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

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Nevada Chooses Vouchers from Resegregation Toolbox

Conservatives love to embrace "choice" as long as they get to do the choosing for everyone else. This self-centering rule applies universally, whether we are talking about women's reproductive rights or educational rights for the poor.  

And that which conservatives cannot control, they would rather destroy.  This is the essence of necrophilic personality that Erich Fromm described--one driven to embrace death, rather than to allow for any lack of control.

In necrophilic Nevada, for instance, the state legislature has just passed a school voucher plan that increases opportunities for middle class parents, who, with the help of a $5,000 voucher, can choose expensive private schooling for their children.  

Since the better private schools cost over $10K per year, that leaves poor parents who cannot afford the extra 5-7 thousand dollars with no choice other than the remaining public schools, where the social capital has been drained as middle class kids depart for publicly-supported private schools. 

The result will be intensely segregated or apartheid public schools with fewer resources, less diversity, and less social capital.  Lower test scores will result, and these schools, in turn, can then be picked off a few time for corporate charter conversion.  

The charters, then, can further weed the highest performers from the remaining children, so that the few remaining public schools will become holding pens of last resort for children without choice.

Meanwhile, the thought disorder is reinforced that private schools are better than public (they are not), and resegregation becomes fully realized.

A clip from a commentary in the Times:
Private school tuition in Nevada can be as high as $12,000, and the biggest problem with the vouchers is that the poorest families will be unable to make up the difference. So, in the coming year, as middle-class families who may otherwise have used the public school system forgo it for the private, the vouchers will undermine whatever economic and racial diversity Las Vegas has achieved.

The bigger problem, though, is that vouchers won’t cure what ails our low-income families. They will only reinforce the assumption that our private schools are successful and public ones are not, that the education system is broken. But it’s not the schools alone that are broken; they are a loose wheel in a system that is malfunctioning on a much grander scale.

In Nevada, about one in four children live in poverty, not because their schools have failed them, but because their parents juggle multiple jobs on a stagnant minimum wage, have little job security and are denied paid time off.
It seems an appropriate time to pledge to boycott Las Vegas until Nevada's legislature comes to its senses.

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