Sunday, May 21, 2017

It Takes a Pillage

The preliminary version of the Department of Education's budget proposal looks like they took the Green Party platform on education and came up with ways to do everything the opposite.

Hogwarts by Steve Tannock

Green Party Position Blowhard Budget
The Green Party supports equal access to high-quality education, and sharp increases in financial aid for college students. The Blowhard administration supports unequal access to high-quality education by promoting private schools, and sharp decreases in financial aid for college students.
The Green Party is strongly opposed to the dissolution of public schools and the privatization of education. We believe that the best educational experience is guaranteed by the democratic empowerment of organized students, their parents and communities along with organized teachers. While advocating local control, DeVos proposes to use federal dollars to entice districts to adopt school-choice policies, adding new investment in alternatives to public schools.
We must stop disinvestment in education and instead put it at the top of our social and economic agenda. Effective schools have sufficient resources. Too many of our teachers are overworked, underpaid, and starved of key materials. We also must be more generous to our schools so that our children will learn what generosity is, and know enough to be able to be generous to us in return. The Blowhard administration administration plans to cut $10.6 billion from federal education initiatives.
We also call attention to the results of a quarter century of corporate funding from the likes of the Bradley and Wal-Mart Family Foundations and a decade of No Child Left Behind — a vast, well-endowed and lucrative sector which seeks to dismantle, privatize, or militarize public education and destroy teachers unions. Regimes of high-stakes standardized testing and the wholesale diversion of resources away from public schools are provoking crises for which the bipartisan corporate consensus recommends school closings, dissolution of entire school districts and replacement by unaccountable, profit-based charter schools. The Green Party is unalterably opposed to the dissolution of public schools and the privatization of education. The Bradley Foundation awarded a William F. Buckley prize to the Devoses last November. The Walton Family and Walmart Foundations have contributed large sums to Devos's school choice PAC.
Provide free college tuition to all qualified students at public universities and vocational schools. It's time to forgive all student and parent loans taken out to finance post-secondary and vocational education. Blowhard's proposal would have undergraduate loan recipients pay up to 12.5 percent of their income for 15 years before it could be forgiven.
Oppose the administration of public schools by private, for-profit entities. Charter schools are the darlings of the Blowhard education department. The budget includes $400 million to expand charter schools and vouchers for private schools and another $1 billion to push public schools to adopt choice-friendly policies.
Increase funding for after-school and daycare programs. The proposal eliminates $1.2 billion for after-school programs and a $15 million program that provides child care for low-income parents in college.
Promote a diverse set of educational opportunities, including bi-lingual education, continuing education, job retraining, distance learning, mentoring and apprenticeship programs. The Blowhard budget dedicates no money to a fund ($400 million in 2017) for student support and academic enrichment.
Give K-12 classroom teachers professional status and salaries commensurate with advanced education, training and responsibility. Cut $2.1 billion for teacher training and class-size reduction.
Teach non-violent conflict resolution and humane education at all levels of education. Anti-bullying support would be cut.
Make student loans available to all college students, with forgiveness for graduates who choose public service occupations. The budget proposal eliminates a program to forgive loans of those who  pursue careers as social workers, teachers, public defenders or doctors in rural areas.
Expand arts education and physical education opportunities at school. The proposal cuts a $27 million arts education program, $12 million for Special Olympics education programs, and support for physical education.
Oppose efforts to restrict the teaching of scientific in-formation and the portrayal of religious belief as fact. Vouchers for parachioal schools would be greatly expanded

The principal motivation for the incipient takeover of K-12 education by private entities is the (often delusional) hope by parents to give their children a better education than those in public schools. In the process, a lot of identification with one's community is lost by both the children and the parents. By encouraging this trend, the Blowhard administration exploits parental concern in order to divide communities and weaken local politics. It all plays into the nationalistic agenda of these fascist elites who seek to subjugate the working class in the same way they fight the efforts of labor unions and other local groups to organize and make common cause.

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