It’s official: the United States is becoming our own Third World country, one urban school system at a time. Children in the United States and their schools are now included in World Vision’s catalog for holiday charity, right alongside poor children from around the world.
Children in El Salvador need chicks. You can give a duck to a family in Bangladesh. Kids in Zimbabwe need kids (goats). And now U.S. students are part of the program. “Many schools in low-income neighborhoods right here in the United States lack basic supplies. Help deliver books, videos, art supplies, educational games, sports equipment and more,” urges the catalog.
Why is this happening?
My latest Huffington Post essay suggests four contributing factors:
- Public schools in low-income areas simply do not have enough money to function.
- There’s a major resource disparity even within certain districts.
- The privatization of public schools is creating an even wider resource gap.
- The federal government could do something about the first three factors, but doesn’t.
Read the rest here.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, we have Arne Duncan and Bill Gates giving near-simultaneous “buddy” speeches this week about the need to cut school budgets even more.
Not that they aren’t experts in the field of wasting education dollars. Gates has famously spent billions of his own money speed-funding one “reform” project after another, and never getting any of them right. Duncan has thrown away billions of our money via Race to the Top and other programs that have strong-armed states and districts into agreeing to national curriculum standards, more charter and turnaround schools and tying teacher evaluations to test scores, strategies that have no overall track record of success.
But these two have the unmitigated gall to propose that schools need to increase class size and stop rewarding teachers for years of experience and graduate degrees because, according to them, these costs have no connection to improved student outcomes. So, is that what happens at the schools their children attend? Sure.
It’s far more likely that they picked those two areas for recommended cutbacks because doing both would shrink the teaching force, clearly one of their main “reform” goals.