Tag Archives: education

Governor, that ain’t rain

Do you feel that warm, wet substance on your leg? You got to feel it when someone suggests the state of public education in Mississippi is so fine that funding to equalize schools should only be increased by 2.7 per cent and taxes should be cut.

Is Mississippi 19th in Education?

19th in education,1 that’s what you were supposed to think about Mississippi’s education position, nationally, according to the conservatives (Governor’s State of the State Address 2015). But the number refers to spending as a percentage of “state taxable resources.” Misdirection is the conservatives’ forte. Speaking of spending as a percentage of “state taxable resources.” diverts attention from equality, the lack of adequately funding all school districts, an underfunding which in turn affects the need for college remedial efforts (in neo-feudal Mississippi college remediation has come under attack – read Bricks without straw) and workforce re-training (costlier to re-train workers with learning deficiencies), new business formation (“highly educated areas have above average entrepreneurship rates”)2etc. A state can’t deprive the people of equal education funding and not suffer the consequences in retarded economic growth and human potential, this exhibited in increased crime rates.3

A state can’t deprive its citizens and avoid these consequences, but groups within the state can deprive large segments of equal educational opportunities, profiting disproportionately in a way that shifts wealth upward. But what do you expect from a crowd determined to urinate on your leg and tell you it’s raining. A crowd so disingenuous that they crow about how well Mississippi’s economy’s is doing and never thank Uncle Sugar(see Mike Huckabee government assistance reference) No, they’ll never mention the $97 million in recovery funds to Rankin County, Ms. and the $67 million to Madison County, Ms., or that Mississippi’s economy received over $5 billion in stimulus funding. Despite the evidence, conservatives insist that the ARRA didn’t create any jobs. So when it comes to everything from public education to ObamaCare, who you gonna believe the neo-feudalists and their walking dead sycophants or your lying eyes and those darn numbers? But then again maybe the conservatives are right and what their trickle-down proposals work and the thousands of jobs we were losing when Obama came into office is the way things should be; maybe rain is warm and smells like pee.

1 Gov. Bryant’s full 2015 State of the State speech – Clarion Ledger
January 21, 2015
2 Local labor force education, new business characteristics, and firm performance
Mark Doms a,*, Ethan Lewis b, Alicia Robb c
a Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, United States
b Dartmouth College, United States
c Kauffman Foundation and University of California, Santa Cruz, United States

3. The Effect of Education on Crime: Evidence from Prison Inmates,
Arrests, and Self-Reports
Lance Lochner
Department of Economics
University of Western Ontario
Enrico Moretti
Department of Economics
UCLA

NEO-FEUDALISM 101

“Republicans are very willing to fund things that work in education,” the Mississippi neo-Feudalists say.  And “[we] are unwilling to put money into a formula that has not proven to be effective and that appears to increase the administrative expenditures more than the classroom, they continue.  And how do we know that adequately funding public education doesn’t work in Mississippi? “It [The Mississippi Adequate Education Program] has been fully funded only twice since being put into law in 1997.”

How do you make certain that the underclass remains entrenched and grows and the wealth disparities are hermetically sealed within your society?  Simply, underfund public education or use a divide-and-conquer strategy known as Charter SchoolsNeo-Feudalists (conservatives) never believed in integrated public education,* voting rights, or Civil Rights, these things are anathema to the old hierarchy.  To these practitioners of the old-time religion, government is the problem for which sabotage is a suitable remedy, like putting Michael Brown over FEMA or Clarence Pendleton over the Civil Rights Commission.  And now we smell of a new anti-democratic weapon masquerading as a gift to the people, a competing public education initiative.  Oh, that the Progressives were as proactive as the Regressives are reactive, we could at long last take one step forward without taking two steps backwards in Mississippi. 

 

*”In the Hollow Hope, Gerald Rosenberg points out that between 1961 and 1970, there was a 242 percent increase in the number of non-sectarian private schools in the Southeast. Theses academies were particularly prevalent in the Deep South, but they existed all over the country. The private academies throughout the South have more in common than racial makeup and founding purpose. Many of them have school mascots that reference the Civil War: the Rebels, the Generals, and the Colonels. These academies operated outside the scope of the Brown ruling. Since the ruling did not apply to them, the creation of these academies was a way to keep segregation intact.  Today, of course, almost no American would openly embrace what was once the reigning ethos of segregated schools. Unfortunately, though, everyday thousands of children in America are educated in classrooms that are just as racially homogeneous as classrooms were prior to Brown.”

- “Brown 60 Years Later: Segregation Academies in the Deep South” by Regina Moorer 

The Village – The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc.’s official blog

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.)