"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

Friday, June 29, 2012

Maintained at the Public Expense -- For All of Us

There's a fundamental philosophical difference between those who favor a well supported public education system and those who have been pushing and legislating for privatization of public schools through vouchers and corporate charters (Obama, Duncan, Gates, Bennett, Bloomberg, et al).

We need a strong public school system. John Adams said,
The whole people must take upon themselves the education for 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, US President, Letter to John Jebb, 1785 (emphasis added)
Peggy Zugibe, a member of the Haverstraw-Stony Point (N.Y.) Board of Education, wrote,
...the Center on Educational Policy has a great publication called Why We Still Need Public Schools that covers the history of public education and explains how public schools are linked to the common good. It cites six missions that our country has expected public education to fulfill. Our schools:
  • Provide universal access to free education.
  • Guarantee equal opportunities for all children.
  • Unify a diverse population.
  • Prepare people for citizenship in a democratic society.
  • Prepare people to become economically self-sufficient.
  • Improve social conditions.
Do privatizers care about "universal access" to education, guaranteed opportunities or unifying a diverse population, or are they content to see our country provide good schools only for those with money? Do they want to unify the diverse population or keep us separated by enclaves of money and gated communities?

You don't need to prepare people to be good citizens in a plutocracy. It doesn't matter what the people think...the wealthy buy and run the government (a la Citizens United).

Presidential candidate Mitt Romney has verbalized his position on public schools...and who should benefit from them...in no uncertain terms. In a campaign visit to Virginia he reminded us that those with money are the ones who are entitled to a good education.
Romney education remark favors the wealthy...yet again

During a campaign stop in Virginia June 27, Romney, the presumed Republican nominee for President, said that he wants to make sure that students get as much education “as they can afford.” (Skip to 9:20 in the video below to hear his comments for yourself.)

For wealthy folks like Romney—who’s estimated wealth is approximately a quarter billion dollars—this isn’t a problem.

But if you’re a middle class family struggling to make ends meet, Romney’s statement carries some very grim implications…especially when you consider that a quality public education is key to the economic outlook of working Americans and the country at large.
The unspoken corollary to Romney's statement that students should get as much education "as they can afford" is that those who can't afford it don't get the same education. Those who can afford it deserve a better education. Those who can't...don't. Americans need to decide which direction we want to go. Neither presidential candidate is offering the children of the United States a strong, equitable public education system. Neither has a plan to strengthen the public schools of the United States. Both appear to believe that "improving public education" means following the five steps to destroy public education...
  • Under-fund/STARVE the schools financially
  • Overcrowd the classrooms, reduce programs, supplies
  • Fail the public school using NCLB and/or Race to the Top laws leaving the public school in death-throws
  • Sell the school to private charters
  • Public school, Dead On Arrival
Those of us who believe in a strong, free, universal public education system need to step up -- soon!
Stop the Testing Insanity!

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