Sunday, January 31, 2016

The Sub-Prime Education Crisis
Part 3: Bubble Trouble for Marsh
By Terri Michal

This is the final series of Terri's amazing look at the sub-prime education crisis.  To read Part 1 and Part 2 click on the following links.  Thank you to Terri for all her amazing work, advocacy, and determination for children, teachers, and public education!
~Marla Kilfoyle, Executive Director BATs

It’s easy to see the role of the banks, mortgage companies, traders, and our Government in the sub-prime mortgage crisis.
Just as easily we can see the roles of the CEO’s, non-profits, corporations, and our Government in the sub-prime education crisis.
I think it’s time we look at OUR role in all of this.
We, the general public, hold some blame in the mortgage crisis. We wanted to believe we could have the American Dream of home ownership and that we could afford the homes that the mortgage companies were all too eager to sell to us, with the help of our Government of course. Because of this many of us ignored our common sense, asked few questions, and quickly signed on the dotted line.
Working class America paid a high price for this when the housing bubble popped.
So far we are playing the same role in the education crisis.
The reform efforts and messages that are being put before us are packaged so slick, often co-opting the civil rights movement and using terms that make us feel hopeful about the direction we will be headed once they are implemented. They also take much of the burden and responsibilities off of us and, instead, place all of it squarely on the shoulders of our teachers. Our hectic and fast paced lives give us the prefect reason to accept these ‘truths’ without much examination. Just like with the mortgage crisis, we want to BELIEVE it is as simple as they say and that we can have it all with little effort.
Unlike the mortgage crisis, however, the story in education is not over.
Will we continue buying into these ridiculous reforms created by people that have agendas other than educating our children? Are we going to continue to ignore the fact that they are pushing things like charters, vouchers, and VAM on us even though there is no evidence that proves any of it is effective? Will we continue to allow this artificial bubble of failure to surround our children and our public schools?
As long as the bubble exists this small fraction of our population will continue to feed off of our public education system. They have found there is much money to be made in the failures of our students and teachers.
The financial world and our government wrongfully believed that the housing bubble would never burst. They knowingly sold the American people goods under false pretenses for their own financial and political gain.
Now we have the corporations and our government believing that this education bubble will never burst. They believe they can continue to build false narratives to keep the people satisfied and silent while they reap the financial and political benefits.
I believe it’s time to take action and burst their bubble before another generation of children is lost.
We desperately need to take our public schools back from the “one size fits all” plan, which was created by the wealthy with the aid of our government, and return them to our communities.
The first thing we need in order to accomplish this is the belief that we can out vote the lobbyists and vote out the legislators that support these anti-public education policies.
To do this, communities must come together. We need a grassroots movement to educate and motivate everyone, not just teachers, not just parents, everyone, to vote smarter, speak out, and get involved in education. Just as all of us were affected by the financial collapse caused by the sub-prime mortgages, all of us will be affected by the public school collapse caused by the sub-prime education being forced upon our children.
Here is an excellent starting point: An organization of corporate heads, lobbyists, and legislators from across the country, including many from Alabama, meet secretly to write state legislation. ALEC (the American Legislative Exchange Council) helped write the Accountability Act, our charter law, and is now involved in writing Sen. Del Marsh’s RAISE Act.
Call Sen. Del Marsh and tell him we want NO part of an education bill written by these entities that see our children as profit margins, not people.
Next call your neighborhood school and volunteer to read to the kids an hour a week. You will be amazed by what you learn.

Oh yes, and please, thank a teacher!

Terri Michal advocating for Alabama children, teachers, public education, and social justice!

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