How the 1% is privatizing (stealing) the $600bn public education budget

In our Deadlines post — “America faces more than a dozen deadlines, all caused by billionaires and wealth transfer“— we noted that public education was in a crisis of privatization from which it may never recover (some editing and added emphasis below):

Number 15 on the list is “Destruction of public education.” Does that really have an end-point? If so, what does it look like? Extrapolate the charter-school / “for-profit school funded with public money” process — which is, again, both uni-directional and accelerating — to its end-point and you get a two-tiered school system with a sloppy middle.

One tier is an aging, decrepit, under-funded, useless-for-education factory-school system for the middle and lower classes (most of the country). The other tier has bright shiny (private) charter schools for the billionaires and their millionaire administrators and friends.

A good example of this bifurcation is the charter school that Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel sends his children to, in which music and the arts are taught, which he supports at the same time he’s destroying public school funding for the poor and middle class of his own city.

The rich and the rest; one system for the wealthy and another for the rest of us. The wealthy private-school owners receive funding from the government — via vouchers and other payments — and book for themselves the profits of the successful schools they create. Because of the prices charged for these schools, the vouchers that parents receive won’t be enough, so better incomes are needed to afford the better schools.

At the same time, the lower income parents (most of the rest of the country) will either use their vouchers for the fly-by-night or less-good charter schools or they’ll have to send their children to increasingly useless public schools. Public schools will not disappear, except as a means of education. Only the poor will eventually use them, and they will become more like jails and youth rehab camps than actual schools. They will operate on a fraction of the money they have now. And the teaching profession, stripped of union rights and incomes, will be gutted of anyone but the desperate.

In between those two permanent systems, in what I called the “sloppy middle,” will be a changing list of middling private charter schools, some of which will be decent, many of which will be run as profit opportunities and abandoned, for that portion of the country with vouchers who live in okay neighborhoods and have just enough extra income to pay a little extra for education. …

In other words, unless billionaire profits are interrupted, this process will accelerate toward the end-point — public “schools” that aren’t schools for the masses; private schools that are schools for the few; and a floating, changing middle selection of variable quality for the rest.

Can the process be stopped? Of course. But billionaires are the sticking point.

I can’t remember who last week said “Love of money is a disease with these people” (meaning the 1% billionaire class), but it’s true. The great god Rand tells them that they’re the only true deserving — a comfortable religion for predators to have — and they walk the world like the princes and queens they imagine themselves to be.

Support the film “Going Public”

Making this very point is the new film Going Public. Watch the trailer — it’s brief and excellent:

As Lisa Graves of the Center for Media and Democracy says in the clip (my emphasis):

Public education is a $600 billion business. When you take those tax dollars and put it into private hands, you reduce the amount of services and put those tax dollars into a steady stream of revenue for for-profit corporations to make money for the rest of the lives of those CEOs.”

Six hundred billion dollars is a lot of dinero — they call it “ripe for harvesting” in predator circles. As the filmmakers say:

Maybe the problem with public education … isn’t public education.

Maybe it’s the predators. You think? If you’d like to help the filmmakers complete this important work, you can donate via this page.



To follow or send links: @Gaius_Publius

Gaius Publius is a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States.

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66 Responses to “How the 1% is privatizing (stealing) the $600bn public education budget”

  1. Joy Marie says:

    The point is, when the monies go to the private/publicly funded schools, many of these are built on the backs of the impoverished. The parents may believe their kids are getting a better education, but many of these charter schools are staffed with teachers who do not have teaching degrees or certifications. Teach for America is built on the backs of the poor, and their “teachers” move on to jobs in government, or up the administrative ladder, or go into politics to further push the agenda to break down public education for profit. Its sickening. Teach for America is a tool, as are vouchers, as are charter schools. Its a failed experiment, largely. It causes segregation. It allows UNTRAINED staff to teach kids, oftentimes subjects they know not how to teach. Who cares? Many of those “teachers” will be gone in a year or two. By the time these kids grow up, they’ll be able to work at Walmart, for the Walton family, part time, without benefits, because they won’t be able to think critically or offer anything else to society since they will have been taught which bubble to fill in. People need to wake up.

    You can’t defund public schools, add more kids to each classroom, and put insurmountable unrealistic tests into place, then blame the teachers.

    Why are colleges still pumping out degreed certified teachers, while the charter schools can hire anyone they choose with a degree, lets say in museum management, to teach math?

    Then, the TFA pushes its “teachers” through Masters programs which are also a sham and a scam. In Newark, NJ, you have to be highly qualified, degreed, and certified to teach in the public schools – unless you are a TFA candidate—then, the doors are opened for you, your rent is paid, you get your salary, and your loans are forgiven. 2 years if you can stand it, then you move on, up, or out.

    Wake up parents.

  2. Dickey45 says:

    I believe the 1950’s had some sort of baby boom. So all those new kindergarteners/1st graders (depending on the state) flooded the schools but there weren’t enough teachers. I met an elderly lady that taught kindergarten in California in the 50s – she quit because she had 50 kids! So I think your numbers might be skewed.

  3. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    “must education be financed by stealing from everyone?”

    Now I see your motivation ….. money.

    “how you gonna educate your kids?”

    If you received a public education, your quote makes a good argument against it.

  4. BDev says:

    Figure it out, Mike. You seem like an adult – use your brains. Or have you lost your creative ability and become govt dependent due to govt schooling?

    If you are indeed out in the tundra, how you gonna educate your kids? How did anyone educate their kids before forced govt schooling?
    You keep baiting questions, lamenting, “Oh no! What are we going to do about X?”
    Yet you still haven’t questioned the fundamental premise: must education be financed by stealing from everyone? Or is there a better, adult, voluntary and creative way to do it?

  5. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    Heaven forbid that someone moves to a new town.

    There are still two more questions.

  6. BDev says:

    You work with your neighbors, friends, relatives. Churches, local orgs. In other words, private people, whom you personally know, and who give a damn.

    So, the real question is this: Are you incapable of figuring out solutions for yourself? Must you have a nanny govt caring for you?
    This idea that everyone must have a gun to their head, having money stolen from them to educate other kids, and poorly at that, is to be supported?

  7. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    What if both parents work?
    What if the parents lack the knowledge to home school?
    What if the parents are too handicapped to homeschool?

  8. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    Private schools do not have to accept ant student with whom they’re not interested. There are some students who will never be accepted by a private school. Where will they go for an education?

    My children are now adults, but I would have checked out the principal of any school they might have attended. I would expect the principal to know how to punctuate correctly and to use capitalization rules properly.

  9. former principal says:

    you’ve missed the point… the question is “should there be public schools”? the answer is “NO”… If we give parents the money and let them choose a school, the free market goes to work and then competition sorts out the well performing schools and closes the non-performing schools. Education becomes more effective and parents have the maximum choice.

  10. BDev says:

    Home school.

    Or collaboratively home school with friends and neighbors.

    Why pay for, and entrust your children with govt workers, govt bureaucracy and a govt education system that has shown poor standards and failure, over and over and over again?

    Suppose I forced you to pay for substandard medical care for your children, over and over again? Oh wait…that is happening now, too…

  11. XX says:

    Between 1950 and 2009 student enrollment roughly doubled while the
    number of teachers increased by 252%. Between 1992 and 2009 the growth
    rates were 17% for students and 32% for teachers. One would expect that
    with student teacher ratios declining from 27.5 in 1950 to 15.4 in
    2009, there would be a significant improvement in student achievement.
    But no, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress,
    reading scores have declined and math scores have remained level over
    the past two decades.

    Even more revealing is the change in pupil-staff (as opposed to
    pupil-teacher) ratio. It was 19.3 in 1950 and 7.8 in 2009. While
    student enrollment increased 96%, non-teaching administrative and
    support staff increased 702%. The authors of the report estimate that,
    if non-teaching personnel had grown at the same rate as student
    enrollment and the number of teachers had grown “only” 1.5 times as fast
    as enrollment, the nation’s public schools would have an additional
    $37.2 billion to spend each year. That’s enough to give every public
    school teacher in the nation an $11,700 raise, or to help local
    governments fund other public needs, or even to give taxpayers
    significant relief.

    Google it.

  12. ArthurH says:

    Let’s not forget that even when government sets aside funds to enable better performing public school students to afford going to a private school, the well-to-do find ways to game the system. Not too many years ago the East Valley Tribune (Mesa, Arizona) won a Pulitzer Prize for Local Reporting when it did a series of articles showing how families that already could afford the private school tuitions collaborated with school administrators to produce paperwork that made the families look needy so they could get Maricopa County to pick up their kids’ tuition at the expense of better-performing needy students. The paper lost some advertising from the businesses of families gaming the system.

  13. SkippyFlipjack says:

    No, “never” modifies the whole sentence; “more/than” or “as/as” still have to match. “I saw more geese today than yesterday,” “I’ve never seen more geese than I did yesterday,” “I saw as many frogs Tuesday as I did Wednesday,” “I always see as many frogs on weekdays as I do on weekends,” “I seldom see more birds in the morning than I do at night,” “I’ve seen better movies than this,” “I’ve never tasted a better burger than this one,” “I’ve never seen as good a movie as that one.”

  14. SkippyFlipjack says:

    In past posts Americablog writers have called anyone investigating charter schools — Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg, for example — “union-busters”. The unions are a big part of the whole dynamic.

  15. Tracy Yarbrough says:

    Never is an adverb referring to at what extent she has; however more is an adverb to which extent she is concerned. They do not need to be equal surperlatives in this contest as she is referring or modifying to different verbs, not the same one.

  16. Tracy Yarbrough says:

    Charter schools, as a whole are failing worse than public schools. In addition, many mismanage public funds and close leaving the children in a state of chaos.

  17. Tracy Yarbrough says:

    Considering there are NO unions in the South, which is at the bottom, why are you even bring the union crap into this discussion? This is about allowing American public schools’ money to be siphoned off at the expense of out children.

  18. calas500 says:

    Waiting for Superman is nothing more than a commercial ad for privatization. It contains factual errors. Research Geoffrey Canada’s real results, and those of others touted as education saviors in this film. Those who know only a little about the topic do buy into the film, but it’s not telling the story factually.

  19. JNWesner says:

    We need to find ways to discern failing and successful teachers, remediate the failures, reward the successes, fund all schools adequately (that means getting rid of funding within districts), return art and music to schools, direct students to careers where they can flourish, and provide free education all the way to advanced degrees, for those capable of using the education.

  20. JNWesner says:

    Our enemy is NOT the 1%. That would be over 3 million people. The problem is the 1% of the 1%. or maybe 30,000, probably even fewer than that. They control the congress and state legislatures. They control advertising, and also the messages given by newspapers and television. They convince the gullible that teachers, and unions, are the enemy. They convince the religious that channeling public money into church schools is the answer. The one percent that understands what’s happening doesn’t have the money or clout to broadcast out message. We post stuff here, and we read it and agree, but we change no minds and certainly change no actions.

  21. SkippyFlipjack says:

    No, I think they augment public discourse by showing varying viewpoints. I just took issue with eddiesacrobosco’s summary that “Superman” demonized teachers or is “what we’re fighting” — for many of us it’s not that simple. “Superman” did take a dim view of “bad” teachers (and while evaluation is difficult and a contentious topic, we all know that there are bad teachers.) I’m looking forward to seeing “Going Public” when it’s released. I agree that politics should cease but unfortunately not only are the solutions wrought with politics but so is the process to even evaluate whether/what needs to be done.

    I don’t have a school-age kid yet so have some leisure in trying to understand all the issues involved. The only thing I know for sure, as I’ve noted elsewhere on this page, is that our first obligation is to the children, period.

  22. SkippyFlipjack says:

    good points

  23. Marlon says:

    So is the movie versions of each to supplant actual public discourse? Each side then has had its say wrought in film? I dunno. I think there actually is a crisis in education today, just as there was thirty years ago when I graduated high school. It was all going to shit then, too. It seems just to have just kept going. I run a private business doing direct instruction in public schools. We are there every day. I can attest that there is dynamic change underfoot. I can also proudly say that we stand with the teachers and educators that are there everyday with us in front of the kids. These kids deserve better than they are getting. That is the bottom line. Some things cease to be political after awhile—or should cease.

  24. shawn_von_socialist says:

    privatization of schools and non profits – is the legal way to discriminate plus make a profit

  25. SkippyFlipjack says:

    Hah.. I looked up an older thread here on a similar subject, and Sophie does the same thing — show up, spew some crap about rich people, then not come back. OK, nice talking to you.

  26. SkippyFlipjack says:

    This is one topic that needs to avoid the simple ‘corporatist playbook!’ approach

  27. flowerofhighrank says:

    It’s a set phrase or idiomatic phrase. The construction is correct when the pattern follows the norm. Equivalence vs comparison.
    “I’m as happy as a little girl.” You’re comparing your state of happiness with that of a little girl’s. ‘I am happier than a little girl.” See the difference?

  28. SkippyFlipjack says:

    Here’s a recent article by someone who also extolls the virtues of the Finnish system, and who uses that example to lead into discussion of the success of a charter school the writer founded:

  29. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    Skippy pointed it out as poor grammar. It may be imprecise, but I don’t believe it’s ungrammatical. Grammar errors would be something like not having a noun or verb agree, splitting an infinitive, ending a sentence with a preposition, incorrectly using a and an, or using an adjective as an adverb.

    I can be extremely literal. Skippy said it was a grammar mistake, so I tried to figure out what rule to which he was referring. I was not trying to be argumentative. It was almost as if I forgot someone’s name. I thought I was having a senior moment.

  30. SkippyFlipjack says:

    I simply said that blindly following the teachers unions is not the answer. I’m eager to discuss proposed solutions or whether education in this country even is in crisis. What is Finland doing right? Should we be investing more in teacher training?

  31. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    I love you, too.

  32. sophie says:

    Why don’t you try doing a little research, instead of spouting off about public education, and unions, when clearly, you do not know anything.

    Look at Finland’s education system-several years ago, they decided to put their resources into more intensive training for teachers. Their FOCUS is having capable teachers who know what they are doing. They have one of the best education systems in the words–far ahead of the US.

    In this country “politics,” certain politicians- (majority Repugs), and for-profit corporations have joined together to PROFIT off of the privatization of the public school system. Check out Michele Rhee’s little scheme, “Student’s First” among many others. People such as Bill Gates are trying to profit off of the virtual education education and testing being pushed in every state.
    The end game isalways more money and the elimination of the public school system, including public universities.

  33. TomL says:

    I think as Skippy pointed out, it’s just the definition of the words “than” and “as.” You wouldn’t say, “I’m more concerned as I was before.” You would say, “I’m more concerned than I was before.” So you shouldn’t say, “I’ve never been more concerned as I am now.” It’s correct to say, “Ive never been more concerned than I am now.”

  34. SkippyFlipjack says:

    Isn’t there a grammar rule about “Don’t say shit wrong”? Like if she’d said “I’ve never been as happy than I was today.” We know that’s wrong, right?

    I think it’s just the definition of the words — “than” is “Used after a comparative adjective or adverb to introduce the second element or clause of an unequal comparison,” which would be correct here. “As” is used in comparisons that shows equality: “as happy as I am today.”

  35. SkippyFlipjack says:

    In the end, we’re not talking about investing in cheap products from China, or making a better mouse trap than the next guy.It is about the education of the next generation.

    This is why I think union politics should have no part in this discussion. We care about the workers, but in this factory, the product is more important than any employee.

  36. emjayay says:

    Some people seem to want a grammar reference link for this, although I know just what you are talking about. (I didn’t spend all those years diagramming sentences for nuthin.) I just spent all of three minutes on the internet and coundn’t find a reference. And I don’t seem to have an elementary grammar book on the shelf.

  37. Naja pallida says:

    No, the solution is to find a medium. One where empirical facts drive how and where money is spent. Not just a partisan state legislature declaring what they prefer, or lining the pockets of their campaign contributors.

    I don’t really have a problem with charter schools in general, but they need to be held to the same standards with regards to what students they take, and not be allowed to just dump any students they don’t want to deal with back onto the public schools, and then declare they are a better system.

    No matter what school is under-performing, be it public or charter, the cause needs to be determined and addressed, asap. These schools that go on under-performing for years on end, while bureaucrats play around with their funding and educational requirements are ridiculous. It’s only hurting the entire system, and ultimately the students. Having schools run by private entities puts an extra layer of impediment to addressing problems, when money becomes their primary motivator to achievement. And like any for-profit endeavor, they’re only going to do just enough to maintain the profitability of it.

    In the end, we’re not talking about investing in cheap products from China, or making a better mouse trap than the next guy. It is about the education of the next generation. It’s about being competitive in the world. Do we really want to leaving that to whoever is the lowest bidder for the contract? Because that is really what privatization of public education is about… or privatization of prisons… or privatization of our military… or privatization of health care. It doesn’t take cutting very many corners to reduce the quality of the overall product.

  38. emjayay says:

    I do.

  39. SkippyFlipjack says:

    Your note about the comparison makes sense — I think studies have shown that one of the highest indicators of academic success is involved parents, and involved parents are probably more likely to try to find the right schools for their kids, including charters.

    As for flushing money down the privatization hole, is the solution flushing it down the public hole instead?

  40. cole3244 says:

    whether the charter schools perform better is not the issue its that they teach divisive thinking that separates the citizens rather then unites them and religion and its bigotry is highlighted, without public schools america is destined for the scrape heap and sooner rather than later.

  41. nicho says:

    And Edward Snowden. What about Edward Snowden?

  42. Naja pallida says:

    There are some fundamentally flawed methods in the studies comparing public and charter schools. They almost universally fail to take into account that charter schools, to a degree, have the ability to pick and choose their students. While there may be anti-discrimination laws, and voucher programs, etc, charter schools still in general have fewer students with impediments to learning, such as poverty, disabilities, multi-language influences… plus, charter schools often expel the troublesome students, which inevitably end up back in the public school system. Even with that advantage, back in 2010, nation-wide only about 17% of charter schools showed an actual improvement over the public school system, while about 37% were worse, and the rest were about on par. Those aren’t particularly good statistics to justify the privatization and institutionalized discrimination in education.

    Universal public education, including higher education, is the primary way a country invests in its future, but we’re actively going backwards. To a time where education was only for the privileged few, and the majority of people went to work as soon as they were able to. And then we’re stumped why we’re falling behind almost every other industrialized nation in the world, in pretty much every subject. Then they complain when people want to increase the number of immigration visas available for people with specialized training and higher education. It’s only a matter of time before the scales tip and we cease to be the go-to nation for many things that require a higher education. Corporations are encouraging that, by moving skilled jobs overseas every chance they get, and government is facilitating it by not only allowing those jobs to be taken away, but also by making sure we have fewer Americans educated enough to do them. We’re flushing so much money down the privatization black hole that we can’t even begin to invest in our here and now, leaving us incapable of investing in the future.

  43. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    I am a public school teacher. Well, I am a retired public school teacher, and I don’t think my brain is totally addled. I can not recall a rule of grammar that would cover what Skippy is saying.

  44. SkippyFlipjack says:

    Ice cream! I’m talking about Ice cream! :)

    All I meant is that the woman was using improperly matched comparison language — She, the educator speaking at the beginning of the trailer, says that “I’ve never been more concerned … as I am now.” That’s incorrect — she’s either more concerned than ever, or as concerned as she ever has been. I agree with emjayay that it’s overly precise but as the speaker introducing the trailer I don’t think she’s just speaking conversationally.

  45. emjayay says:

    Skippy is right, although in conversation I think we are permitted to be a bit imprecise or make little common errors we might fix in writing. I missed that one myself. Of course we are used to commonly hearing far more egregious errors from a lot of Americans.

    Is there a public school teacher out there who can explain the grammar?

  46. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    If you’re trying to confuse me with your fancy footwork, you have succeeded. I have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about. I have read your first post and last post several times, and I just don’t get it. Perhaps you should explain it to me as if I were a five year old. I’m not just bustin’ your chops. Perhaps you could rewrite the original sentence the way you think it should have been said.

  47. SkippyFlipjack says:

    Not sure what you mean.. I don’t know what you’d call it, the one that says that words of comparison have to match up. So you can have more ice cream in your freezer than you’ve ever had, but you can’t have more as you’ve had.

  48. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    What rule of grammar are you using?

  49. SkippyFlipjack says:

    “More concerned than”, or “As concerned as”

  50. samizdat says:

    The funny thing about charter schools is that they often do not perform batter, and are oftentimes worse, than public schools. In the City of St. Louis, there have been a number of charter schools open–at least a dozen, of various sizes and disciplines–and at least half of them have closed or are under scrutiny for one reason or another. And the others are only doing as well as reported. The charter school ‘movement’, as Gaius states, is wholly the product of Amerika, Inc.

    There is no fucking way in hell that this country could have educated itself into the most powerful industrialized nation on the planet without public schools. No. Fucking. Way. And there is no way we will ever fully recover from the privations visited upon the poor and middle class without public education. But, of course, that’s the entire point of charter schools: MarketPRopaganda them as a “solution” to the “failed” public schools (with some teacher/union bashing along the way, for good measure), then when they inevitably don’t do as well as advertised (due largely to societal conditions: poverty, family strife, parental indifference [see societal conditions, eg, unemployment/underemployment]), the whole of the Powers That Be throw up there hands and say, “oh, well, we tried”, and that’s that. They win.

  51. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    I’m getting more confused. The adverb should be with the verb, shouldn’t it?

  52. karmanot says:

    —as now I am?

  53. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    I’ll have to buy a clue. What’s wrong with that sentence?

  54. SkippyFlipjack says:

    According to the article emjayay links below, VAMs (“value-added model” of evaluation) measure deviation from predicted student performance. If a teacher gets ESL students who aren’t starting out at grade level that should be figured in. If it’s not reflected it would seem to be a flaw in the VAM methodology, right?

  55. SkippyFlipjack says:

    What makes me a little concerned about the state of public education is the grammar of the educator who opens the trailer: “I’ve never been more concerned about the future of public education as I am now.”

  56. SkippyFlipjack says:

    It’s like “Going Public”, another editorial movie that takes a different point of view. There’s not a “what we’re fighting,” it’s “what we’re trying to accomplish” which is evaluating the education of our kids and figuring out how to fix what may need fixing.

  57. eddiesacrobosco says:

    Waiting for Superman exalts the privatization of education and demonizes teachers – this is what we’re fighting!

  58. emjayay says:

    Not to argue with the thesis of the film in any way, but headlines about school closings in various cities are meaningless scare tactics. Detroit? It has half the population it used to. Other cities have constantly changing demographics, and closed schools may mean the school is closed because of its problems and several others are opening for the same area, maybe in the same building the closed school was in. And no one should say a kid is defective, and the child should not be part of the discussion, but what really was going on there? That mother Karen Skowwall does seem highly credible, but it’s hard to make any judgements without knowing a lot more about that particular story, which hopefully the film would cover.

  59. emjayay says:

    Are there states where the student funding is portable and can be supplemented by parents? It doesn’t work that way in New York. Admission is by lottery if there aren’t enough spaces at a particular school (although I’m thinking that if you are the mayor of Chicago and that is the case there, then not so much for your kids). Obviously there are enough problems with this model.

  60. emjayay says:

    ELL: English Language Learners
    ESL: English as a Second Language.
    I used to be a teacher and ELL was a new one to me.

  61. SkippyFlipjack says:

    There’s another good movie on the topic, from three years ago — Waiting for ‘Superman’

  62. Sweetie says:

    It should be noted that the percentage of ELL/ESL students has exploded nationally. I remember seeing a chart that showed general student population growth of 10% and percentage of ELL/ESL student population growth at 60%. This only seems to be increasing, too. Given that English competence (grade level reading) is the foundation of most K-12 learning, this is an area that desperately needs to be fixed. We need a paradigm shift to better accommodate these students — without shortchanging non-ELL students.

  63. Sweetie says:

    VAMs are being used to label teachers as being poor-quality, often because they happen to end up with a lot of ELL/ESL students who are not reading at grade level. According to a statistician, the “data” being used in NYC is within the noise margin (or something to that effect).

    VAMs were designed for agriculture. Some teachers say they are designed to demonize teachers, making them out to be the problem and also to be used as a tool to practically destroy retirements. It is a nice idea to be able to measure student progress, to make sure that they’re actually learning something. However, teachers are being undermined with:

    1. Excessive classroom heterogeneity, both in terms of ability and current level.
    2. Too much emphasis on standardized testing (“teaching to the test”).
    3. The effort to vilify teachers as being lazy and incompetent Welfare queens.
    4. Backward textbooks and curricula from publishers in Texas, adherence to Texas standards, etc.
    5. Student poverty, which includes hunger, distraction, pollution (lead especially).
    6. Unequal funding based on property taxes.
    7. Funding drains such as vouchers and sports like football.
    8. A shoot the messenger political climate that makes it difficult to teach students anything controversial.

    We hear all the time about how poor-quality education programs are at colleges and how they only attract low-quality students. The trouble is that all of those points above tend to push students away, including students who could become talented teacher education specialists at universities. But, particularly in areas such as “Language Arts”, it’s not as if “good” schools don’t have plenty of choice when it comes to who they hire.

  64. SkippyFlipjack says:

    I’m waiting for there to be a Kids’ Union whose only interest is protecting the needs of children.

  65. ArthurH says:

    In just one generation, this plot will make Monty Python’s “Upper Middle Class Twit of the Year” contest a reality! Poor America!

  66. nicho says:

    So, the plan is working. This was in the corporatist playbook.

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