"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

Sunday, July 8, 2012

The State Continues to Damage Public Education

If there is anyone who still has doubts that the goal of the corporate "reformers" is the destruction of the public schools then Karen Francisco's editorial in the July 6th Fort Wayne Journal Gazette's blog site should convince them.
Textbook example: Slighting public schools

Some taxpayers received an early bonus with a new private school/home school tax deduction for textbooks....[which,] according to Chetrice Mosley of the Indiana Department of Revenue, has cost the state $2,649,091. About 44,000 tax filers have claimed $77.9 million in textbook and fees incurred at private and parochial schools and in home-schooling...The key here is that the deduction is not available to families who send their children to public school, even though Indiana is one of just a few states that allow textbook fees. (emphasis mine)
This is an economic incentive to parents to withdraw their children from public schools and send them to private and parochial schools...or not to send them to school at all. The State of Indiana, by allowing this deduction, as well as providing vouchers, is using public money to pay for private and parochial schools.

The $325 million which has been stripped from the public school budgets over the last couple of years has not been replaced despite the $2 Billion surplus the state is now sitting on. The surplus, which came from cuts to the Indiana Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Education, the Department of Child Services, the Family and Social Services Administration, and elsewhere, is going to be returned to the taxpayers. Instead of using the money to pay for essential social services, the state is giving it back.

Instead of helping financially strapped public schools get through difficult times, the state is going to return the money to the taxpayers (who, by the way, pay their taxes to support public schools, child services, veterans affairs, etc)...and those people who withdraw their children from the public schools get an added bonus of a tax deduction for private and parochial school textbook expenses.

My local school system closed 4 elementary schools last year...and have plans to close two more...because of budget cuts. Teachers are being laid off. Programs are being cut. School systems around the state are cutting essential services for children. Meanwhile the state increases financial resources for corporate charter schools, private and parochial school vouchers, and tax deductions for private and parochial school patrons.

It's public money. It should go to public schools.

Diane Ravitch published Five Steps to Destroy Public Education in her blog entry of June 17, 2012.
1. Under-fund/STARVE the schools financially
2. Overcrowd the classrooms, reduce programs, supplies
3. Fail the public school using NCLB and/or Race to the Top laws leaving the public school in death-throws
4. Sell the school to private charters
5. Public school, Dead On Arrival
I think it's time to edit #4 in that list. It should read,
4a. Sell the school to private charters
4b. Pay parents to move their children out of the public schools.
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Stop the Testing Insanity!


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