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Posts Tagged ‘funding equity’

NYTimes Headline Misses the Point: Virginia Governor’s Race Is Not Being Shaped by “Schools”. It IS Being Shaped by Billionaires Who Seek to Privatize Public Services… Beginning with Education

October 13, 2021 Leave a comment

Lisa Lerer’s article on the Virginia Governor’s race focuses on the issues GOP candidate Glenn Younkin is raising about public education and mostly ignores the issues Terry McAuliffe focuses on. And, alas, Ms. Lerer’s article does NOT follow the money! Earlier this month the Washington Post published an article by Isaac Stanley Becker tracing the roots of the anti-vaxx, anti-mask, and anti-CRT rhetoric spouted by Mr. Youngkin to the usual group of mega-billionaires who want to privatize public services. Do the names Koch, DeVos, Walton ring any bells?

Moreover, buried in the article is the main difference between the candidates when it comes to public education: McAuliffe wants to “invest $2 billion in education, raise teacher pay, expand pre-K programs and invest in broadband access for students.” Mr. Youngkin doesn’t want to talk about those substantive issues. Instead he’d rather talk about bogus topics like “banning CRT”, the “freedom” to infect classmates and teachers by not wearing masks, and the “freedom” for parents to choose what teachers teach.

Should Mr. Youngkin get elected, expect endless debates over book-banning, mask-wearing… and budget cuts… the privatizers can hardly wait!

Texas Template Offers a Quick Path to Desegregation at Public Universities that Works for ALL: Admit the Top 10% from ALL High Schools to College

September 18, 2021 Comments off

An NYTimes article by Auburn graduate Drake Pooley in today’s paper describes a quick way to desegregate public Universities: admit the top 10% of each high school graduating class in the state to college:

We know how to bring about greater student body diversity, because some public universities have done it. When the University of Texas, Austin, started admitting the top 10 percent of every high school graduating class in the state in the late 1990s, it created pathways for schools in more historically disadvantaged communities to send students to that flagship university.

Over the next decade, the number of high schools in Texas whose graduates went there rose from 674 to 900. Once on campus, those students graduated at similar levels as all other students. This program increased earnings for these students with no significant harm to those who were “pushed out,” in terms of graduation rates and earnings, according to a 2020 working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research.

If such a plan were combined with an influx of federal funds specifically earmarked for need-based scholarships to colleges and junior colleges access to higher education would readily available even to those students attending public high schools in underfunded districts. 

Categories: Essays Tags: ,

This Just In: America Discovering that Non-Instructional Part-Time School Support Staff is Underpaid!

September 17, 2021 Comments off

Today’s NYTimes features a lengthy article by Giulia Heyward describing the uphill battle public schools are facing to fill jobs for non-instructional school support staff: bus drivers, cafeteria workers, and substitute teachers. Why? Their pay is low compared to the private sector; the work schedule precludes them working elsewhere– and in our economy low wage workers need to hold two jobs to make ends meet; and the working conditions put them in harms way during the pandemic making them risky. 

And who are folks blaming? The federal government for offering overly generous unemployment benefits! But, as is often the case, inconvenient facts don’t support this agreeable fantasy: 

Some employers hope that the end of federal unemployment benefits will push more people to apply for these positions. Ms. Groshen, the labor economist, does not think that most schools will see a big upswing in applicants.

“Some states ended unemployment benefits early, so there is already some research,” Ms. Groshen said. “And when you look at the studies, there was some effect in the market from unemployment ending, but it wasn’t very large.”

And a school bus trainer in NYS blamed school districts for underpaying bus drivers… as if the school districts somehow had oodles of money going to shareholders instead of paying for its workers. 

This just in: if you want a high quality work force in your schools you need to offer high pay, decent working conditions, and you might need to offer some kind of bonus to compensate for the necessarily unpredictable and inconvenient work schedule. And all of this means you’d need to raise taxes.