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What is "Redlining", and why is Congress trying to use it on public schools?

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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-13-12 10:39 PM
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What is "Redlining", and why is Congress trying to use it on public schools?
There is an article in the upcoming issue of The Nation by Linda Darling Hammond. She was an advisor to Obama during his campaign, but she unfortunately lost out to Arne Duncan and his corporate school raiders for the position of Secretary of Education.

I never heard this term, redlining, but it surely fits what they are doing to public schools.

Why is Congress redlining our schools?


Redlining was the once-common practice in which banks would draw a red line on a mapoften along a natural barrier like a highway or riverto designate neighborhoods where they would not invest. Stigmatized and denied access to loans and other resources, redlined communities, populated by African-Americans and other people of color, often became places that lacked businesses, jobs, grocery stores and other services, and thus could not retain a thriving middle class. Redlining produced and reinforced a vicious cycle of decline for which residents themselves were typically blamed.

Today a new form of redlining is emerging. If passed, the long-awaited Senate bill to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) would build a bigger highway between low-performing schools serving high-need studentsthe so-called bottom 5 percentand all other schools. Tragically, the proposed plan would weaken schools in the most vulnerable communities and further entrench the problemsconcentrated poverty, segregation and lack of human and fiscal resourcesthat underlie their failure.


The article discusses how Educational Redlining works. Two more paragraphs do not do justice. Read the article to get the feel of what is happening.

The schools identified as low-performing not only serve a growing underclass of impoverished families; they also typically do so with fewer state and local dollars per pupil than wealthier districts around them. Unlike high-achieving nations that fund their schools centrally and equally, most American states spend three times more on their wealthiest schools than they do on their poorest.

.."Now comes the federal government to announce that such schoolswhere students score lower on tests than in more advantaged communitiesshould be labeled as failing and threatened with closure or staff firings. This makes educational redlining official. The federal share of less than 10 percent of school budgets is a tiny drop in the bucket, and far from enough to tip the scales that are so dramatically out of balance. Not only is there no plan in federal law to tackle poverty, segregation or the massive state and local underfunding of these schools; the plans embodied in Senate ESEA proposals are likely to undermine these communities even further.


Obama's policies mean that the lowest 5% will always be turning into something else. The zero tolerance policies that have taken over our country mean that there will be no excuses made. I wrote this in my journal last year. It was about my outrage over Obama's declaring that 5% of schools would always be failing. Race to the Top even more punitive than NCLB.

An even more punitive approach for our poorest schools, but with a nicer name?

Yet what the administration is really proposing is even more punitive, to expand the pro-privatization and destabilizing policies represented in its "Race to the Top" slush fund, including school closures, charter takeovers, and/or supposed turnaround models, where at least half the staff would be fired, to all of the nations lowest performing schools, or else risk having their Title one funds being withheld:

the bottom 5 percent of schools would be forced to use the departments four turnaround models that now govern the Title I School Improvement Grant program. The next-lowest 5 percent would be on a warning list and be required to take action using research-based interventions, although the department would not mandate one of the four turnaround models.

..."Now with the Oligarchs' new plan, the bottom 5 percent of schools will be targeted each year for "turnaround," and it doesn't matter what the poorest schools do, because the poverty that assures them their status at the bottom of the barrel makes them sure targets for conversions of urban schools into apartheid charter chain gangs, either that or the second-most popular option of firing all the school staff.

Because the annual testing will continue unabated under the Oligarchs' plan that Obama will present, this new system will pit the poor against the poorer and the poorer against the poorest, because the only thing that will keep your school off the shutdown, er, turnaround list is some other school in your vicinity that is doing worse still.


There is a very interesting post in the comments at the end of the story. The writer notices that Darling-Hammond is coming around to seeing the harm done by their coziness with the corporate world.

I think it is shameful that our party is so easily pushing Bush's policies for education, moving them faster than he could ever have done. It is equally shameful that only a few bloggers here and there are speaking out about it. The media is so in love with education "reform" that there will be no public questioning.

We are/were calling more attention to it online, but on the ground Arne's corporate raiders are winning.

I am learning to tweet and posting about education at as floridagal at Daily Kos. Hard to do because there is not much interest there either about the devastation happening to our schools.
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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-13-12 11:24 PM
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1. What this means is that 5% of schools each year will not exist as public schools.
And few are noticing. Both parties are stopping support of those schools. It's a tragedy.
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rpannier Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-14-12 03:45 AM
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2. K&R
I wish someone would challenge the administration on this
But Arne is Obama's Basketball Buddy and that seems to be most important to the president
I think I'll pass on voting for President and just vote the rest of the ballot
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alsame Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-14-12 10:16 AM
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3. Shameful. k&r
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