NEWS – We’ve been using our Facebook page over the summer as a publishing platform to see if it has more impact than creating content online and sharing on social media sites. Owning the content has advantages, but readers enjoy advertising free sites. Content consumers, when giving the choice, choose no advertising or implement ad-blockers. They want informative content, but their choices create the environment where they are getting less content. This doesn’t bode well for the future of journalists.
The point is a “free market economy” isn’t the solution for all issues affecting society. In fact, as the case with journalism and school choice, free market policies create a multitude of outcomes which are far more negative than positive. When it comes to educating our children – the future of this country – we shouldn’t be creating more harm than good.
While it might be obvious to many, let us point out that as a global economy, we cannot afford winners and losers in the field of education. We need to produce winners across the board.
Since the early 80’s, Milton Friedman has been the voice of education reform – advocating to allow parents the choice of where their kids go to school via vouchers, credits and school savings accounts. For decades, Friedman’s theories of free market choices have been implemented across the United States and in Latin America with near disastrous implications. In 2014, Thomas Piketty exposed “trickle-down” economic theories as a scheme to reward the rich at the expense of the poor.
As academicians and thinkers begin assessing our floundering public education system, 2015 will be the year school choice is exposed which will linger into 2016. It should be a matter for serious discussions in presidential debates, but the republicans haven’t fielded any serious candidates, nor would they be able to intelligently discuss the topic.
School choice and charter school schemes were devised to allow for legal segregation, abolishing teacher unions and elimination of our public school system. However, they were marketed to disadvantaged parents as a great equalizer for their children…”public charters will lift minorities out of urban schools to give them options to attend better schools”.
However, the decades following this public relations scheme, our reality is far less settling. It has allowed mobile white middle class parents to send their kids to suburban schools where there are no minorities. Segregation isn’t legal in this country, but vouchers are legal.
In fact, the free market ALEC Libertarians financed by Charles and David Koch, aren’t even trying to propagandize this effort anymore. They are now planning to advocate “school choice” directly to the middle class Americans, so get ready Hoosiers for even more schemes in Indianapolis.
In an article published earlier this year after an American Legislative Exchange Commission (ALEC) gathering, the author reveals:
Perhaps more importantly, ALEC’s revisions to three of its “model” voucher bills make clear that it is changing focus from underserved inner-city schools to middle-class suburbia. The talking points at the end of the bills state:
“Legislators … should keep in mind the financial burden many middle-class families face in paying for private schools.”
“The authors believe that all children from low- and middle-income families should receive public support for their education regardless of whether they are attending a public or private school.”
“The authors do not adjust the amount granted to an ESA [Education Savings Account] student based upon the student’s income because states do not adjust the public investment for a student attending a traditional public school or a charter based upon their household income.”
As if to further nail down the point that school vouchers are not about equity, ALEC also advises legislators against including language “banning discrimination in hiring.” But if they choose to do so, they should “take care not to interfere with the ability of religious institutions to hire individuals who share their religious beliefs.”
As if we didn’t already know, but “religious schools” are being used by republicans to discriminate against hiring certain people AND discriminate against minority students.
The US Department of Education has warned states about allowing segregation, but do you think republican governors like Mike Pence are listening?
Mike sues our federal government over wanting to protect our air and water. He sues the federal government over wanting to provide health insurance for Hoosiers. He sues over education standards and state’s rights to discriminate against gays and lesbians.
We think Hoosiers are beginning to catch on to Mike, but we shall see in 2016 and beyond.
In the same article, they uncovered the real reason our public school system are being “reformed” with vouchers:
At the American Federation for Children’s National Policy Summit held in New Orleans, lobbyist Scott Jensen—who, before being banned from Wisconsin politics for violating the public trust served as chief of staff to governor Tommy Thompson, and was a prime mover behind the first voucher program in the nation—admitted that vouchers were really all about “pursuing Milton Friedman’s free-market vision” even though the ideological agenda was nowadays sugarcoated with “a much more compelling message … of social justice.”
So what exactly was the brave new world Milton Friedman envisioned when he first floated the idea of school vouchers? While lecturing right-wing state lawmakers at a 2006 ALEC meeting, Friedman jumped at the opportunity to explain what his vision was all about. It had nothing whatsoever to do with helping “indigent” children; no, he explained to thunderous applause, vouchers were all about “abolishing the public school system.” – See more at: http://www.prwatch.org/news/2015/07/12869/alec-school-vouchers-are-kids-suburbia#.dpuf
“Abolishing the public school system” has always been the goal, and the right-wing fanatics in Indiana have made great progress in reaching that goal. Yet, Governor Pence wants to convene yet another group of professionals to study the teacher shortage.
Meanwhile, it will get worse. Much worse.
Hoosier must remember these names: Lilly Foundation, Jeb Bush, Mike Pence, Tony Bennett, Mitch Daniels, MindTrust, Rich & Betsy DeVos, Walmart heirs and Eli Broad family.
This past weekend we were reading an article in the South Bend Tribune about education reform in Michigan and a study being done by a professor in their state. The journalist or editor carefully chose their words, but the results of School Choice programs are becoming scrutinized :
A second phenomena — an exception to the first finding — is that in the most disadvantaged districts, it’s the more advantaged kids who are fleeing, leaving some school districts to deal with a larger share of struggling students.
As we pointed out above, this has ALWAYS been the motive behind school choice.
Republican politicians are hired through campaign contributions to continue pushing the scheme on unsuspecting Hoosiers. Governor Mike Pence gets most of his policy guidance from ALEC, so expect him to carry out their new strategy of advocating school choice to the middle class.
Our teacher shortage is just a symptom of a system which has been under attack for decades. It will get worse and unless the federal government has an answer, or voters wise up, our public education system will become problematic harming millions of students in the short and long-term.
In Delaware County, we have an outstanding city school system, but parents are moving kids to county schools. While some hope the dust will settle, our present and future looks segregated – white flight from urban settings to the suburbs. Growth for some districts while cost containment for others. Winners and losers.
How does this improve quality educational outcomes? How does this promote equality and educational justice?
Folks in Michigan are waking up to question and questioning the results of school choice:
From a public policy perspective, Pogodzinski said, the findings indicate it’s time for Michigan to rethink the way in which schools receive funds to operate, maintain their facilities and transport students.
“It raises concerns,” he said, “at least to me, about what this looks like in the future as more and more choice is put into the system.”