Thursday, March 23, 2017

Jeff Bryant: Words That Hurt Our Public Schools, And Ones That Help

Words That Hurt Our Public Schools, And Ones That Help:

Words That Hurt Our Public Schools, And Ones That Help

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[The following is a transcript of a presentation to grantees of the Schott Foundation for Public Education]
I want to start off today with a story about my mom. Trust me, I’ll eventually transition to talking about education. But my mom’s story illustrates how attitudes are affected by media and language.
My mom was born in 1923 on the plains of North Dakota. Her dad, my grandfather was a farmer-rancher. Her mom, my grandmother, ran the house and brought in laundry, sewing, and other work from neighbors.
But then commodity prices fell through the floor and the Great Depression hit. Then my grandfather’s farm blew away in the Dust Bowl. Talk about a perfect storm.
With hardly any income of their own, my grandparents turned to the public sector, the government, for financial assistance. Through what was called the Work Progress Administration, the WPA, created by the Franklin Roosevelt presidential administration, my grandfather got a position operating a grain elevator in eastern Montana.
With a steady source of income, my grandparents could provide for my mom and her three other siblings. Things weren’t always easy. When my mom knocked out a front tooth in a toboggan accident, she had to have a wooden peg fill the empty space until they had a chicken to pay the dentist and they could travel to a town that had a dentist.
Nevertheless, my grandparents, neither who completed more than an elementary school level of education, had access to local public schools for their children, each of whom graduated high school. My mom was the first person, and the first woman, in her extended family to attend community college and then a public state university to earn her degree in nursing education. She was recruited by the US Military to serve in the Nurses Corp training nurses for the frontline troops in World War II.
That job was her ticket out of her small, rural community and led her to move to Dallas, Texas to accept a position in nurse education at a major metropolitan hospital in the late 1940s. It was there that she met the man who would eventually be my father.
Government Is The Problem
By the time I came along, a lot had changed in my parents lives. And by Words That Hurt Our Public Schools, And Ones That Help:

3/23/2017 – The Big Lie Behind Trump’s Education Budget

THIS WEEK: School Choice Pushback … Vouchers Feed White Flight … Schools As Sanctuaries … Student Loan Defaulters Targeted … Words That Hurt Schools


The Big Lie Behind Trump’s Education Budget

By Jeff Bryant

“Public school supporters are angry at President Trump’s budget proposal, which plans to cut funding to the Department of Education by 13 percent … But the target for their anger should not be just the extent of the cuts but also how the cuts are being pitched to the public … The way the Trump administration is spinning this combination of funding cuts and increases … is that there is some sort of strategically important balance between funding programs for poor kids versus ‘school choice’ schemes, as if the two are equivalents and just different means to the same ends. Nothing could be further from the truth.”
Read more …


School Choice Fight In Iowa May Preview The One Facing Trump

The New York Times

“Few topics in education are more controversial than the idea of diverting public money to private institutions, and Iowa has become a study in the kind of political fights that may be in store for the administration … The pushback has come from groups traditionally opposed to the idea … but also from some conservatives … A Des Moines Register poll of 802 Iowans in February found that 58 percent opposed using public funds to pay for private education, while 35 percent supported the idea.”
Read more …

Trump’s Signature Education Goal Has A Long History With White Flight

The Huffington Post

“President Donald Trump’s proposed budget set aside $250 million for a still-opaque ‘private school choice program’ … Betsy DeVos claimed at her confirmation hearing that school choice programs lead to more integrated schools … The history of school voucher programs is tied up with ideas of white supremacy. To avoid school desegregation … some Southern states created tuition grants to allow white students to attend all-white private schools in the 1960s … White students continue to dominate private school demographics, in part because of this racist history.”
Read more …

How Schools Are Trying to Make Undocumented Kids And Their Parents Feel Safe


“Schools have been proactive in hopes of alleviating the anxiety of immigrant children, emphasizing that they remain open to everyone … Even in districts that aren’t taking pains to make immigrants feel safe, US law already provides a fair number of protections for undocumented students … But … immigration experts say there are few legal options available to protect undocumented students and parents who are en route to ‘sensitive locations’ like school or church.”
Read more …

Trump Administration Rolls Back Protections For People In Default On Student Loans

The Washington Post

“Days after a report on federal student loans revealed a double-digit rise in defaults, President Trump’s administration revoked federal guidance Thursday that barred student debt collectors from charging high fees on past-due loans … The action does not affect any borrowers whose loans are held by the Education Department, according to the department. It could, however, impact nearly 7 million people with $162 billion in FFEL loans held by guarantee agencies. Nearly half of the total outstanding student debt in default comes from the FFEL program.”
Read more …

Words That Hurt Our Public Schools, And Ones That Help

By Jeff Bryant

“Many, attribute the success of the anti-public movement to the vast wealth of individuals in big business and finance. That wealth helps for sure. But I would argue that they have a weapon more valuable than money: It’s the English language … The war of words on the public sector has had some of its greatest success in the effort to dismantle public education … Let’s look at some of the words used to assault our schools and consider how we can fight back.”
Read more …

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