The GOP Cares About Children, So Long As They Are Christians or Have Money – Inside Education with Shane Phipps
The sinister nature of the GOP’s education reform plan was to set up a public school accountability system that is so slanted against school systems with high percentages of clientele who come from poverty, high crime, and high trauma areas that they can’t possibly be equitably compared to school systems with much lower percentages of those students. Make no mistake, this was done intentionally, meticulously planned for the long game. We are now well into the second half of that long game and it is looking more and more like the GOP is winning and that spells doom for our public school system as we know it.
The effectiveness of this sinister education reform process is coming to light now. Because of the inequitable ways in which public schools are ranked and funded, we now have many school districts drowning in the stigma of perceived failure. The overwhelming majority of these “failing” schools are in poverty-stricken and troubled urban or rural districts that have high numbers of students who’ve had far more stumbling blocks to overcome than students in more affluent areas. Those stumbling blocks, mostly no fault of the students, have left scars of trauma on millions of students and our inequitable school accountability system has further stigmatized these kids and their schools. Add to that the reduced funding that accompanies that stigma–the fact that many teachers never advance much past their paltry starting salaries–the increased stress and responsibility placed upon school staff–the extra time demands–and all the other negative factors that swirl around schools labeled as “failing” and you have a complete mess. This has led to a teacher shortage that is beyond critical.
It is the second phase of the GOP’s sinister ed reform plan that we are seeing now–and this is where it gets really scary. Once the GOP set up the first part of the plan and began to marginalize the public education community by pitting affluent schools against those in high poverty, crime, and trauma areas, the plan shifted into high gear and, in doing so, revealed the most sickening aspect of the ultimate goal of the GOP. Once they were successful in marginalizing the “haves from the have nots”–the “good schools from the bad schools”–it was time to use the ace up their sleeves. Enter the voucher programs. Here is the thinly-veiled message that is sent to the more affluent families in those “failing” schools: “Hey there, we see you have a good student who is being held back by that failing school she attends, why don’t you take some of this tax money and pull her out of there–get her away from ‘those’ kids (wink, wink) and put her in this nice Christian private school where she can thrive and not be indoctrinated with all that anti-American stuff about the Constitution, evolution, climate change, etc.”