This article explains how the current system is rigged against those who must borrow money to go to college. What is DOESN’T emphasize is:
- The cuts to colleges at the state level have made it more expensive for students to get post-secondary schooling without getting a loan
- The USDOE is a major beneficiary: if the USDOE lost the $101,000,000,000 generated since the advent of quantitative easing it would be in difficult straits
- Because of the revenue it receives, the USDOE cannot be an advocate for indebted students. Indeed, USDOE is effectively contributing to the stress student debtors face by employing loan collectors to help support itself
- The privatization of public loans places shareholders at the forefront, not the students.
- The whole student loan structure moves money upward: the banksters get lots of guaranteed money while the striving students get race-to-the-bottom wages and must pay outlandishly high interest rates on their loans
The answer is either a direct infusion of funds into publicly funded colleges or an indirect infusion of funds by forgiving loans issued for bogus degree programs and/or lowering interest rates to a manageable level.
The Google Alert on Public Education occasionally includes some conspiratorial articles about education policy, and today’s aggregation of articles included one from WND titled “Public Schools Called “Gigantic Criminal Enterprise””. Not being familiar with WND, I clicked on the article expecting it to be about the for-profit charter school movement… but I was way off base! It seems that the criminal activity involves “globalists” who are intentionally dumbing down America’s schools to achieve “planetary totalitarianism”.
How are the socialist utopians accomplishing their goal of intellectual enslavement? Writers Alex Newman and Samuel Blumenfeld have a list of ways:
- “…progressive education gurus have caused dyslexia and other learning disabilities by teaching children to read using the “whole word” method“ … instead of phonics and as a result of this “quackery” Americans “…won’t even be able to bypass the propaganda and get a book, get the Bible, get the Constitution, get the Declaration of Independence and read it”.
- through the use of “…“cooperative learning” (which) is evidence of communist influence in the classrooms.” The authors view cooperative learning’s small group approach where all in the group “...receive the same grade for their work, even if they took a quiz or test separately” as a “...collectivist mindset (that) will come in handy in the new global society”
- through the teaching of “...evolution and secular humanist doctrines“ which erode the students’ religious beliefs, beliefs that a totalitarian society destroys.
- by collecting massive amounts of personal information about students, information that the USDOE is using to develop “...massive dossiers on every student in the country, in the government schools, including information that parents wouldn’t imagine in their wildest dreams…“
- by implementing the Common Core, which many teachers are rejecting because it prevents them from teaching students properly.
Newman and Blumenfeld see education as a key to pushing back against this movement toward planetary totalitarianism:
“Education is really at the heart of it, because if you don’t have a dumbed-down population, if you don’t have a population that’s sufficiently indoctrinated into this nonsense, it’ll never fly,” Newman said. “And so education, we consider, is really at the heart of this globalist effort to really, to be blunt about it, enslave the world. Without the education system, it would never be possible. Without mass-producing illiterates and collectivists, they could never build something like this.”
As you have probably determined by now, WND is an ultra-conservative web site… and yet many of the assertions could come from Truthdig’s Chris Hedges or Diane Ravitch or even George Orwell. I recall taking a Political Science course in college where the teacher contended that political views were not linear but circular. That is the views of extreme conservatives and extreme liberals often overlapped and while both were fearful of totalitarianism both wanted to see their perspectives embraced by society as a whole. The final paragraphs of this article, which could have been taken from a Bernie Sanders campaign speech, reinforce this idea:
Newman said it’s important for people to educate themselves about what’s going on and to organize within their communities, because as more Americans become aware of the globalists’ plans (NOTE: insert “oligarchs’ plans” here), they will be better able to resist.
“We’re going to have a great opportunity here to put a stop to all this,” Newman promised. “And if we miss it, it’s going to be a disaster for humanity, but if we seize it, it would be absolutely wonderful and amazing.”
Newman longs for the day when the American people collectively wake up, put their foot down and deliver this message: “Enough of this! We’re going to keep our rights. We’re going to keep our nation, thank you very much. We’re going to educate our children. We’re not going to let you dumb them down, and we’re not going to have your New World Order (NOTE: Insert “plutocracy” here). Take a hike, you’re a criminal, that’s enough.”
Newman is right: enough IS enough… we need to make certain that the governance of public education is returned to its community roots and not taken over by business, we need to get our children to ask probing questions and seek the truth, and we need to restore the opportunity for any child in our country to reach their full potential…. and this might be a place where the view of a “secular socialist Utopian” overlaps with that of a fundamentalist conservative.
Mark Dayton, Minnesota’s Democrat governor, wants Universal fully funded pre-Kindergarten offered in public schools across the state. Because of his approach to taxation (as contrasted with his neighboring state Wisconsin), Minnesota has the $125,000,000 needed to do this and have $1,000,000,000 left over to offer rollbacks on some taxes and/or improve the transportation budget. But the Minnesota legislature has a different agenda for public schools, one that seeks more for-profit charters predicated on the belief that “failing government schools” need to be replaced by imaginative and forward thinking charters. So… when the legislature hammered out it’s budget they gave the governor the funding he requested for public schools but omitted the funding for the pre-Kindergarten initiative that was his major priority. The Governors’ reaction? As reported by NPR, Governor Dayton offered these thoughts about the Republicans who dominate the legislature in a press conference:
“They hate the public schools, some of the Republican legislators,” the governor said. “They’re loathe to provide any additional money for public schools and for public school teachers because all of the good programs I’ve seen around this state for pre-K and all-day kindergarten. All of those programs contradict what they say, which is public schools do things badly.”
Predictably the Republicans pushed back… but not on the substance of his statement— their reluctance to “…provide any additional money for public schools and for public school teachers” because of the fact that doing so contradicts their “failing public schools” narrative. No… the Republicans lashed out at the Governor for characterizing some members of the Republican party as hating public schools.
The stories (see here, here, and here) that followed this press conference predictably focussed NOT on the evidence that some Republicans have animosity toward public schools, but rather on the Republican’s demand that Dayton apologize for saying that they “hate” public schools. One of the articles on the apology demand in the Pioneer Press reported that the Governor was not inclined to apologize. Why? At a subsequent press conference he asserted that “Republicans haven’t shown true support for public schools” and offered this quote:
“Actions speak louder than words,” Dayton said.
The Governor’s words were arguably truthful and honest… but they unfortunately gave the legislators a chance to shift the conversation away from their actions toward his words… Here’s hoping that in the coming weeks someone takes the time to assess the voting records and written and verbal statements of “some” Republicans to buttress the Governor’s assertion that “some” members of the party are adamantly opposed to the idea of “government run schools” and detest everything they stand for. Unless MN is different from most states in the country there will be a t least a handful of legislators who are on record in that fashion… But it might be easier for the Governor to acknowledge he could have chosen his words more wisely and offer an apology accordingly. THAT might help shift the conversation quickly to something more substantive.
The beginning of the article shows how “good guys with guns” can become an occupying force in schools… and given our fear of “shooters” and willingness to fund police departments while starving schools more and more schools are turning to those “good guys” and students— especially students raised in poverty— are paying the price.