Saturday, March 20, 2010

Most Children Left Behind

As we at last seem on the point of limping through the minefield of health care reform, it is time to start looking ahead, to the next mega-tantrum the Republicans are going to throw to stop the Democrats from healing our ailing country. This one may come over the laughably named "No Child Left Behind" act, one of the more malignant remnants of the Bush administration.

As is my practice, I want to look at this act in light of my belief that everything the Republican party does has a single purpose: to benefit the rich at the expense of the rest of us. That is why, obviously, tax cuts for the rich have always been the Republicans' answer to every economic problem facing the country, despite the crucial role they payed in precipitating the 1929 stock market crash. Let me note that the alternative in this case is to assume that George W, Bush and Dick Cheney actually cared about poor children, an idea so ludicrous that I think we are safe in rejecting it out of hand.

But now to "No Child Left Behind." The essence of this bill is that funding will be taken away from more poorly performing schools and given to better performing ones.

Behind this seemingly unobjectionable notion lies an ugly reality, which no one on either side of this fight cares to admit. Richer parents are by and large better educated, and can provided their children with far more in the way of books, experiences, and extra academic aid when necessary. They are able to help their children do well in many ways that are not available to the less well off. For this reason, schools with higher income student bodies are almost inevitably going to perform better on standardized tests that schools with poorer student bodies.

Given this reality, the "No Child Left Beyond" act is absolutely nothing but a cynical, malicious excuse to take money from the poor to give to the rich.

In this it is like school vouchers. School vouchers, as proposed by Republicans, usually involve taking money away from public schools to give, typically, $4000 per student for those at private schools. With decent private schools costing from ten to twenty thousand dollars a year, does anyone think that this $4000 stolen from the public schools is really going to enable poor children to go to decent private schools? Of course not, but the $4000 per kid stolen from the poor is a nice gift to the well off.

As far as I can see, you can't go wrong assuming that anything Republicans want is a ploy to steal from the poor to give to the rich, and the "No Child Left Behind" act is no exception.

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