Category Archives: Education

We could have bought what?

The next time RepubliCons say we can’t afford “entitlements” our answer should be oh, yes we can!

If we can spend four trillion on military miss-adventures (see Iraq war) and essentially be the world’s police force, then certainly we can take care of our unemployed, poor, and elderly and educate our own people, I’m talking GI-bilL type higher-education and vo-tech funding for the general public here. And the next time RepubliCons tell you “we” can’t afford to do these things tell them “we’re” not broke because “we” have too much untaxed offshore money for which corporations are unjustifiably seeking tax amnesty. And we need to change or industrial policies so that they favor home-based production and work. It makes no sense to give any advantage to off-shoring and outsourcing as it is depleting “our” accessible resource base and degrading “our” ability to contribute to the programs we love at home while giving big corporations the ability to evade contributions to those same programs including education and retirement funding. The RepubliCons are religiously committed to their god (the supposedly “free-market” with its invisible hand) and the granting of amnesty to unproductive capital, the production and accumulation of which was made possible by American protections and laws, while denying it to undocumented workers who have made life better and cheaper for Americans here in America. How’s that for patriotism from the RepubliCons, who don’t believe in evolution but love social-Darwinism.

Bricks without straw!

Mississippi Republicans in a veiled effort to give their charter (cherry-picking) school plans more momentum came up with another oppressive scheme convinced that if they kill it, they will come. In a bricks-without-straw tale, conservatives suggest: deduct the funds for remediation of college students from their high school district. Starting with Brown vs. Topeka advancing through the massive flight from public schools with 1969’s Alexander v. Holmes County Board of Education, conservative Mississippians have maintained a long assault on quality public education of minorities. Segregation academies exist to this day in Mississippi with very little minority enrollment. Not properly funding the public schools has been one way of lessening the expense of maintaing two education systems with many of the affluent and middle-class diverting their attention and resources to the private (Seg) academies. We won’t get into what this has meant in terms of networking and wealth and societal development. In a manner befitting a neo-feudal state maintaining a rear position, “the mid-20th century per pupil spending in Mississippi was a mere 37 percent of the national average and only 57 percent of the southern states’ average.” And now this conservative legislative majority in Mississippi knows that “[m]ississippi has never adequately funded its public schools on a sustained basis – even after it passed the Mississippi Adequate Education Program 15 years ago.” And now the response to the cry for equity is to give the district from which students needing remedial education come less funding. That thing about the arch of the moral universe bending looks a little dim at times and makes you wonder like Fannie Lou Hamer, “is this America?” But I am still keeping the faith because the Lord has promised good and a King went to the mountain top and told us we will get to the Promised Land.

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RepubliCon Motto: If we kill it, they will come.

Huffington Post contributor Matthew Lynch, Ed.D, recently welcomed the Charter School Bill passed by the Mississippi Senate as a aid to public schools citing a report which gave Mississippi “F when it comes to building and support capacity.” Of course this remedy, which allows privitization of part of the education system switchs attention away from the program already in place (The Mississippi Adequate Education Program has been underfunded a total of about $980 million since the 2007-08 school year.) The working logic is don’t fund the existing program, complain about failure and produce an entirely new plan that just happens to involve, wait for it, wait for it, privitization, that RepubliCon panecea.

Mr. Lynch lauds the supposed competition the Charter Schools are to bring to the Public Schools. Here again the disinginuity is in the false frame which services the hidden agenda of the RepubliCon party, refuge of the Dixicrats. The deck is stacked in such a way that public education will be further denegrated to make the case for increased privitization. Charter Schools according to the celebrated bill can max-out with 20% fewer children with “economic or academic disadvantages and special ed needs” than public schools have. In essence they are being allowed to cherry-pick who they will serve. This is just the latest attack of the forces which opposed Governor William Winter and fled from the public schools after Alexander v. Holmes County Board of Education.

So when Mr. Lynch complains about the teacher to pupil ratio and lack of student achievement someone should tell him that there are methods not involving Charter Schools that Mississippi could have employed if the will for improving public schools was pervasive.
“•Most top-performing countries have a school year that exceeds 200 days, and the school day in many countries begins at 7:30 a.m. and ends at 5:00 p.m.
•In contrast, Mississippi has a 180-day school year – students in top-performing countries get at least an extra month of schooling per year in which to master competencies.”

“Mississippi is the only state in the South that does not provide state-funded preschool, which many say could help reduce the achievement gap.”

“•The top-performing countries teach fewer concepts but teach them much more deeply
•Mississippi is moving to the Common Core State Standards which is based on international benchmarks”

“•In top-performing countries, getting into a teacher education program is like getting into medical school – these countries accept only 10% or less of applicants into teacher education programs – their most brilliant citizens are teaching their children
•Teacher education programs in top-performing countries are extremely rigorous; teacher candidates major in the subjects they will teach and have additional coursework in pedagogy (learning how to teach)
•Teachers are valued and compensated as high-priority professionals – their salaries are on par with physicians, engineers, and attorneys
•In contrast, Mississippi has been willing to lower standards for teacher certification in order to avoid paying teachers a competitive salary; consequently, we are failing to attract enough of our best and brightest into the field of education, and schools of education often have the lowest average ACT scores on a university campus.”

Funneling money to private entities may be an answer but public education has been, can be, and should be the method employed to educate Mississippi children.

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My problems with the “10 Reasons Mississippi needs Charter Schools”

Huffington Post writer Matthew Lynch recently provided cover for a privatization Trojan horse in the form of praise for the Charter school bill passed by Mississippi Senate Republicans. In typical Teabagger fashion he supports a solution that ignores context (“Even in predominantly black school districts, whites controlled many of the administrative positions and held a majority on the school board. In many cases this led to a gradual decline in the financial health of the district as white administrators reduced the tax base necessary to support the district. At the same time many white public school administrators, school board members and teachers were removing their children from primarily black schools and placing them in private schools for white children. Not only were they placing their children in private schools, many public administrators and board members were actually serving in some capacity of leadership in the formation and oversight of the new private school system.”) and a neo-interposition strategy (Mississippi House Bill Would Create Modern-day Sovereignty Commission), a continuing effort to restore a natural southern order (approximating as closely as possible a pre-Alexander v. Holmes-County-Board-of-Education South.)