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Wed May 30, 2012, 12:19 PM

Selling out public schools--David Sirota


Funded by corporate interests who naturally despise organized labor, both sides have demonized teachers’ unions as the primary problem in education — somehow ignoring the fact that most of the best-performing public school systems in America and in the rest of the world are, in fact, unionized (we are never supposed to ask how, if unions are the primary problem, so many unionized schools in America and abroad do so well?). Not surprisingly, these politicians and activists insist they are driven solely by their regard for the nation’s children – and they expect us to ignore the massive amount of money their benefactors (and even the activists personally) stand to make by transforming public education into yet another private profit center. Worse, they ask us also to forget that in the last few years of aggressive “reform” (read: evisceration) of public education, the education gap has actually gotten far worse, with the most highly-touted policies put in place now turning the schoolhouse into yet another catalyst of crushing inequality.


1. Unequal Funding Formulas

A half century of social science research confirms that factors outside the school — and specifically, poverty — are far more determinative in student achievement than anything that happens inside the school. This is why, as both New York University’s Diane Ravitch and Dissent magazine’s Joanne Barkan note, public schools in America’s wealthiest enclaves consistently rank among the highest achieving in the world.

Knowing that, it stands to reason that schools in the lowest-income areas should receive disproportionately more education funding than schools in high-income areas, so that they can combat the systemic out-of-classroom factors that schools in wealthy neighborhoods don’t face. With this extra money, they might be able to fund the so-called “wraparound” services that even reformers like Geoffrey Canada admit are crucial to the success of public schools in high-poverty locales.

Yet, it’s the other way around. As a 2011 U.S. Department of Education report documented, “many high-poverty schools receive less than their fair share of state and local funding” leaving “students in high-poverty schools with fewer resources than schools attended by their wealthier peers.” This inequity is further exacerbated by local property-tax-based education funding formulas that often generate far more resources for wealthy high-property-value school districts than for destitute low-property-value enclaves. Inequality also intensified by devious new taxpayer-subsidized scholarship programs that, according to the New York Times, “have been twisted to benefit private schools at the expense of the neediest children” in traditional public schools.

A cracking good read, full of research and awesome. Hit the link!

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Reply Selling out public schools--David Sirota (Original post)
Starry Messenger May 2012 OP
proud2BlibKansan May 2012 #1
Starry Messenger May 2012 #2
proud2BlibKansan May 2012 #3

Response to Starry Messenger (Original post)

Wed May 30, 2012, 01:38 PM

1. They mention the insane school fees in Kansas

One of my friends was told the fee for marching band in her son's high school was $1000. She was told she was the only parent who complained.

Sheeple. Big part of the problem here.

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Reply #1)

Wed May 30, 2012, 02:11 PM

2. $1000!

Geeze, you could take private music lessons for that. I wonder why no one else complained? Do people who can't afford it just hide out of embarrassment?

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Response to Starry Messenger (Reply #2)

Wed May 30, 2012, 02:24 PM

3. It's a school in a very wealthy area

So no, they don't complain. Wouldn't want anyone to think they can't afford it.

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