What started as an awareness raising and ethnographic styled walk through Sierra Leone, this site now details the encounters of a not so academic academic who spends more time occupying Wall Street and squats than a university...

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Learning to Pay

So I'm spending a decent amount of time on kids issues these days obviously, and am struggling with the idea that people have to move because of school districts.  Why should people have to move to suburbia to get good schooling?  Or enter some lottery and hope to get in to local schools?  Or pay some exorbitant amount to go to private school from nursery school through high school? And by exorbitant I mean, 20, 30, even 45,000 dollars a year - for preschool!!

Our education system is failing our kids and in turn failing us. So many children don't have enough food, they don't have stable parenting, and then they get to a school where they don't have enough materials, are packed into classrooms, and now are forced into programs styled simply on reaching quantified outcomes that force an emphasis of accountability that has nothing to do with true education.  In stead it is a way for the state to feel like it can measure accountability for "failing schools" through nothing but numbers.

It is not about failing schools, but a failing system.  And we are of course right now moving away from funding public schools.  Moving towards charter schools, with another private option seemingly popping up everyday.

I don't purport to have the answer right here today, but I do know that if we started by funding our schools it would alleviate a lot!  One of my colleagues at Occupy has a son who's school after going from 22 to 30 kids per class last year (among other cuts) is going to see another classroom size change this year and will also lose their library.  Yes, teaching kids with no books...?!?  We have to find a way to provide attention to kids education, not penny pinching quantified accountability focused programs that take the emphasis off educating kids, and put it on bureaucratic accountability, money, and privatization.  Too many people get left behind; like an entire city of kids that either can't afford private school, or can't win the lotteries it takes to get into special schools.  But hey, with suburban flight all those big retail big box chains get more business, and housing starts can go up, and those poor kids - mostly minorities - that can't move out to find better schools, what do they "matter" anyway, right?  WRONG.  Fund education so these kids can go to good schools in their own communities, and then stay in these communities and help develop them in ways that don't require gentrification that then force them out into worse neighborhoods with worse schools when the rents go up.  And we wonder why we are becoming more economically segregated?  It's not be choice, its by systemic decree and economic necessity - which unfortunately usually falls (or is meant to fall) along racial lines.

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