Posts Tagged ‘vicious cycle of poverty’

Trump and DeVos Want to Undo Public Education

February 14, 2020 Leave a comment

This powerful USA Today op ed lays bare the GOP/Trump/DeVos agenda, which is to eviscerate public education. Derek Black concludes his essay with these two paragraphs:

When the nation sought to lift poor whites out of illiteracy and blacks into citizenship at the end of the Civil War, Congress demanded that state constitutions guarantee uniform school systems that provided education to all children. To fund them, they mandated taxes. When the nation was struggling to break free of its Jim Crow discrimination, public education was chosen to lead the way — even as resistors explicitly tried to end public schooling (and replace it with vouchers).

Trump and DeVos have a vision of private education and individual freedom that is more than misleading; it’s dangerous. They are sowing the notion that a fundamental pillar of our democracy is antiquated and oppressive. The truth is that many kids will lose what little freedom they have — and the one social thread that still binds us together will fray even more — if we buy what they are selling.

When No Community Exists a School Bus Can Be a Hub

February 11, 2020 Leave a comment

This idea for providing Pre-K programs to remote rural families, or more accurately, child-rearers, touches all the bases. It offers literacy, support services for children, and a wide array of social services for adults… and it is inexpensive. This makes much more sense than trying to get 3 year olds to use computers to learn how to read.

Good News! Trump’s Budget Cuts Charter Schools… Bad News! His Budget Redirects that $$$ to Vouchers

February 11, 2020 Leave a comment

Jonathan Chait’s Intelligencer article yesterday not only undercut President Trump’s scholarship to a young African-American girl from Philadelphia but also revealed it’s true purpose. Mr. Chait opens his article with these paragraphs:

At his State of the Union address, President Trump created an apparently heartfelt moment on behalf of Philadelphia fourth-grader Janiyah Davis. Having been “trapped in failing government schools,” Trump announced Davis would be granted a full scholarship to a private school, personally financed by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.

Except, the Philadelphia Inquirer discovered, Davis doesn’t attend a “failing” school. She attends a high-quality public charter.

That looks like a “big oops” on two counts…. except it seems that it reveals the way the POTUS and the GOP want to fund education going forward. Poor children should rely on rich benefactors if they want to get a high quality education and vouchers should replace all forms of publicly funded schools. Mr. Chait elaborates on the second point in his third paragraph:

Here’s a brief refresher: Charter schools are not the same as private schools. Private schools are funded by tuition dollars, and can select which students to admit. Charter schools are publicly financed, do not charge tuition, and cannot select their student bodies. If they have more applications than available slots, charters typically have to use a lottery. Charter schools and private schools are often confused. A Washington Post story about Trump’s speech says the president appealed to his base on issues like “religious liberty, guns and charter schools,” when, in fact, Trump was touting private school vouchers, not charter schools.

Mr. Chait supports his contention by looking at the budget the POTUS is recommending, a budget that cuts the USDOE’s operations by 8%, eliminates all funding for charter schools, and redirects funds for public schools into a $5 billion dollar tax credit for private school vouchers. He concludes his article with this:

Trump’s plan to cut education funding is a huge political liability. And his proposal to eliminate federal funding for charters should make it clear that supporting charter schools is literally the opposite of Trump’s education agenda. Trump describing a charter school as a “failing government school” in his State of the Union address is not a mistake. It’s his actual worldview.

Alas I fear that these points will be lost on many voters who will miss the nuances Mr. Chait brings to light… and if the President is re-elected unwinding the voucher legislation likely to pass will take years.

Guardrails Already Off in Education Department… and the Results are Bad for Student Borrowers

February 8, 2020 Leave a comment

Over the past several weeks, I’ve read many l articles exposing the flaws in the proposals advanced by progressive candidates to waive student debt. The most persuasive argument against this proposal is that in waiving debt for ALL students, some “undeserving” students who willfully failed to pay their debts will benefit while many “responsible” students who did pay off their loans will be effectively penalized.

It is unfortunate that the fight the progressive’s picked was one over a new entitlement as opposed to going after the broken promises of the USDOE and the deregulation of the for-profit schools who generated most of the debt by offering dead-end courses to students who took out loans they could not afford to pay back when the colleges closed or the degrees they earned did not prepare them for the jobs promised. Worse, the education department reneged on waiving the student debts for thousands of graduates who agreed to accept lower paying jobs in the public sector in exchange for the forfeiture of their student debt.

Fortune magazine recently published an op ed article by Aaron Ament and Randi Weingarten that describes Betsy DeVos’ “misguided repeal of the gainful employment rule, which they describe as follows:

Gainful employment has big implications for students and taxpayers. It says, in short, that nearly all for-profit college programs and nondegree career programs at public and private nonprofit colleges are only eligible for federal student aid if they lead to good jobs that pay enough for students to repay their loans.

In order to block the implementation of this rule, the AFT and Student Defense, the organizations Mr. Ament and Ms. Weingarten head, are filing a suit in court. Given the recent appointees to courts it seems plausible that the rule will be reversed and, should that be the case, the victors will be the profiteers who operate the colleges and the losers will be the former students who enrolled in the valueless programs. Mr. Ament and Ms. Weingarten have a more sanguine view:

We are confident DeVos’s dismantling of the gainful employment rule will (be reversed in court). But why are unions and advocates forced to fight to defend what few protections borrowers have already won? Isn’t that DeVos’s job?

Instead of stymying students, the administration should be working with us to create new and affordable educational opportunities for tomorrow’s teachers, nurses, veterans, government employees, first responders, and trade workers. In other words, Betsy DeVos should protect the people she’s sworn to serve, not the for-profit industry that all too often exploits them.

When the guardrails of regulation come off, profits increase and consumers suffer. The sooner voters make this connection, the better for our economy and the imbalance that exists between the rich and the poor.


No Surprise Here: GPA Better Predictor of College Success Than ACT Scores

February 6, 2020 Leave a comment

University of Chicago reported the result of research they did on HS students who graduated from HS in 2006-2009 and then enrolled in college. Their unsurprising findings: the students‘ GPA was a better predictor of college success than their. ACT scores. One of the researchers offered this cogent explanation on why this is the case and what the impact of the findings SHOULD be;

The more that middle and high school educators can support strong engagement in school – helping students overcome barriers to engagement in class, helping them succeed at different types of academic tasks, so that they earn strong grades – the better these educators are supporting academic skills broadly and preparing students for college.

Redistricting to Address Resegregation an Uphill Battle in Maryland and Virginia— and EVERYWHERE

February 4, 2020 Leave a comment

AP reporters Regina Garcia Cano and Sarah Rankin dug deeply into the redistricting recommendations advanced by the Superintendents of two school districts south of the Mason Dixon line and found that the situation in those districts is no different than the situation anywhere in the United States: most affluent homeowners want no part of any plan to redraw school boundaries to increase racial or economic diversity. As Mss. Cano and Rankin write:

From New York City to Richmond, Virginia, sweeping proposals to ease inequities have been scaled back or canceled after encountering a backlash. The debates have been charged with emotion and racist rhetoric reminiscent of the aftermath of Brown vs. Board of Education, the U.S. Supreme Court decision that threw out state laws establishing segregated schools.

While the federal government has largely stepped back from the aggressive role it played decades ago in school desegregation, some local districts have acted in recognition of increasingly apparent racial divides and the long-established educational benefits of integration.

Mss. Cano and Rankin did not examine the larger picture of funding differentials between affluent districts and/or schools and those districts and/or schools serving low income and minority schools… but if they had they would see that the latent racism they witnessed in Howard County MD and Richmond VA is also intertwined with an unwillingness on the part of the affluent to mingle with those who are less well off. And since the level of education and the level of income are highly correlated, it means that those raised in affluence seldom if ever come in contact with those raised in poverty. The children of college graduates are seldom sitting beside the children of high school graduates or– especially— high school drop outs. As a result, we find ourselves with a widening gap in communication between the children of well educated parents and the children of those without degrees. As a result, we find ourselves in a nation of what Thomas Geoghegan describes as “Educated Fools“. And those who never had a chance to get the same opportunity as children raised in affluence feel rejected by society and look to leaders who can save the day for them.

If we want to live in a harmonious democracy we need to make certain that everyone has an equal chance from the outset and no individual or group is permanently marginalized. That will, at the very least, require those who are well off to open the doors of their community’s schools to children who live outside of their geographical area, or allow housing for low income families to be built in their community, or pay higher taxes so that the children of those shunned from their community are afforded the same opportunities as their own children.

Student Homelessness on the Rise

February 2, 2020 Comments off

Test-and-Punish “reformers” dismiss poverty as a problem… but homelessness is hard to ignore as a contributing factor to “school success”. Hard to ignore unless test scores are seen as the ultimate metric.