"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Memphis Raising Most Regressive Taxes to Pay for $212 Million Hole Created by Charter Schools

In June we posted on the Gates-SfC plan for school consolidation in Shelby County, which the State report says will cost Shelby County $212,000,000 over the next four years to pay for the segregated charter chain gangs that are being created to contain, separate, and indoctrinate the next generation of the poor in Memphis.

The County solution: raise the sales tax another penny, which will push this most regressive tax (which includes taxing food) to over 10% (TN is #1 in the nation for highest sales tax).  Oh yes, and in the meantime, reduce property taxes so that the immeasurably unfair tax on the poor will be even more so.

Projected take?  About $54 million, which would cover the annual amount estimated by the State  to cover the loss of revenue to fund the new charters.  Meanwhile, the charters under the new State Recovery School District (RSD) (think NOLA) will get to take over the school buildings that are being closed to create charters. 

The corporations that run these charters, then, will have huge advantages over non-RSD schools, so the State, in effect will be the ultimate decider on which of these "market-based solutions" get to thrive as the 21st Century solution to the "white man's burden" in Memphis.

Memphis City politicos did not immediately sign on to the new plan to raise sales taxes.  After all, the poor of Shelby County's poor will pay dearly for the increase, and most of them live in the City. 

It took some problem solving by the Gates people to help Mayor Wharton come up with a rationale for putting the burden of payment on the poor for the new penal pedagogy schools that will behaviorally neuter the poor children of Memphis.  While everyone, including the Shelby County Sheriff, has eyes on the expected increase of revenue from the sales tax increase (someone has to pay for guards in the Memphis Schools), Mayor Wharton says that someone whispered to him that universal pre-K would be coming his way if he signed on to support the increase:
"It was the commitment to universal pre-k in Memphis and Shelby County that sold me," Wharton said. He also referred to pre-k funding from the "philanthropic world," but did not identify those sources.
Of course, there are no details for how the funding would take place for "universal pre-K," or even if it will take place.  No commitment. 

If universal pre-K does happen in Memphis, Gates plans for it be the privatized variety, the same kind that New York was using until corruption and theft caused the state to reconsider how pre-K would be run there.

1 comment:

  1. Using tax dollars to pay for charter schools is an idea that will decimate the free public school system, which is the cornerstone of the American dream. At best, it is magical thinking to believe that privatizing education will improve it. At worst, it's cynical profiteering on the backs of poor students.

    The better solution, indeed the moral solution, is to actually improve the failing schools. BTW, that improvement has to involve improving the whole gamut of socio-economic issues that created the failure to begin with. Fixing just the education part of the puzzle, while important, isn't going to produce the gains these students deserve.