Republican leaders in Congress make no secret of prioritizing tax cuts for their wealthy donors and corporate allies over the needs of people who work for a living. Donald Trump presented himself as a different kind of Republican—a populist who would look out for ordinary Americans. But, with the president’s full-throated support, Republicans are poised to pass a reverse Robin Hood tax plan that lavishes benefits on corporations and the very wealthy at the expense of Americans just trying to get by.
More than two decades ago, Deborah Meier warned that the idea of democracy was in peril. “Is it ever otherwise?” she asked in the preface to The Power of Their Ideas, her elegantly argued manifesto for public education. A self-described preacher on its behalf, she has spent half a century nurturing “everyone’s inalienable capacity to be an inventor, dreamer, and theorist—to count in the larger scheme of things.”
At the Heritage Academy, a publicly funded charter school network in Arizona, according to a lawsuit in U.S. District Court, high school students are required to learn that the Anglo-Saxon population of the United States is descended from one of the lost tribes of Israel. They are asked to memorize a list of 28 “Principles” of “sound government,” among which are that “to protect man’s rights, God has revealed certain Principles of divine law” (the ninth Principle) and that “the husband and wife each have their specific rights appropriate to their role in life” (the 26th Principle). To complete the course, students are further required to teach these principles to at least five individuals outside of school and family.
For decades, small, disgruntled factions have painted the American public school system, which has its roots in democratic, egalitarian ideals, as a bastion of government-funded, runaway liberalism. Now, Newt Gingrich and other conservative pundits are pointing to a suburban Minneapolis school district as further evidence that kids today are being corrupted by bleeding heart liberals posing as teachers.
"Here we go again," was what many left-leaning folks likely felt after seeing a recent announcement about a new effort by wealthy donors to rescue the Democratic Party from its electoral doldrums. Backed by $20 million, the "New Blue" campaign, coming from politically centrist think tank Third Way, promises to lead the party out of the "wilderness" of its minority status to a pathway to "achieving progressive majorities up and down the ballot."
I can tell you exactly when I became an activist for public education. I was a junior attending high school in Kansas when the state Senate passed a bill that would allow teachers to be prosecuted for material considered harmful or offensive to students. Teachers found in violation of the law could be fined or jailed for up to six months. If a parent lodged a complaint, my teachers could land in prison for teaching classics like Huck Finn or Beloved.
The price of a college degree is more expensive in America than anywhere else in the world, according to a new report from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. The OECD looked at public and private college costs in its 35 member countries and found that higher education is priciest in the United States by a significant margin. Business Insider notes that while “one-third of countries do not charge tuition for public institutions,” and 10 countries have public tuition costs that average less than $4,000 annually, getting a diploma from a public institution in the U.S. generally runs about $8,202 a year. The closest competitor on that front is Chile, where public college costs average $7,654 annually.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker Started a War Against Teachers - Now Education Could Decide a Key Battleground Election
Tony Evers, Wisconsin’s state superintendent of public instruction announced on Wednesday, August 23 that he plans to run for governor against Scott Walker. In his speech declaring his candidacy, he promised to invest in children, public schools, and the middle class, and declared that he will heal the political divide exploited by Scott Walker and Donald Trump.
I am told she is a nice kid. She does her homework. No behavior problems. She earned a 92% overall average for the 2016-2017 school yearâ€Š—â€Šmaking honor roll and missing high honor roll by tenths of points. I should be pleased, but my kid might as well be invisible. She does not have special needs, nor is she gifted. She doesn’t qualify for the advanced track, nor does she need anything exceptional besides quality instruction. She is the vanilla comment that teachers give: is a pleasure to have in class. She is obedient, compliant, hardworking, and on the cusp of reaching her full potential. What would it take for her to reach excellence? Will it be hard work, or simply time? Or is this it? Has she peaked, at 12? Is she just a pleasure to teach? Do I need to accept her where she is, or do I explore this nagging feeling that she has more to show?
Parents getting their children ready to go back to school this fall may be dismayed at the long and pricey school supply lists they’re getting from their local schools. They can rest assured their children’s teachers feel the pain, too.
Nancy MacLean’s Democracy in Chains: the Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America, is one of the most buzzed-about books of the summer. But her book is also about public education, and the right’s long crusade to privatize what they call “government schools.” In the latest episode of the Have You Heard Podcast, AlterNet education editor Jennifer Berkshire talks to MacLean about why public education is in the crosshairs of the radical right, and how the history of private school vouchers, a passion of Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, is inextricably linked to efforts by Southern white elites to resist desegregation.