"The whole people must take upon themselves the education of the whole people and be willing to bear the expenses of it. There should not be a district of one mile square, without a school in it, not founded by a charitable individual, but maintained at the public expense of the people themselves." -- John Adams

"No money shall be drawn from the treasury, for the benefit of any religious or theological institution." -- Indiana Constitution Article 1, Section 6.

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilisation, it expects what never was and never will be...nor can they be safe with them without information. Where the press is free and every man able to read, all is safe." – Thomas Jefferson

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Cuts in Public Education...but the Enemy is Still Poverty

The excerpts from the article below have to do with the Indianapolis Public Schools, but the problem is nation wide. Public education is no longer a priority for Americans. The "reformers" and state governments, in cooperation with the federal government are defunding public education. Is this just another public sector institution being privatized...part of the larger privatization process outlined in The Shock Doctrine? Or is it something else, such as a misguided attack at schools because schools are an easy target and times are tough?

Whatever the cause, the nation will suffer in the long run. Cuts in services and programs hurt children more than adults, and with the highest poverty rate in the industrialized world, we in the United States have more than one-fifth of our children living in poverty.

As I've written before, poverty is the biggest problem facing schools today. Check these out if you still have doubts:

Change in Family Income-to-Needs Matters More for Children with Less

Blame for School Achievement Gap Misplaced

Poverty and Potential: Out-of-School Factors and School Success

If we don't address the growing poverty rate by any means other than cutting services and increasing tax breaks for corporations and the wealthy, we'll be hurting ourselves in the long run. Our children are our most important natural resource...all of them.
The Impact of IPS Cuts on Students
Tens of millions of dollars in budget cuts, hundreds of teachers let go and the state's largest school district dealing with a financial crisis some say is the worst in decades. It is going to have an impact on the students.

The job cuts announced by IPS Superintendent Dr. Eugene White are bigger than originally thought. 357 teaching positions, the majority of them layoffs, will occur before the start of the new school year. 23 administrators and the jobs of 19 social workers and non-teaching employees are also being eliminated.

All that adds up to more children in every classroom...

..."Those effects are going to be profound. Indianapolis already has the hardest children in the state to educate. We have more at-risk children. more children with needs. 87% of our kids come from free and reduced lunch. 85% of our kids come from single parent families. It makes it much more difficult to educate those children. They have a lot of needs and with cut-backs it is going to be more difficult because there are higher class sizes," said Ron Ellcessor, Indiana State Teachers Association.

Fewer teachers also means less individual attention.

"The teacher is not going to be able to give them the individualized time. Today there is something called differentiated instruction. A teacher is not supposed to teach the same thing to every student. Each student has special needs and each student's special needs then are supposed to be met by that teacher. Will those special needs be met if class sizes get larger? I certainly hope so, but I know it will be more difficult for a teacher to do that," Ellcessor said...

...Lawmakers say there will be no additional money for public schools. In addition, they are changing the formula that determines how much money each school system receives for each student.
You can read the entire article HERE.
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