“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me…”
The New Colossus
“Americans have choices, and they’ve got to make a choice. And so maybe rather than getting that new iPhone that they just love and want to go spend hundreds of dollars on that, maybe they should invest in their own healthcare.”
Sen Jason Chaffetz (R)Utah
Lately I’m having a difficult time simply keep my outrages properly cataloged. So for today I’ll focus on just a couple- and we’ll come back to the others later…
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A recent report from the U.S. Department of Education states that-
1. The quality of teachers working in low-income schools is about the same as the quality of teachers working in high-income schools.
2. Schools in low-income neighborhoods serving children from low-income families perform at a level below schools in high-income neighborhoods serving children from high-income families.
3. The performance of the students in high-income districts on the ‘PISA’ exam is on par with cohorts worldwide and has been for at least the last five years.
4. Many (most?) charter and private schools nationwide are waived from meeting basic educational quality assurances, and in the case of religious schools are free to offer alternate science and history educations.
5. Students from poor families who move to private schools lose significant ground on overall educational achievement and at best suffer no loss in reading comprehension and fluency.
(then) Poverty negatively affects the educational experience
(and) Private schools do not inherently improve the educational experience of low-income students
1. Are we going to use the power of the US Department of Education to purposely siphon tax dollars away from the area of greatest need and transfer it predominately to schools that show unequivocally that they do a worse job at serving at-risk, low-income students than local public schools?
2. Do we continue to subject or children to onerous and inappropriate tests in an effort to legitimize a hypothetical educational crisis of “bad teaching”?
3. Would we choose to diminish the value of public educators by eliminating basic job securities and benefits and lowering salaries through Right to Work legislation, and significantly shrink the pool of qualified teaching candidates for the foreseeable future.
4. Would we empower HUD to purposely not focus more attention on eliminating the root causes of poor student performance such as chronic food and shelter insecurities, familial stability issues, and basic health issues?
5. Are we going to make basic health care more expensive to buy while allowing it to cover fewer needs?
6. Would we allow the EPA to roll back or eliminate conerstone environmental regulations which protect our fresh water and land from contaminants and our air from pollutants?
7. Would we choose to down-regulate business and up-regulate women?
I first asked myself, “To what end?” and then understood that there is no end- in politics, the “thing” is the goal, an end in and of itself and connected to no other "thing".
And so I will continue to focus on those things that carry the heaviest personal weight, the things I am prepared to and capable of fighting.
And my appeal to my beloved sisters and brothers – continue to make your calls and write your letters, and continue to show up when showing up is all we have.
One bee can change the hive…