"The whole people must take upon themselves the education of the whole people and be willing to bear the expenses of it. There should not be a district of one mile square, without a school in it, not founded by a charitable individual, but maintained at the public expense of the people themselves." -- John Adams

"No money shall be drawn from the treasury, for the benefit of any religious or theological institution." -- Indiana Constitution Article 1, Section 6.

"...no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinion in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish enlarge, or affect their civil capacities." – Thomas Jefferson

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Inside Job

Waiting for Superman has gotten a lot of publicity from millionaires and billionaires who stand to gain (for their investments in charter schools). Inside Job, however, a documentary about the current economic crisis, is one I hadn't heard of yet.

Kevin Welner wrote about it at the Huffington Post.
It offers an explanation of how the current economic crisis came about, describing the securitization of mortgages; the extraordinary leveraging of assets; the regulatory capture by Wall Street leading to minimal enforcement of federal regulations -- a deregulation intended to spur innovation; and the fraud, greed, hubris and general belief among hedge fund titans and others in the financial services world that they are infallible. The film also points out the growing and now extreme inequality of wealth distribution in the United States.
I knew that the "rich were getting richer" but I didn't realize the extent of it until I followed the link to this one statistic...
The top 1 percent of American earners took in 23.5 percent of the nation's pretax income in 2007 -- up from less than 9 percent in 1976
Welner looks at Inside Job, compares it to Waiting for Superman, and comes to the conclusion that the former does a better job of explaining the "school crisis." Again, from his article at Huffington...
Rather than addressing these poverty issues, Superman serves up innovation through privatization and deregulation. We're shown charter schools that give hope to these families. But what we're not told is that the extra resources and opportunities found in these charters are funded in large part with donations from Wall Street hedge fund millionaires and billionaires. Problems of structural inequality and intergenerational poverty are pushed aside in favor of a 'solution' grounded in the belief that deregulation will prompt innovation, all the while guided by the infallible judgment of Wall Street tycoons.
The money to be made from charter schools is a lure that the rich can't ignore. America's public schools are paying the price.


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