Education Left Squeezes White Suburbia

Eighty percent of fourth and eighth grade black inner city students are unable to read or add at grade level.Who’s to blame? According to the education left, white suburbia.

When responsible, taxpaying mothers dared to criticize Common Core State Standards, Education Secretary Arne Duncan derisively commented that “white suburban moms” were upset because they would soon find out their children were not “brilliant.” The ludicrous interjection of race by the top education official turned out to be not so ludicrous after all. 

This meme of white privileged students versus black disadvantaged students has become the talking point. 

The Obama administration wants to level the playing field between hard-working middle-class parents who nurture their children, pay taxes and ride around with “my child is an honor roll student” bumper sticker, and low or no-income caretakers in the inner city whose children, according to Harvard experts, are too troubled to learn.

So how do the policymakers suggest we make everyone equal?

In a February 2013 report to Arne Duncan, the Equity and Excellence Commission, which includes far-left progressives like Cynthia G. Brown and Linda-Darling Hammond (Bill Ayers’ pick for Education Secretary), makes it clear: local, state and federal resources should be distributed based on student need, “not zip code.” 

In the opening of “For Each and Every Child: Strategy for Education Equity and Excellence” the authors aim directly at their target.

While some young Americans -- most of them white and affluent -- are getting a truly world-class education, those who attend schools in high poverty neighborhoods are getting an education that more closely approximates school in developing nations

Redistribution is in the air. Inner city schools are not getting their fair share.

Title I, under the 1965 Elementary and Secondary Education Act, promised to close the achievement gap between urban black students and suburban white students. But according to longtime activist Marian Wright Edelman of the Children’s Defense Fund, funding levels “may simply not be sufficient to meet the substantial needs of schools serving disadvantaged students, and compensate for inadequate and inequitable local education funding.”

Cynthia Brown wants to close the loopholes in Title I and consolidate the four different types of grants into one. In 2008 Brown, director of Education Policy at the Center for American Progress, laid out the current strategy to centralize education in the United States. 

Brown elucidates exactly what the Obama administration is after in John Podesta’s Change for America: A Progressive Blueprint for the 44th President.

The United States has the most decentralized education system in the industrialized world. Over 90% of the decisions are made and paid for at the local level…. unlike other industrialized nations, U.S. policymakers at the local and state levels -- as well as the federal level -- have done little to ensure that tax revenues for education are directed according to student needs.”

Over five years later, Brown asserts “the time has come to strongly consider the need for larger systematic reform of funding systems.”

As one Title I administrator put it “We can’t continue to let districts do what they’ve always done.”

If that is not ominous enough, the Equity and Excellence Commission analysts recommend that the federal government needs to step in and “redesign” the funding of our nations’ public schools. They insist the powers that be are ready to move forward.

There is no constitutional barrier to a greater federal role in financing K-12 education… the modest federal contribution that today amounts to 10% of national K-12 spending is a matter of custom, not a mandate. The federal government must take bold actions in specific areas.

According to Brown and the Commission, fundamental fairness dictates the equitable allocation of resources according to need and race -- not merit, hard work, responsible parenting, or individual achievement.  

Underlying this call for the redistribution of local school district funds is an intractable anger toward the “haves” in white suburbia. From the Commission report:

Our educational system, legally desegregated more than a half century ago, is ever more segregated by wealth and income, and often again by race.”

Michelle Obama echoed these words in her May 16, 2014 speech to graduating high school seniors in Topeka Kansas.

You see, many districts in this country have actually pulled back on efforts to integrate their schools and many communities have become less diverse as folks have moved from cities to suburbs.

So today, by some measures, our schools are as segregated as they were back when Dr. King gave his final speech.

And too often, those schools aren’t equal, especially ones attended by students of color which too often lag behind, with crumbling classrooms and less experienced teachers.

Mrs. Obama fails to mention that the waste, gross inefficiency and misuse of school funds in city schools is one of the reasons for the run-down facilities. 

In Richmond, Virginia, for example, the city’s 2012 Standards of Learning scores show the pass rate in reading as last out of the state’s school divisions and fourth from the bottom in math. This despite the fact that Richmond Public Schools received more than a quarter of  a billion dollars for the same year, with the per-pupil expenditure coming in at $15,090, well above the national average. 

Audits for a previous year found a $6.7 million of waste in the school system's purchasing and accounts payable operation as an indication of serious mismanagement.

Politicians and education advocates on both sides continue to be delusional when seeking more equitable spending as the way to fix failing inner city schools.

Even Dr. Ben Carson, who looks like he may be running for president, when asked about school funding, suggested redistributing education dollars.

If you happen to be in an affluent community, there’s a lot more money for the schools, better facilities, everything. All that does is perpetuate the situation

Wouldn’t it make more sense to put the money in a pot and redistribute it throughout the country so that public schools are equal, whether you’re in a poor area or a wealthy area?”

Might a wealthy person object to funding a school system in a poor community on the other side of the country?

Carson’s vision of “equal public schools” based on very wealthy people forking over their hard-earned money to schools already receiving the average of $10,560 per child sounds utopian. So does his use of “redistribute” and “equal” in the same sentence. 

Whether the very rich would have no problem with a central education fund disbursed by a central authority is not the issue. Carson doesn’t address the fact that it is not the millionaires like him who will suffer from this redistribution, but the middle class.

So how does reallocating funds from a suburban district with higher test scores to inner city schools lagging behind fix the problem?

How does “let’s spread the suburbs’ wealth around” save our schools and put students first? 

How does further federal aid and redistribution change the thug culture in the inner city?

How does more money attract experienced teachers who will be willing to sit in classrooms with violent, psychologically damaged children?

The Centers for Disease Control estimate that nearly 30 percent of U.S. inner-city youths are affected by Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) which makes it difficult for them to learn.

According to an Associate Professor at San Francisco State University:

You could take anyone who is experiencing the symptoms of PTSD, and the things that we are currently emphasizing in school will fall off their radar… It’s kids who're unsafe, they’re not well fed… And when you start stacking those kinds of stressors on top of each other, that’s when you get these kinds of negative health outcomes that seriously disrupt school performance.

Will traumatized and stressed black children be helped academically by those using class and race to break the hold of 15,000  local school boards, 50 state legislatures and state education agencies in order to centralize our school system?

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