Tuesday, January 11, 2005
( 3:00 PM )
Some Thoughts on Disgrace
As a new teacher and someone who keeps a very close eye on children's education opportunities and advocates public education, I have a significant amount of disgust at the Bush Administration's newest dirty game: paying Armstrong Williams to promote No Child Left Behind. Not only did they pay him a quarter of a million dollars out of a budget that was already underfunded, but they targeted African American families by purposely choosing an African American conservative commentator. Why is this significant? Because African American children make up an enormous percentage of the poor, working class people who are hurt most by NCLB. The ridiculous standardizations and requirements are set up to cause the failure of Title I schools (schools that need federal aid because they have over 50% of their students on free or reduced lunch and/or breakfast). Teachers are being called "unqualified" for subjects they've taught well for decades simply because they haven't taken a certain standardized test themselves. Parents are being encouraged to switch their children to other schools at the expense of the very school that needs that money to improve itself.
So the Bush administration deliberately set out to screw African American children and then spent taxpayer money to use a conseravtive mouthpiece to try and sell that screwing to their parents. It's disgusting to me that people are willing to let this kind of thing go on. Not only the bribery, graft and corruption, but just the policy itself shows how much this administration holds children and educators in contempt. It is so incredible to think that people aren't willing to fight against the dismantling of the public education system, aren't interested in guaranteeing a right to education for every child in the U.S., aren't concerned that their tax dollars are being spent by the billions to kill children in Iraq, while their own children have to try and learn in overcrowed classrooms from overworked and pressured teachers -- some of those children doing all this while hungry.
The scandal isn't just that Williams accepted the bribe money and did this for the administration. The scandal isn't even that there are more of his kind out there. The scandal is that this administration was re-elected and that its true believers are willing to accept the corruption that is thriving on their willful ignorance and tax dollars. What happened to the public good? Do we even care anymore?
Where are we, America?