"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

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Medical Care is Education Policy

A post on Facebook by NEIFPE, the Northeast Indiana Friends of Public Education (also here) referred readers to this article...

Proof Of Politics: Indiana Fudges Truth On Health Exchange Rates To Make Obamacare Look Bad
Witness the latest example of political skullduggery playing out in the great State of Indiana where GOP Governor Mike Pence has found it necessary to take extreme liberties with the reporting of the state’s healthcare exchange data—all to justify his anti-Obamacare political positioning.

Anyone paying attention to data projecting what a health insurance policy will likely cost on the newly formed individual policy insurance exchanges could hardly miss the headlines late last week announcing that premiums for health insurance policies stood to rise to an average monthly price of $570—a 72 percent increase over current rates in Indiana.

Of course, if this data is correct, it would be quite a blow to Indiana residents at the hand of the dreaded Obamacare.
NEIFPE is a public education advocacy group focused on educating others (parents, teachers, concerned citizens and even legislators) about the damage done to public education by the so-called education "reformers." (Full disclosure: I'm a proud member of NEIFPE.)

Why would a public education advocacy group get involved with the health care debate, or any other aspect of domestic policy debate for that matter?

A reader asked that same question...here's her comment (names removed).
I'm not sure if is this is a pro-education page, or a bash Republicans page. This isn't public education related, regardless if you are a fan of [Governor Pence's] education policies or not!
Others responded, but here's mine. It's a bit different from what I actually posted because I've had time to think about it but the gist is the same.
It's not just Republicans. In Illinois, New York, on the Federal level and in other places around the country, the Democrats are just as involved in privatizing public education as are the Republicans. The main difference is that Democrats are not as focused on vouchers as a method of turning over public education to the private sector. Race to the Top, President Obama's education program, focuses on closing schools and reopening as charters. Rahm Emanuel, in Chicago (a Democrat) is intent on privatizing the city's public school system. The Democrats for Education Reform started lobbying to replace public schools with charters in New York City with the help of then-Democratic mayor Michael Bloomberg. The privatization of public education is truly a bipartisan effort!

Poverty is a huge issue in education reform. In the US our low-poverty public schools achieve at rates comparable to the highest achieving nations in the world. The problem public schools face is that here in the US, the "richest country on Earth" we have one of the highest child poverty rates in the industrialized world. Almost a quarter of our children live in poverty. That's something we ought to be ashamed of...

We know that poverty affects student achievement...and children who live in poverty have to fight the effects of it. Academic achievement is much more difficult when you don't have adequate food, clothing, shelter, medical or dental care, or if you live in a place where violence and drug abuse (which often go together) is rampant.

The late education researcher Gerald Bracey said, "Poverty is not an excuse. It's a condition. It's like gravity. Gravity affects everything you do on the planet. So does poverty."

When children aren't provided with proper health and dental care they can't function well. You know that you're not as good at your job when you're sick, but for most of us, we can go to our family doctor for advice and diagnosis and then take medications or other non-drug therapies to heal from whatever ails us...at least most of the time. But there are millions of uninsured children in the nation living in poverty and that has an impact on their academic achievement.

Health care and health care availability is absolutely part of education policy.

Poverty has an effect on people...children included.

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All who envision a more just, progressive and fair society cannot ignore the battle for our nation’s educational future. Principals fighting for better schools, teachers fighting for better classrooms, students fighting for greater opportunities, parents fighting for a future worthy of their child’s promise: their fight is our fight. We must all join in.

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Stop the Testing Insanity!


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