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Tuesday, May 15, 2018

HENRY A. GIROUX: The Slow and Fast Assault on Public Education | Boston Review

The Slow and Fast Assault on Public Education | Boston Review:

The Slow and Fast Assault on Public Education

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Since Donald Trump’s election in November 2016, there have been few occasions to feel hopeful about politics. But now we are witnessing a proliferation of causes for hope, as brave students from Parkland, Florida, and equally courageous teachers throughout the United States lead movements of mass demonstrations, walkouts, and strikes.
The United States is in the midst of a crisis of values, ethics, and politics. It has been decades in the making, produced largely by a neoliberal system that has subordinated all aspects of social life to the dictates of the market while stripping assets from public goods and producing untenable levels of inequality. What we are now living through is the emergence of a new political formation in which neoliberalism has put on the mantle of fascism.
Amidst this cataclysm, public schools have been identified as a major threat to the conservative ruling elite because public education has long been integral to U.S. democracy’s dependence on an informed, engaged citizenry. Democracy is predicated on faith in the capacity of all humans for intelligent judgment, deliberation, and action, but this innate capacity must be nurtured. The recognition of this need explains why the United States has, since its earliest days, emphasized the value of public education at least as an ideal. An education that teaches one to think critically and mediate charged appeals to one’s emotions is key to making power accountable and embracing a mature sense of the social contract.
Now, as our public schools are stretched to their breaking, their students and teachers are leading the call for a moral awakening. Both argue that the crisis of public schooling and the war on youth are related, and that the assaults on public schooling can only be understood as part of a larger war on liberal democracy.
No one movement or group can defeat the powerful and connected forces of neoliberal fascism, but energized young people and teachers are helping to open a space in which change looks more possible than at any time in the recent past. The Parkland students have embraced a grassroots approach and teachers are following their lead. Both are primed for action and are ready to challenge those eager to dismantle the public education system. They recognize that education is a winning issue because most Americans still view it as a path through which their children can gain access to decent jobs and a good life. The usual neoliberal bromides advocating privatization, charter schools, vouchers, and teaching for the test have lost all legitimacy at a moment when the ruling elite act with blatant disregard for the democratizing ethos that has long been a keystone of our society.
All of the states in which teachers have engaged in wildcat strikes, demonstrations, and Continue reading: The Slow and Fast Assault on Public Education | Boston Review:
The Slow and Fast Assault on Public Education

Any education reform that ignores segregation is doomed to failure

Any education reform that ignores segregation is doomed to failure:

Any educational reform that ignores segregation is doomed to failure

A new report finds that such reforms only placate white people, don't bring equity

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n education, America does everything but equity.” With these words, Failing Brown v. Board, a new report from the civil rights group Journey for Justice Alliance, makes plain how the machine of educational reform, with all its innovations and disruptive technologies, is missing an essential cog: the resources to deliver a quality neighborhood school.

Most states cut education spending in the 2008 recession. Yet, despite the economy having recovered, there is less funding today for education than even those lean years, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Researchers from this non-profit found that in 2015, “29 states were still providing less total school funding per student than they were in 2008.”
No wonder the quality of our schools is suffering, and parents are grasping at straws. But the seductive promise of educational programs that don’t grapple with the roots of inequality will eventually ring hollow.
Yesterday, the director of Journey for Justice Alliance, Jitu Brown — alongside other civil rights groups including the NAACP, the Advancement Project, American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association — held a press conference on the steps of the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. The occasion was the release of the report, to do what many reformers openly refuse to — confront a system of segregated schools.
Segregated housing and schools, gerrymandered districts and voter suppression picked up were Jim Crow left off. Housing ghettos are born of racist housing policies that rob the black community of opportunities to amass wealth. According to Prosperity Now, a national nonprofit to expand economic opportunity for low-income families, and the Institute for Policy Studies, a progressive think tank, white households have seven times the amount of wealth as African Americans, and six times as much as Latinos.
Wealthier neighborhoods to hoard wealth and maintain a racially separate school system through a financial structure based on property taxes. Local school districts rely heavily on the revenue that comes from local property taxes, creating funding disparities between rich and poor districts. These primary sources of inequality continue to limit opportunities, suppressing the social mobility of subsequent generations. Yet many education reformers avoid, accept — or even embrace! — segregation, knowing that federal policy got Continue reading; Any education reform that ignores segregation is doomed to failure:

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Image result for charter school segregation