Saturday, October 08, 2005
Kindergarten philosophy
“I don’t want to go to school to sleep. I don’t want to go to school to eat. I want to go to school to learn.” John Broussard ca. 1983

That philosophy pretty much hasn’t changed. I was always irritated about nap time, especially when kids who would sleep the soundest would get the most gold stars. What kind of meritocracy is this? I would often look out the window and wish the teacher would let me outside than sleep. I slept 0 times during the whole school year in kindergarten. As a result, not as many gold stars as the lazy girl in my class.

I was never a fan of school lunches either. Ask my family about the time I turned my cafeteria chair around, arms folded, as a protest to the atrocious food found in public schools (alas private schools are about the same). I was able to score peanut butter and jelly sandwiches from home for a while, but eventually I caved when my Dad started coming to school and making me eat the gruel. I didn’t want to disappoint my folks, you know.

All this to say when I hear about school lunch cuts or school vouchers, I get excited. I have very DEEPLY ENGRAINED beliefs about the ability of the state to feed and babysit young ones (that’s you’uns for Kentucky readers) that goes far beyond what my parents taught me or what I read on right wing websites. This is downright biological.

What got me thinking about this was an interview I saw with Jonathan Kozol about his new book. He is your run-of-the-mill teacher/activist (is that redundant?). Now, sometimes liberals like him can point out problems, and in his interview he talked about white flight and the resulting “apartheid” in inner city public schools. His language is caustic, but he did have some points. Interestingly, the most “socially segregated” schools are in New York, California, Michigan, and Illinois. Now, those are some of the bluest states around, except for those with not enough blacks to warrant segregation (e.g. Vermont, Minnesota). That being said, Columbus probably wouldn’t fare much better in my estimation.

So I’m listening. This liberal activist criticizing the education system, particularly in blue states. Alas and alack, his proposals to solve this problem are nothing new: give the local governments more power/money. He didn’t mention anything about forced busing, but I’m sure if I read the book it would be mentioned. He is deathly afraid of school vouchers, and didn’t say a word about the role of the property tax in white flight/segregation. He points out the difference in dollars between white and black schools without indicating that the tax money is generated by people working hard in those school districts. Here’s a good question for liberal activist/teachers: How is one to get property tax from public housing? Better yet, how does one get blood from a couch potato?

In Japan they finally privatized the post office, which was acting as a bank and had more money than Citibank and Bank One. Tony Blair is finally charging tuition for University students. Even the Germans are making baby steps away from socialism-lite. The zeitgeist is such that trying to defray costs of expensive programs (e.g. education and health care) amongst the law-abiding, tax/insurance-paying masses is falling out of fashion and needs to be reformed.

Posted at 08:47 am by Johnny B

Posted by J f Z @ 10/12/2005 11:57 AM PDT
I’m in favor of trying any wacky idea to try to salvage public schools in urban areas. In the long run, government investing in schools is less expensive than warehousing people in prisons.

Some states have various funding streams for public schools, like state lotteries. Urban school systems might benefit from having a $1.00 surcharge on all event tickets within the city limits. NFL, NHL, NBA, AL/NL, concerts, truck pulls, whatever.

Another idea might be to simply require people who do not work and collect welfare checks spend one day each month in a teacher assistance program, or some other supportive role, even if it means they simply pick up the trash on the school property, or sweep something.

Posted by John Broussard @ 10/12/2005 01:09 PM PDT
Not a bad set of suggestions. I would like to add that now government (i.e. taxpayers) invest in both urban schools and prisons, so they have a double whammy to pay for, and those stuck in these institutions are also worse off.

Kindergarten philosophy
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