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Education for All

support schoolsThis page includes articles on progressive solutions for insuring a quality education for all. Public schools are essential to democracy. Yet too often schools are under-funded and there is increasing pressure to privatize. Whether you have children, grand children or no kids at all, investments in public education build better communities and foster opportunities for an improved economy that benefits the vast majority of our citizens.

10. An educated population is the cornerstone of democracy. This nation's well-being depends on the decisions of its educated, informed citizens.

9. Education reduces costs to taxpayers. For every dollar spent to keep a child in school, the future costs of welfare, prison, and intervention services are reduced. It can cost less to educate a child now than to support a teenage parent or a repeat offender in the future. Education monies help to secure the future of all citizens.

8. Public schools are the only schools that must meet the needs of all students. They do not turn children or families away. Public schools serve children with physical, emotional, and mental disabilities, those who are extremely gifted and those who are learning challenged, right along with children without special needs.

7. Public schools foster interactions and understanding among people of different ethnic, religious, and socioeconomic backgrounds.

6. "Education is the best provision for old age"-- Aristotle. The future support of our aging population depends on strong public schools. In 1954, there were 17 workers to pay the Social Security cost for each retiree. By 1995, there will be only three for each retiree. It is likely that the productivity of these three workers per retiree will depend on the strength of our public school systems.

5. More than 95 percent of our future jobs will require at least a high school education. There is no question about the need for an educated work force.

4. The nation pays a high price for poorly educated workers. When retraining and remediation are needed to prepare a worker to do even simple tasks, the cost is paid by both employers and consumers. This process raises the price of American products and makes it more difficult for this nation to compete in the world marketplace.

3. The cost of dropouts affects us all. This nation loses more than $240 billion per year in earnings and taxes that dropouts would have generated over their lifetimes. Well-supported public schools can engage all students in learning and graduate productive and competent citizens.

2. Children are our nation's future. Their development affects all of us. Good education is not cheap, but ignorance costs far more.

And the Number One reason to support public education. . .
1. Public education is a worthy investment for public funds. We can invest now, or we can pay later.

By Laura Clawson - via Daily Kos

Advocates of education privatization—whether through voucher programs that send tax dollars to private schools or through charter schools—like to market their ideas as "choice" or even as a civil rights struggle. But as soon as you start to follow the money, you see the reality. When you have a new system of education that's being funded by billionaires at the expense of a truly public education system that serves all kids, it's not about choice or civil rights. rwaltonAnd when the Walton family, the Walmart heirs who make up four of the 10 richest Americans, is one of the biggest voucher and charter funders out there, it tells you a lot. The Waltons have been pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into remaking American education for decades now, and a new report from In the Public Interest and the American Federation of Teachers connects the dots. On more than one occasion, the staff of Walton-funded advocacy organizations have made the agenda clear: weakening public schools to the point of collapse. That's the project the Walton Family Foundation is pushing with hundreds of millions of dollars, putting its stamp on charter schools and corporate education reform as much as Walmart has put its stamp on big box retail:

The foundation is the largest private funder of charter school start-ups, having spent more than $355 million since 1997 on charter launches. In a news release dated Feb. 5, 2014, Mark Sternberg, the foundation’s director of Systemic K-12 Education Reform reported that the foundation has kick-started more than 1,500 schools, approximately one out of four charters in the country. Over the last five years, the foundation has spent between $63 million and $73 million annually to fuel new charter openings.

Over the last six years, the Walton Family Foundation has also put $280 million into advocacy groups to lobby against oversight and regulation of charter schools and to promote unlimited charter growth. For instance:

New York State taxpayers have been witness to a seven-year tug of war over whether charter schools, like traditional public schools, are subject to audits by the state comptroller. In 2005, the State Assembly passed the School District Accountability Act, extending the power of the comptroller to audit all public schools, both traditional and charter. The New York Charter School Association, which has received $3.6 million from the Walton Family Foundation, took to the courts, arguing that the state did not have the authority to audit the schools because they were run by independent—not public—boards. In 2009, the Court of Appeals agreed with the charter lobby. Two years later, the Legislature tried again. In exchange for more than doubling the number of charter schools permitted to operate in New York, the Legislature again conferred on the state comptroller the authority to audit charters. In July 2013, after only two charter school audits had been released by the comptroller (both finding material concerns), Eva Moskowitz, the director of Success Academy Charter Schools in New York City, which has received $4 million from the Walton Family Foundation, filed suit again in the state Supreme Court. In March 2014, a Manhattan Supreme Court justice ruled in her favor, but the following month, the General Assembly—in exchange for allowing New York City charter schools increased access to public school buildings—gave both the state comptroller and the city comptroller the authority to audit charters. The debate continues.

It's a heavily funded campaign of constant growth at the expense of existing institutions and against regulation and oversight. It is literally the Walmartization of American education.