans as the basis for measuring student (and teacher) progress as opposed to using standardized achievement tests. Furthermore, it was allowing consortia of districts to apply, so long as the consortia represented schools with at least 40% of the student population qualifying for free and reduced lunch and all of the schools were “rural” based on the USDOE’s definition. This set of conditions matched the districts I am working with as part of my consulting work with North Country Education Services and the emphasis on personalization resonated with me.

As two of the white papers found elsewhere in this blog indicate, I was on record at the NH State Department as being opposed to Race to the Top as it was originally conceived and supportive of waivers so long as a different form of metrics was used. I submitted the first white paper, “Race To The Top: NO“, to NH State Commissioner Ginny Barry a week in advance of a State Superintendents meeting and was pleasantly surprised to see that she had made copies of the six page essay and circulated to my colleagues and used it as the basis for discussion. When I read about the USDOE’s decision to grant waivers to States in fall of 2011, I got a copy of the State’s draft waiver submission and wrote another white paper, “NCLB Waivers: A chance to Get the Metrics Right”, which I mailed to Ginny Barry. Her administrative assistant emailed me and invited me to attend a planning session of the team that was preparing the waiver. The general theme of the white paper was the absurdity of using standardized achievement test results as the basis for determining “value added” and urged the state to consider a wider array of metrics. I was discouraged to learn that the waiver requirements from the federal government did not provide an avenue for the State to use any kind of metric other than standardized achievement tests and effectively required the state to use test results as the be all and end all of teacher accountability.

Given this background, I sent an email to the Deputy Commissioner Paul Leather in late May asking if the North Country Education Services might apply for this grant. His quick response was: “we should talk”. Over the next three weeks, I gave two power point presentations to the Superintendents in the North Country, wrote an extended essay (see below) describing a plan that might be the basis for a Race to the Top submission, and— using the DRAFT RFP available on the USDOE web site— developed a one page synopsis of the conditions the district(s) would need to meet in order to apply. I also reached out to the Superintendent in SAD 44 in Bethel ME and the Northeast Kingdom Superintendents to see if they might be interested in forming an interstate consortium. At the request of the State Department of Eduction’s liaison to the North Country I called the NH-NEA liaison to the State’s Task Force on Professional Evaluation and three different organizations with experience in grant writing. The stage was set for seeking a Race To The Top District Grant…. and the consensus of my colleagues in the North Country and all of the folks I talked with was to wait to see what the final RFP looked like and then loop back to see if a submission was feasible. The conventional wisdom was that after July 4th the final RFP would be available and we could get a running start on the submission over the summer.

The waiting was longer than any of us expected. In mid August the final RFP was posted. The application was daunting in its length and would clearly require some professional assistance. I contacted one of the organizations who I conferred with in mid July and they emailed that they needed to confer with their CEO before getting back to me.  Shortly thereafter I received an email from John Freeman, an old friend and colleague who I hired to be Elementary Principal in Bethel, ME in the early 1980s and who was now Superintendent in a small district in NH. He had a grant writing partner and was looking for districts to join his to form a consortium that might apply for a Race To The Top grant. He got my name from the State Department of Education. On Friday, John Freeman told USDOE that he would be applying as the lead district in a consortium of NH rural school districts. I’m not sure what form the grant submission will take, but pasted below is the extended essay describing a plan that might be the basis for a Race To The Top submission:

 

 

 

The Race to the Top Steering Committee would oversee the work of five distinct but inter-related task forces for Evaluation, Data Management, Assessment, Curriculum, and Community Outreach. The Committee members would be appointed by the NCES Executive Board and serve throughout the life of the RT3-D grant. At the conclusion of the grant cycle, members would cycle off over a three-year period or be re-appointed for a three-year term. At least one representative from the Steering Committee would serve as a liaison to each Task Force and be responsible for posting the task force meetings, maintaining minutes of each task force meeting, and ensuring that the committee is on track to complete its work in keeping with the time lines incorporated in the grant documents. The proposed mission statements, membership, and time lines for each committee is attached.

EVALUATION TASK FORCE

Mission: By 2014-15, adopt and implement evaluation systems for teachers, school-based administrators, central office instructional administrators, and school boards. The evaluation systems must meet the standards set forth by the RT3-D grant RFP.

 

Evaluation Task Force Membership: The Evaluation Task Force will be comprised of the sub-committee chairs (see below) and a Steering Committee liaison to each sub-committee.

 

Sub-Committees: Given the breadth of evaluation systems to be developed, the Evaluation Task Force will be divided into three (3) sub-committees: teacher evaluation; principal evaluation; and Superintendent evaluation. The sub-Committees will review the evaluation systems recommended by the NH Task Force on Effective Teaching and recommend either universal adoption of one of the systems recommended by the Task Force or demonstrate how the teacher evaluation systems adopted by individual districts can be used to evaluate the effectiveness of teachers in a fashion that matches the grant expectations.

Evaluation Task Force Sub-Committee Overview:

Teacher Evaluation Sub-Committee:

  • Participating LEAs would commit to sending representatives to serve on a Teacher Evaluation Sub-Committee in 2012-13 and be committed to implementing a new evaluation system no later than 2014-15
  • Committee members will include six (6) teacher representatives selected by NH-NEA and the NH-VEA; two (2) superintendents, two (2) building administrators selected by the NCES Executive Board; and one liaison from the Steering Committee.
  • The NH SIG Teacher rubric, the NH Task Force on Effective Teaching’s Final Report, and the “VT Plan to Meeting USDOE Waiver requirements” would inform the development of a new evaluation format. Based on the RFP for the RT3-D grant, the evaluation format must “meaningfully differentiate performance using at least three levels” and include the following metrics for evaluating teacher performance:
    •  Student growth and achievement (as measured by State and local assessments)
    • Professional practice
    • Evidence that the teacher uses information provided by the data system to personalize education (as measured by the frequency the teacher accesses the student’s personal learning plan)
    • Survey data to attain 360-degree review

Principal (i.e. building level administrator) Sub-Committee:

  • Participating LEAs would commit to sending representatives to serve on a Principals Evaluation Sub-Committee in 2012-13 and be committed to implementing a new evaluation system no later than 2014-15
  • Committee members will include four (4) Principals; two (2) Superintendents selected by NCES Executive Board; one Steering Committee liaison
  • NH SIG Principal effectiveness rubric and the “VT Plan to Meeting USDOE Waiver requirements” would inform the development of a new evaluation format. Based on the RFP for the RT3-D grant, the evaluation format must “meaningfully differentiate performance using at least three levels” and include the following metrics for measuring principal performance:
    • Student growth and achievement (as measured by State and local assessments)
    • Professional practice
    • Evidence that the teacher and the principal use information provided by the data system to personalize education (as measured by the frequency the teacher accesses the student’s personal learning plan)
    • Survey data to achieve 360-degree review

Superintendent Evaluation Sub-Committee:

  • Participating LEAs would commit to sending representatives to serve on a Superintendent Evaluation Sub-Committee in 2012-13 and be committed to implementing a new evaluation system no later than 2014-15
  • Committee members will include four (4) Superintendent representatives selected by the NCES Executive Board; one (1) building administrator; one (1) NEA representative; one (1) representative from a State School Board Association; and one liaison from the Steering Committee.
  • The NHSBA best practices for evaluating the Superintendent would inform the development of a new evaluation format. Based on the RFP for the RT3-D grant, the evaluation format must include the following metrics for measuring the Superintendent’s performance:
    • Feedback from “…many stakeholders, including but not limited to educators, principals, and parents”
    • Student growth and achievement (as measured by State and local assessments)

 

CURRICULUM TASK FORCE

Mission: By 2014-15, identify, recommend for adoption and implement curriculum materials for teachers at all grade levels that complement state and local assessments and meet the Common Core Standards adopted by the respective State Boards of Education.

 

Curriculum Task Force Membership: The Curriculum Task Force will be comprised of the sub-committee chairs (see below) and two Steering Committee liaisons who will attend sub-committee meetings on an ad hoc basis.

 

Sub-Committees: The Curriculum Task Force will be divided into six (6) sub-committees as follows:

  • (K-5) literacy;
  • (K-5) mathematics;
  • (K-5) literacy as it applies to social studies/science/technology;
  • (6-12) literacy;
  • (6-12) mathematics;
  • (6-12) literacy as it applies to social studies/science/technology;

 

Curriculum Task Force Sub-Committee Overview

  • Participating LEAs would commit to sending representatives to serve on at least one curriculum committee.
  • Committee members will include six-to-ten (6-10) teacher representatives selected by the NCES Executive Board; and one administrative liaison that will handle the logistics for planning the sub-committee meetings and the dissemination of minutes.
  • The Sub-Committee will:
    • Review existing curriculum materials available to classroom teachers to determine their appropriateness given the changes to state assessments and the adoption of the Common Core Standards
    • Identify open and commercial digital learning content that matches content tested on state assessments and incorporated in the common core.
    • Communicate regularly with members of the Assessment and Data Management Task Forces to ensure alignment between local assessments and curriculum materials
    • Recommend the universal adoption of curriculum materials in the six broad content areas or demonstrate how the curriculum materials in use by individual districts can be used to evaluate the effectiveness of the

 

DATA MANAGEMENT TASK FORCE

Mission: By 2014-15, identify, recommend for adoption, and implement a learning management system for teachers at all grade levels that personalizes instruction for students, complements state and local assessments, and aligns with the Common Core Standards adopted by the respective State Boards of Education.

 

Data Management Task Force Membership: The Data Management Task Force will be selected by the NCES Executive Board and will consist of five (5) technology integration teachers from the schools; the NCES technology staff; two (2) at-large representatives with data management experience (i.e. health care; university staff); and the Steering Committee liaison.

 

Data Management Task Force Overview

  • Review existing learning management systems to determine their appropriateness given the changes to state assessments, the adoption of the Common Core Standards, and the plan to expand the use of data to inform instruction
  • Review existing infra-structure in place in each school to determine upgrades needed to expand the use of digital learning content and the expansion of digital assessments
  • Determine the need for standardization of hardware in order to provide a common learning management system
  • Explore grant sources and/or partnerships in order to expand the use of technology applications in schools.
  • Communicate regularly with members of the Assessment and Curriculum Task Forces to ensure alignment

 

ASSESSMENT TASK FORCE

Mission: By 2014-15, identify local assessments drawn from North Country teachers at all grade levels that support the personalization of instruction for students, complement state assessments, and align with the Common Core Standards adopted by the respective State Boards of Education. These local assessments will be adopted for inclusion in a database that will be used in all North Country schools. The Assessment Task Force will also be responsible for designing local assessments that will be used to determine Readiness for Kindergarten; College entry; and Career entry

 

Assessment Task Force Membership: The Assessment Task Force will be will be comprised of the sub-committee chairs (see below), two Steering Committee liaisons who will attend sub-committee meetings on an ad hoc basis, and a consultant who will serve as a resource to the group.

 

Sub-Committees: The Assessment Task Force will be divided into six (6) sub-committees as follows:

  • Kindergarten readiness;
  • Local Assessments to complement State literacy assessments;
  • Local Assessments to complement State mathematics assessments;
  • Local Assessments to complement State social studies//science/technology assessments;
  • College Readiness;
  • Career readiness

 

Assessment Sub-Committee Overview

Kindergarten readiness:

  • Participating LEAs would commit to sending representatives to serve on a Kindergarten Assessment Sub-Committee in 2012-13 and be committed to implementing a new Kindergarten Readiness assessment no later than 2014-15
  • Committee members will include six (6) teacher representatives, three each from pre-K programs and Kindergarten; two (2) liaisons from the Community Outreach committee, two (2) building administrators selected by the NCES Executive Board; and one liaison from the Steering Committee.
  • The NH “Ready!” assessment and the NH TS Gold Pre-School Special Ed Assessment would inform the development of a new Readiness assessment.

 

Local Literacy Assessments:

  • Participating LEAs would commit to sending representatives to serve on a Local Language Arts Assessment Sub-Committee in 2012-13 and be committed to implementing a new Local Language Arts assessment no later than 2014-15
  • Committee members will include six (6) teacher representatives, two (2) building administrators selected by the NCES Executive Board; and one liaison from the Steering Committee. The assessment consultant will attend on an ad hoc basis.
  • The new state assessments in reading and writing and the Common Core in those content areas would inform the development of new local assessments. Based on the RFP for the RT3-D grant, the assessments must be “rigorous and relevant” and yield results that are “actionable performance measures that will assist grantees and the USDOE in managing both leading indicators of implementation success and outcome measures of performance”.

 

Local Mathematics assessments:

  • Participating LEAs would commit to sending representatives to serve on a Local Mathematics Assessment Sub-Committee in 2012-13 and be committed to implementing a new Mathematics assessment no later than 2014-15
  • Committee members will include six (6) teacher representatives, two (2) building administrators selected by the NCES Executive Board; and one liaison from the Steering Committee. The assessment consultant will attend on an ad hoc basis.
  • The new state assessments in mathematics and Common Core would inform the development of new local assessments. Based on the RFP for the RT3-D grant, the assessments must be “rigorous and relevant” and yield results that are “actionable performance measures that will assist grantees and the USDOE in managing both leading indicators of implementation success and outcome measures of performance”.

 

Local Social Studies/Science/Technology assessments:

  • Participating LEAs would commit to sending representatives to serve on a Local Science Assessment Sub-Committee in 2012-13 and be committed to implementing a new Local Language Arts assessment no later than 2014-15
  • Committee members will include six (6) teacher representatives, two (2) building administrators selected by the NCES Executive Board; and one liaison from the Steering Committee. The assessment consultant will attend on an ad hoc basis.
  • The new state science assessments and Common Core would inform the development of new local assessments. Based on the RFP for the RT3-D grant, the assessments must be “rigorous and relevant” and yield results that are “actionable performance measures that will assist grantees and the USDOE in managing both leading indicators of implementation success and outcome measures of performance”.

 

College readiness:

  • Participating LEAs would commit to sending representatives to serve on a College Readiness Assessment Sub-Committee in 2012-13 and be committed to implementing a new College Readiness assessment no later than 2014-15
  • Committee members will include six (6) teacher representatives, at least one of whom has experience in guidance counseling; three (3) liaisons from higher education, preferably members of the Community Outreach committee, two (2) building administrators selected by the NCES Executive Board; and one liaison from the Steering Committee.
  • The existing assessments used to determine the need for remediation would inform the development of a new College Readiness assessment. Based on the RFP for the RT3-D grant, all students “…should be able to, or be on a trajectory to, demonstrate content and skills mastery and credentialing for the State and LEA’s college and career ready graduation requirements”. The “college ready” assessments must yield results that will help schools accomplish that goal.

 

Career readiness:

  • Participating LEAs would commit to sending representatives to serve on a Career Readiness Assessment Sub-Committee in 2012-13 and be committed to implementing a new Career Readiness assessment no later than 2014-15
  • Committee members will include six (6) teacher representatives, at least one of whom has experience in vocational counseling and two of whom are vocational educators; three (3) liaisons from the business community, preferably members of the Community Outreach committee, two (2) building administrators selected by the NCES Executive Board; and one liaison from the Steering Committee.
  • The existing assessments used to determine the need for remediation would inform the development of a new Career Readiness assessment. Based on the RFP for the RT3-D grant, all students “…should be able to, or be on a trajectory to, demonstrate content and skills mastery and credentialing for the State and LEA’s college and career ready graduation requirements”. The “college ready” assessments must yield results that will help schools accomplish that goal.

 COMMUNITY OUTREACH TASK FORCE

Mission: Serve as liaison to parents, the business community, higher education, public and private agencies that serve youth, and community members.

 

Community Outreach Task Force Membership: The Community Outreach Task Force will be selected by the NCES Executive Board and will consist of ten representatives from parent organizations, the business community, higher education, public and private agencies that serve youth, and the community at large, and the Steering Committee liaison.

 

Data Management Task Force Overview

  • Review existing alliances between public education and the various constituent groups to determine ones that could be replicated in other LEAs and/or schools.
  • Identify gaps in services to children and develop a means of filling those gaps through grant sources and/or partnerships among groups on Task Force
  • Identify committee members or community members to serve as liaisons to other Task Forces.
  • Assist in the development of community surveys, other means of communication.

TAX ME… End Poverty

June 17, 2014 Leave a comment

Timeless Posts XVII

When I spent a week at Chautauqua earlier this month (in August 2012), one of the people staying in our group residence had a bright yellow pin that read “TAX ME…. end poverty”. When I commented favorably on the pin, she took it off and gave it to me. After reading “America’s Aversion to Taxes”, Eduardo Porter’s article in the August 14  NYTimes, I have some facts and figures that I can use to explain why many of us in the top 20% need to start wearing this pin.

Before you start complaining about taxes, consider this set of facts drawn from Porter’s article with my emphases added:

Every developed country aspires to provide a better life for its people. The United States, among the richest of all, fails in important ways. It has the highest poverty and the highest infant mortality among developed nations. We provide among the least generous unemployment benefits in the industrial world. Not long ago one of the most educated countries in the world, the United States is slipping behind.

The reason is not difficult to figure out: rich though we are, we can’t afford the policies needed to improve our record. The politicians in Washington all know that we face a long-term fiscal crisis. By 2020, 70 million Americans are expected to be on Social Security, up from 45 million in 2000. The ranks on Medicare will swell to 64 million, up from 40 million in 2000. Virtually every economist knows that just maintaining Medicare and Medicaid benefits will require raising taxes on the middle class…..

Citizens of most industrial countries have demanded more public services as they have become richer. And they have been by and large willing to pay more taxes to finance them. Since 1965, tax revenue raised by governments in the developed world have risen to 34 percent of their gross domestic product from 25 percent, on average.

The big exception has been the United States. In 1965, taxes collected by federal, state and municipal governments amounted to 24.7 percent of the nation’s output. In 2010, they amounted to 24.8 percent. Excluding Chile and Mexico, the United States raises less tax revenue, as a share of the economy, than every other industrial country.

No wonder we can’t afford to keep more children alive. In 2007, the most recent year for which figures are available, the United States government spent about 16 percent of its output on social programs — things like public health, food and housing for the poor. In Italy, that figure was 25 percent.

In this blog I’ve cited may articles written about “failing public schools” and taken the position that this “failure” is sadly limited to those schools serving children raised in poverty, children born into families where education is undervalued and the parent engagement is lacking. This isn’t an “excuse”, it is a statement of fact: the schools with the lowest test scores, lowest graduation rates, and lowest college attending rates are the schools serving the poorest children… and the schools who excel in those areas are those schools serving affluent children. I know that charter school advocates will point to successes in some of their schools. But charters serve parents who want their children to have a better life… and those children have an asset that exceeds a family’s financial wherewithal: an engaged and caring parent. In order for public schools to reach children in families where parents are disengaged and disaffected, early and consistent intervention is needed— and that intervention requires an investment in social programs.

The math in Porter’s article is fairly straightforward: we spent 9% less of our output on social programs than Italy and raised 9% less of our GDP for taxes… and unlike Italy we spent billions on defense. We could end poverty by providing every child in this country an equal opportunity to advance IF we were willing to provide more social services to their families before the child enters school.

Based on an income calculator I found online, my estimated income of $60,000+ for retirement and consulting in the coming year would place me in the top 20% of wage earners in 2009. If I were collecting social security in addition to those earnings (I am deferring until I am 66) I would be in the top 10%. Can I afford a reduction in my social security payments while I am earning income as a consultant? YES. Do I need to collect my full social security in addition to my State funded retirement and my State funded Medicare supplement? NO. Would these changes in my personal revenue be challenging. YES. Could I voluntarily increase my donations to charities of my choice to help end poverty? Yes… but in doing so I might well be emphasizing my personal priorities over those of the country (see Bill Gates). In a democracy, we need to trust those we elect to spend our tax dollars wisely even when evidence suggests that hasn’t always been the case (i.e. see Iraq, Afghanistan, the “War on Drugs”, the Patriot Act,  the bank bailouts, etc.). 

At this point, if my taxes increased they’d have to fund the interest payments on debts incurred as a result of some of the bad budget decisions of the past. But SOME of the mis-directed funds cited above could be re-allocated to provide the social services lacking today not only for children raised in poverty, but for returning veterans, for prisoners attempting to transition into the workplace, and for health care for those who cannot afford insurance. Increasing our taxes and changing our spending priorities is not “socialism”, it is hard-headed capitalism. We need to invest in our human resources if we hope to compete internationally, we need to invest in those resources at the same level as other developed nations. We need to have every child succeed and every able-bodied adult working. That is going to require an investment in social programs. TAX ME… end poverty…. and keep our country’s economy strong for the future.