Tuesday, November 29, 2005

My Turn to Vent --

I guess it all started with the Folkbum's rant. Then I discovered this post from the conservative blog Beyond the Beltway. I really do not want to make more traffic for this guy but read what he says and then, because this appears to be a very popular blog look at the rest of the posts as well. This is some of it:

...Of course, I see this as a reason to reduce the governments role in education (of course he does) not expand... The reason is that I don't see how to avoid this problem and not spend buckets of cash. The No Child Left Behind has resulted in massive increases in federal education spending...and at the same time we have either no improvement in actual proficiency or possible even a decline. To get the improvement my guess is we'd probably have to spend even more. (Heaven forbid!)...

...I say get the government out of education. Set up a voucher system. Set it up so that parents have to fork over part of the tuition. Once parents start having to cough up the dough every month so their kid can get an education I bet more parents would be interested that they are "getting their money's worth".

The Folkbum rants:

So what do I want..? It's simple: Shut up and let us do our jobs... If Quindlen is right that the American people should be our biggest advocates, then those same people ought to recognize that it was the teachers who reached them--not the meddling anti-tax forces, the know-it-all politicians, or the privateers who currently run the Department of Education--who deserve the praise and rewards. It was the teachers who helped them "levitate" who created conditions for success, not vouchers or Intelligent Design or corporate America.

Think back for just a second about your favorite school teacher, one who really did help you levitate, and ask yourself this: Would I meddle now in how that teacher does her job? Would that teacher have been as effective with me then if he'd had to prepare me for a standardized test? Would that teacher agree with me if I'd said to her face that she had an easy job--summers off and weekends free?

You know what the answers are. You know what the solution is: Stop perpetuating myths and start respecting and supporting what we teachers do. Then work on your family, friends, neighbors, and legislators to do the same.

If you have read me at all you know what side of the issue I stand on. Thinking about these two posts I start, as I always do, knowing that there are big time forces out there that truly do want to do away with public education. They want to privatize it and let the parents "get their money's worth." Then I begin thinking about the excuse that these people use, that the education system in this country is broken. That there are inequities in the system that we seem incapable of fixing. Then I think of all those yearly reports that I have read that say most people think their local schools are doing a great job. But I know the inequities are there. I know that you can tell who will do well in school and who will fail by looking at the parents' bank balance. I know that in my own school system most of the native kids fail to graduate high school. But I know deep down in my soul privatized is not the way.

This is where I almost agree with the Folkbum and who basically says, what we really need to do is all pull together, which I believe is true, but come on! This simplistic answer has yet to work. We have not done it. So what then? I don't have the answer. I do think it starts with work at the community level. In fact my time might be better spent organizing locally that writing here, but it also begins with getting the word out, spreading the word about the planned destruction of public education in America. It begins with finding better people to run for office and supporting them. It takes a lot of hard work, but it does also take money, no matter what they say.

It will take money to support famlies in becoming places where literacy and learning are important. It will take money to bring good paying jobs to those that need it most. It will take money to turn around school ,systems that have floundered for years. Money spent on our children.

As near as I can tell the conservatives do not want to spend money on other peoples' children. They do not want to spend money on anybody, corporations and the mechanisms of warfare not being bodies. It's every man, literally, for themselves. That is where I believe that we on the other side of the political spectrum, no matter what you call us, differ. We are all in this together. As simplistic and/or idealistic as it sounds we need to help each other.

We especially need to help each other now. Healthcare costs and all others costs are rising, no matter what they say. We are losing our economic base, no matter what they say. 30, 000 good paying jobs at GM gone. And just yesterday 7,000 more at Merck, gone. Our American Dream is being outsourced and they tell us it is good for us. They take away our ability to earn a living, to make a living wage and now they want us to pay for educating our children. Look down the road. Their children will be educated and what about ours. Sometimes, especially at this time of year I hear those words in my head over and over, "We have prisons don't we." I fear we are moving backward. Pulling together is the only thing I can think of that might reverse the slide.

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