"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

Monday, September 19, 2011

Take From the Needy...Give to the Greedy

Stephen Krashen hits hard with facts again...this time reporting on comments by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT).

In his Schools Matter blog entry, Krashen says that the Federal government is going at things backwards...instead of improved education ending poverty, it's the other way around.
The US Department of Education says that with better teaching, we will have more learning (higher test scores, according to the feds), and this will improve the economy.

But the research says it is the other way around and agrees with Martin Luther King's position: "We are likely to find that the problems of housing and education, instead of preceding the elimination of poverty, will themselves be affected if poverty is first abolished.” (Martin Luther King, 1967, Final Words of Advice).
Senator Sanders reminds us that the United States leads the industrialized world in overall poverty rate and child poverty rate. Add that to the fact that the top 1 percent of Americans earn more than the bottom 50% and you have a recipe for an economic disaster for public education that won't be improved simply by better trained teachers, opening more charter schools, or moving money from public schools to private schools using vouchers.

Krashen, as usual, is armed with facts from research...
Research tells that there is no correlation between improved test scores and subsequent economic progress, that high unemployment in an area results in decreased school performance of children, even those whose parents are still employed, and it also tells us what we already should know: High poverty means poor diets, inadequate health care, and little access to books and all of these conditions are related to school performance.

The best teaching in the world will have little impact when there is high poverty, when children are under-nourished, in poor health, and have little or nothing to read.
The Federal government, through the US Department of Education is investing money in new tests...more tests...instead of dealing with the issue of poverty directly.
We know from a number of studies that increasing testing does not increase learning; it does, however, increase profits for publishers and test producers. It will increase the already huge gap between the rich and poor by feeding tax money directly to those who need it the least, that top 1% that earn more than the bottom 50% that Sen. Sanders talks about. In other words, it is a policy that takes from the needy and gives to the greedy.
You can read and watch Senator Sanders' presentation, Is Poverty a Death Sentence, here.

Read about child poverty at the website of the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development).

Report on Child Poverty from the OECD

Report on US Child Poverty from the OECD

No comments: