And now the same capitalist charlatans who ran the national and world economies into the ditch want control over public schools and universities. Not only do these public institutions offer new corporate revenue streams, but the control and brainwashing of the next generation becomes more critical for insuring another few years of governance by multinational corporations. Having already redirected the purpose of schooling to the needs of the global economy, and having taken over the federal role in K12 education, the corporate reformers now seek to achieve corporate control of school operations, themselves. And eliminating publicly-elected school boards and teacher unions constitute Priority One in this phase.
Schools throughout the Washington area are feeding an unprecedented number of poor students as unemployment continues to rise.
One in four students in Fairfax County qualifies for free or reduced-price meals this fall, up from one in five three years ago. In Montgomery County, 29 percent of students were deemed eligible for meal subsidies in October, up from 26 percent in October 2007. In Prince William County, the eligibility rate increased from 29 to 33 percent, and in Prince George's County, from 46 to 52 percent.
As the lunchroom poverty barometer rises, schools are solidifying their role as centers for social services.
"If basic needs are not met, children cannot learn," said Karen Thompson, a guidance counselor at Guilford Elementary School in Sterling. "If we have children coming to school hungry, that is our first concern. We also have to make sure they have shoes, warm clothing. Have they slept? Do they have a place to live?"
Although poverty rates increased only slightly in Loudoun County in the past year, the rate at Guilford Elementary, in a working-class neighborhood near the Fairfax border, rose sharply, to about 68 percent, Principal David Stewart said.
Many parents who work as housecleaners, construction workers or landscapers have lost their jobs, or their hours have been cut. The school and the community have responded.
Guilford officials always keep a supply of winter coats to give to children in need. But this year, they also have dozens of pairs of shoes donated by a shoe store.
At Guilford and scores of other schools in the region, churches and charities are donating backpacks or providing boxes of food for children to take home on Fridays so that they will have something to eat over the weekend.. . .
That is why we see sleazy equity managers like Tom Van der Ark spend their time blaming school boards and teachers for the system of privilege that has produced income gaps unknown in this country since the Gilded Age. If there could be a more disingenuous and transparent attempt at manipulating public opinion, I have not seen it. From HuffPo:
Priceless. So now the Oligarchs led by Gates and Broad and the Waltons want the American people to believe this bullshit, and to turn over their public schools to be run by the same corporate crooks who have destroyed the economy and the middle class. Don't count on it, Bill and Eli.
. . . .The primary reason we have a federal law like NCLB is that school boards (and state boards) allowed generations of chronic failure. They cut bad employment deals and asked for more money when things didn't go well. Teachers that could went to the suburbs. Most low income and minority kids were getting left behind. Anyone committed to equity could see things had to change.
NCLB reflected a consensus that 1) measurement and transparency would help us understand the problem, 2) that a basic template for school accountability would ensure that things would get better for underserved students, and 3) the federal government should play a bigger role in ensuring equity and excellence.There were a bunch of technical problems with the bill in 2001 and they never got fixed. But the biggest problem is that 8 years later states and school boards have continued to allow chronic failure--they basically ignored the federal demands to intervene. . . .
The closing paragraph from the WaPo piece:
As poverty rates escalate, many school systems are also dealing with the most severe revenue shortfalls in more than a generation. School boards are likely to face proposals to cut teachers, social workers or counselors to balance their budgets.
Dianna Sosa, a social worker at Hutchinson Elementary in Herndon, said the effects of increased unemployment are clear there. More students at the Fairfax school are being referred to her office because of non-academic concerns, and she is meeting with more families to connect them with emergency housing or other services. "It's a really stressful time," she said.