We now know the results of rampant greed among the politicians in those states that are cutting education budgets in their K-12 school systems. They would rather preserve the wealth of the wealthiest one percent than see any value in governments or governing of any kind. The cuts are for the most part in red states, causing their educational systems to crumble, which destroys the seed-corn of our democracy: educated children.
Parents and teachers might often wonder how to teach children caring toward others – more so when the world feels full of disagreement, conflict, and aggression.
Last October, the National Education Association, the nation’s largest teachers union, gave Hillary Clinton one of her earliest organized labor endorsements. Since then, the powerful group has been one of Clinton’s most vocal supporters. Neither Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump have spent much time discussing public K-12 education issues during the primary season. But recently, elementary and secondary education topics have attracted more attention. Clinton began articulating her education policy ideas at union conventions this month and Republican leaders championed school choice at their national convention last week.
In 1983, the National Commission on Excellence in Education published A Nation At Risk: The Imperative for Educational Reform, which documented widespread academic underachievement at every level, concluding:
Nevada is one of our nation’s 24 one-party, all Republican states. Writing for the Washington Post, Lyndsey Layton and Emma Brown note that, “In January, Republicans took control of the Nevada legislature and the governor’s mansion for the first time since 1929, generating the political momentum to enact the country’s most expansive voucher plan. ...Starting next school year, any parent in Nevada can pull a child from the state’s public schools and take tax dollars with them, giving families the option to use public money to pay for private or parochial school or even for home schooling… Nevada’s law is singular because all of the state’s 450,000 K-12 public school children—regardless of income—are eligible to take the money to whatever school they choose.” A child must be enrolled in a public school for at least 100 days in order to qualify.
Editor's note: A long-time educator and advocate for curriculum reform, Marion Brady brings deep historial context to his evaluation of our current educational conundrum. Here he shares his thoughts on what he might tell billionaire funder Bill Gates about what schools and students really need, if he had the chance.
Until recently, if you homeschooled your children, you were either part of a pioneering movement in alternative education or doing so for religious reasons. Now, more than 2.2 million children ages 5-17 are homeschooled in the United States, a figure on par with the number of children enrolled in Catholic schools and public charter schools, according to Brian Ray, founder of the National Homeschool Education Research Institute and the journal, Homeschool Researcher. Ray points out that the number of secular homeschoolers is increasing exponentially, though just how fast is hard to measure.
For several years, I’ve been tracking the path of corporate school reform in two very different communities as it moves from city to suburb in my home state of New Jersey. One story comes from Newark, New Jersey’s largest city and the target of a nationally watched campaign to remake a high-poverty, high-needs urban district into a new education marketplace, transformed by charter chains, “venture philanthropy,” and various forms of “school choice” that treat parents as customers seeking services instead of citizens with rights. The other story is about my hometown, Montclair, a diverse community that has been long known as a model of high quality, integrated public education. Montclair, too, has been the target of a reform offensive, much less destabilizing than the one under way in Newark, but strikingly similar in many respects.
Dear parents and educators of New York,
Be afraid, be very afraid, any time you see a reporter in the business media turn his or her attention to education and public schools. What will likely follow is a string of truisms used to prop up a specious argument, steeped in biased notions that were themselves picked up from ill-informed conversations promoted by other clueless business news outlets.