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Posts Tagged ‘Governance’

Rules Don’t Apply to Libertarian GOP Congressmen Who Insist on Not Wearing Masks, Allowing Everyone to Have Whatever Weapons They Want, But Are OK With Schoolchildren Doing Shooter Drills in “Hardened” Schools

January 14, 2021 Leave a comment

This Common Dreams article is one of many (see here and here, for example) that point out the hypocrisy of unmasked libertarian GOP members of Congress complaining about having to walk through metal detectors while school children routinely attend “hardened” schools with protective fences, guarded entrances, restricted entry that make it difficult for parents to enter, and legally mandated shooter drills to protect children from potential freedom loving “patriots” brandishing AK-47s that they can but on line.

The logic of limiting free speech on line while offering unlimited access to the acquisition of combat level weapons on line is head spinning, as is the logic that speaks of teaching children about the glorious freedom they possess while harboring them in secure de facto compounds protected by armed guards and cameras.

We seem to be living in a world where adults seek unrestricted freedom while children are being trained to live in a totalitarian state… and the actions we are taking to “protect” children are doing just that. It’s time for a total reset.

What Happened Yesterday and What Should Happen Next

January 7, 2021 Leave a comment

I am taking the day off from writing about education policy to write about the uprising that occurred yesterday in our nation’s Capitol. Yesterday’s reprehensible display of demagoguery was the predictable result of the President’s refusal to accept reality and his efforts to stir up his supporters to rebel against the will of the majority of voters. The public’s support for an individual who offers easy solutions to complicated issues and leads followers who ARE entitled to rebel against government programs designed to help those who ARE NOT entitled is just one of the Alice-in-Wonderland elements of our country’s derangement and derailment. The bands of white males who invaded the offices of Congress look like the same white males who cheer loudly at Trump rallies when the Presidents complains about “entitlement programs”. That they do this with no awareness of their built in entitlement is maddening.

So… what should happen now? Here’s my thinking:

First, I believe President-elect Biden should stay out of the fray. in the coming weeks and during his tenure he should help restore credibility to the press by holding regular press conferences, praising the media for their accuracy and tenacity in covering politics, and underscoring the good work that government CAN do if it is fully staffed and funded. He needs to be a steadying influence, an advocate for democracy, and an advocate for government in general. I think he can pull off in a way that a rabble rousers like Warren, AOC or Sanders can’t.
Second, I believe the President’s use of Twitter contributed far more to the toxic media environment than FaceBook or any other social media outlets. President-elect Biden can’t control what people are going to post on social media and can’t control how various stations will spin the news…. nor should he or any government official attempt to do so But Biden CAN determine how or if he uses Twitter and how and when he interacts with the press. If he provides information in something more than 280-character soundbites he will go a long way toward uplifting the level of discourse in the media.
Third, I think that Merrick Garland, once he is appointed as Attorney General, should launch an investigation into the disparity between the treatment Trump’s followers received from the DC Police and the treatment, the protesters received in D.C. when Trump wanted to do his photo op with the Bible… or the treatment the protesters in Portland OR received when they were shunted off in SUVs by unnamed and unknown law enforcement agents dressed in camo… or the treatment protesters got in Kenosha WI when police allowed a 17-year-old armed with an automatic weapon to walk past them after a curfew was declared. We need to restore faith in law enforcement and that cannot happen if protesters are treated differently based on their skin color or the object of their protests.
Fourth, I think that the DNC should find and underwrite the campaigns of strong candidates to run against every single House member and Senator who supported the de facto overthrow of our government and our democracy. The DNC should identify and widely publicize the names of those who donate to the re-election campaigns of the House members and Senators who supported ignoring the will of the voters in other states who lawfully cast ballots. At the same time as they call out donors who support the re-election of anti-Democracy candidates, the DNC should seek the support of the Chamber of Commerce and Business Roundtable for donations to support pro-Democracy candidates. They need to make it clear that a vote for someone opposing the overthrow sought by over 100 elected officials is a vote for democracy.
Finally everyone should also do what we can locally to restore sanity to politics. In NH we’re going to have to keep an eye on the crackpots with guns who have threatened GOP Governor Sununu for mandating mask wearing to the extent that he is calling off his inauguration ceremony! Those of us who favor voting access and other elements of democracy that some in the GOP oppose need to monitor the legislation that will be proposed this session and do whatever we can to make certain our State and local governments have the resources they need to be successful. Anyone whose State House member or Senator supported the Trump insurrection he should be vigorously opposed in 2022 and replaced with someone who values democracy.
There are things public schools can do to prepare students to thrive in and understand democracy, most crucial by empowering student governments to make decisions that affect them. More on that in a future post.

$10,000,000,000,000 Racial Equity Stimulus Package: A Moral Imperative… But a Political Impossibility

January 4, 2021 Leave a comment

A USA Today op ed article co-authored by Schott Foundation CEO John H. Jackson and NAACP President Derrick Johnson calls for incoming Secretary of Education Miguel Cordova to ask Congress to pass a 1-2 trillion dollar package to help schools— especially schools serving children of color— avoid economic disasters on the horizon as a result of the revenues lost to the pandemic. Here’s a brief overview of this proposed Education Stabilization Program:

A targeted, multi-year $1-2 trillion Education Stabilization Program is a vital part of a larger Racial Equity Stimulus Package proposed by  one of us, John Jackson, and other civil rights leaders. This education-focused stimulus would allow for the critical racial equity investments needed from birth and throughout the public preK-12 education system.It would serve as a stabilization fund for states whose education budgets are challenged by COVID-19-caused revenue shortfalls, while also requiring a maintenance of effort by states. It would also include investments to enable the expansion of community schools, address student mental health and socio-emotional needs, support states moving toward tuition-free community college, and make significant investments in Historically Black Colleges and Universities and other institutions that serve minorities and lead the nation in graduating students of color.

In reading a more detailed description of the “Racial Equity Stimulus Package” the Schott Foundation proposes I was initially struck by the persuasive argument for additional funding earmarked for schools and institutions serving black children and families. In the context of our history– from slavery through the New Jim Crow– we have undeniably short-changed people of color. Next I was struck by the magnitude of the proposal–

A federal, multi-year $10-12 trillion Racial Equity Stimulus Package is needed to make significant investments in our states, urban, rural, and tribal communities, and most importantly in historically under-supported American children and families. The stimulus package should be designed to kickstart progress where disparities have been most pronounced.

The list of disparities is unarguable, shameful and the natural consequence of unbridled free market capitalism that fails to factor in pre-existing inequities. From my perspective, there is a clear moral imperative to take action to remediate the inequities before they get worse. But…..

The political will and ability to target ANY funds up to this point has been non-existent. Even when there was sufficient political capital to pass the first federal laws offering supplemental funding to schools, the only way the bill could pass was to make sure the EVERY district received SOME kind of federal support. As noted in previous posts, the fact that Title One funds are provided to EVERY district based on the premise that EVERY district serves SOME children who are raised in poverty results in a watering down of the funds that COULD be targeted to the most needy and the most re-segregated schools.

I would advocate legislation that targets ALL compensatory funding to schools and districts where race has played a role in the decision-making regarding attendance zones. If banks redlined certain neighborhoods, those neighborhoods where mortgages were denied to poor families and blacks should receive no federal supplementary funds. The same should hold true for communities where zoning laws preclude the provision of low income housing. If communities wish to restrict access to their schools and services, how can a federal government that espouses equal opportunity justify the allocation of any funds for schools and services? And those poor and/or black neighborhoods or communities that resulted from those discriminatory practices should receive targeted funds whether they are called “reparations” or “supplementary” or “compensatory”. By any name they are fair, just, and moral. Maybe after turning in the direction of individualistic libertarianism for four years we might move toward communitarianism in the future. Individualism is the basis for our capitalistic economy… but communitarianism is the basis for democracy… and I favor democracy over greed.