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Tue Jun 11, 2019, 10:18 AM

Better Schools Won't Fix America

Abigail Disney's discussion this morning on Stephanie Ruhle's Show made me think of this article I read yesterday.

Better Schools Won’t Fix America
Like many rich Americans, I used to think educational investment could heal the country’s ills—but I was wrong. Fighting inequality must come first.

[link:https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2019/07/education-isnt-enough/590611/|



Long ago, i was captivated by a seductively intuitive idea, one many of my wealthy friends still subscribe to: that both poverty and rising inequality are largely consequences of America’s failing education system. Fix that, I believed, and we could cure much of what ails America.

This belief system, which I have come to think of as “educationism,” is grounded in a familiar story about cause and effect: Once upon a time, America created a public-education system that was the envy of the modern world. No nation produced more or better-educated high-school and college graduates, and thus the great American middle class was built. But then, sometime around the 1970s, America lost its way. We allowed our schools to crumble, and our test scores and graduation rates to fall. School systems that once churned out well-paid factory workers failed to keep pace with the rising educational demands of the new knowledge economy. As America’s public-school systems foundered, so did the earning power of the American middle class. And as inequality increased, so did political polarization, cynicism, and anger, threatening to undermine American democracy itself.


Taken with this story line, I embraced education as both a philanthropic cause and a civic mission. I co-founded the League of Education Voters, a nonprofit dedicated to improving public education. I joined Bill Gates, Alice Walton, and Paul Allen in giving more than $1 million each to an effort to pass a ballot measure that established Washington State’s first charter schools. All told, I have devoted countless hours and millions of dollars to the simple idea that if we improved our schools—if we modernized our curricula and our teaching methods, substantially increased school funding, rooted out bad teachers, and opened enough charter schools—American children, especially those in low-income and working-class communities, would start learning again. Graduation rates and wages would increase, poverty and inequality would decrease, and public commitment to democracy would be restored.
But after decades of organizing and giving, I have come to the uncomfortable conclusion that I was wrong. And I hate being wrong.

What I’ve realized, decades late, is that educationism is tragically misguided. American workers are struggling in large part because they are underpaid—and they are underpaid because 40 years of trickle-down policies have rigged the economy in favor of wealthy people like me. Americans are more highly educated than ever before, but despite that, and despite nearly record-low unemployment, most American workers—at all levels of educational attainment—have seen little if any wage growth since 2000.

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Reply Better Schools Won't Fix America (Original post)
tulipsandroses Jun 11 OP
Wounded Bear Jun 11 #1
FakeNoose Jun 11 #2

Response to tulipsandroses (Original post)

Tue Jun 11, 2019, 10:26 AM

1. Most of the modern push for 'education' is profit based...

They are attempting to profitize our public school system, and have basically succeeded in profitizing almost all college education.

Getting a good education can be a tremendous help for people trying to climb into the upper classes, but it doesn't work very well when income inequality suppresses so many people.

One problem with 'wage growth' is that it might be too late. Conservatives have been working to destroy labor for decades, and now the push toward automation has been eliminating jobs, doing far more damage to the working class than out-sourcing. The traditional model of work for pay is being destroyed. There may be no answer other than some form of UBI.

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Response to tulipsandroses (Original post)

Tue Jun 11, 2019, 10:43 AM

2. Here's the best quote from the OP

- snip -

Educationism appeals to the wealthy and powerful because it tells us what we want to hear: that we can help restore shared prosperity without sharing our wealth or power. As Anand Giridharadas explains in his book Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World, narratives like this one let the wealthy feel good about ourselves. By distracting from the true causes of economic inequality, they also defend America’s grossly unequal status quo.

We have confused a symptom—educational inequality—with the underlying disease: economic inequality. Schooling may boost the prospects of individual workers, but it doesn’t change the core problem, which is that the bottom 90 percent is divvying up a shrinking share of the national wealth. Fixing that problem will require wealthy people to not merely give more, but take less.

- snip -


Note that Nick Hanauer the guy who wrote this article is a one-per-center himself.

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