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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

Fixing Education With Voucher Gimmicks Is A Fool's Errand

Category: Education
Posted: 04/03/17 21:19

by Dave Mindeman

Republicans never seem to get it about vouchers. They cannot understand why progressives aren't on board to give poor kids an opportunity to go to a good private school...a better school which would give them a chance to succeed.

But here are the things they ignore or don't think about.

Those vouchers take money directly away from public schools. Schools that are already strained under a heavy load to educate every child that comes their way.

And when you take that money away, you are going to hurt children with a difficult path to navigate. Children that need a lot of support services. Children that have no place else to go.

Now, there are specialty schools that can help special needs kids. And if our Republican friends would annex them under the public education umbrella, then we really could have improvement in how we educate everybody.

But giving that money selectively to private or religious schools hurts the vulnerable kids in the public sector.

Republicans will say that private schools can give poor kids an opportunity to make up for their obstacles. They can provide a more stable environment. Yes, maybe they can...for some...for a few. But are private school institutions willing to take any child with any obstacle? Won't they pick and choose what they believe they can handle? Won't they avoid the special needs children that require 5 and 6 times the support of others?

And when they make their selections, they are taking away budgeted public money from public school systems. Money that cannot be replaced and forces cutbacks for improvements, for buildings, for services, and the kids who cannot afford to get the kind of support they need anywhere else.

Vouchers is one of those pie in the sky ideas that some GOP think tank cooks up to make everyone think they are thinking about the best needs of the poor. When what they are really doing is forcing a two tier education system - one for those that have the resources to support quality education and one where we don't have enough and we try to absolve ourselves of the real responsibility of educating every single child.

We had an education system that was named "No Child Left Behind". Remember that one? It had some noble ideas, but like everything else in education that gets underfunded and over complicated, it ended up leaving many children behind.

Education doesn't need gimmicks or monetary sleight of hand. It needs full and complete funding. It needs to take in a child and educate him or her with full and complete support - whatever it takes.

When it comes to education issues, we talk on the margins. We make excuses. We pretend that we can find ways to educate everyone without expending the monetary investment that is really needed.

Our kids deserve to get whatever they need. It is their right according to our basic Constitutional doctrines.

Vouchers is not an answer - it is another gimmick doomed to failure.
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Mission Creepy

Category: Donald Trump
Posted: 04/03/17 08:59

by Dave Mindeman

I have heard a lot of Republicans talk about how much better Donald Trump will do with the mess in Syria and Iraq. He will clarify what we want to do. He will be more decisive.

Well, I realize it has only been a little over 70 days, but here is what I see so far....

1) 700 additional troops in Syria/Iraq during March. No public annoucnements about it (which Obama always did)...and no sign as to how far this will go.

2) His stance on Assad being deposed is now essentially neutral. He says that Assad is no longer a priority. Which, coincidentally, is very close to matching the policy of Putin.

3) Civilian casualties are no longer a strategic concern. If the Pentagon wants to bomb a target and civilians are at risk, Trump has given the decision makers carte blanche authority to take action.

Those three items are disturbing. They are a big change...a dangerous change. The last bombing attack had a large amount of civilian casualties. The Pentagon is "assessing" the situation, but it doesn't look like apologies are coming or any changes to what they are doing.

Trump who famously said, "I know more than the generals", is now just letting the generals get free reign. Trump will treat the war as he treats his business....

Delegate the authority and judge by the results.

That is mission creep of the worst kind.
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