What is happening in our schools is a question of economics. The GOP wants to make sure that segregation is alive and well in impoverished public schools. But first they must buy them. Enter the voucher system. If you can control the money that pays for public education, then you can control the schools attended mostly by minorities. But the GOP must keep the schools segregated to apply downward pressure on the system, the same pressure that has been applied for over 300 years.
According to a Project Censored article, “Schools in the United States are more segregated today than they have been in more than four decades. Millions of non-white students are locked into ‘dropout factory’ high schools, where huge percentages do not graduate, and few are well prepared for college or a future in the US economy.”
Most affected by this desegregation process as written in a new civil rights report published by UCLA: “schools in the US are 44 percent non-white, and minorities are rapidly emerging as the majority of public school students in the US. Latinos and blacks, the two largest minority groups, attend schools more segregated today than during the civil rights movement forty years ago. Forty percent of these students attend severely segregated neighborhood schools.” The report continued, “Our nation’s segregated schools result from decades of systematic neglect of civil rights policy.“
Students coming out of these systems usually perform at lower levels than their white counterparts. They are often hindered by malnutrition, underpaid teachers, no parental help and live in crime-ridden neighborhoods. Then, if they finish school, they can’t keep up with students who have had none of these issues growing up.
Probably one of the best examples of how the GOP is moving forward toward complete re-segregation is the state of Louisiana. They are doing it with a voucher system. Nicole Flatow writes, “Louisiana school districts with a long history of racial segregation are becoming more segregated because of the state’s voucher program, according to a motion filed by the Department of Justice this week.”
Louisiana’s governor, Bobby Jindal, blames the federal government for the segregation problem. He argues: “Just yesterday, marking the March on Washington’s 50th anniversary, Jindal lamented in an op-ed in Politico that we ‘place too much emphasis on our separateness,’” and proclaimed on Meet the Press that education is the civil rights issue of our time.
On education, he said, “Too many people are standing in the way. Teachers unions have been fighting against that. Just on Friday, the Department of Justice said they were going to go to court.” He never mentions that black and white students in his school remain “separated,” claiming instead that the Justice Department is trying to deprive students of a choice.
So many Republican governors, urged by their Republican legislatures, do and say the same things all the other red states are doing. Our public schools are not working, they say. We need to privatize our schools by promotion of the voucher system.
However, Flatlow continues, saying that “Several recent studies have found that voucher programs are an ineffective way to improve student performance, draining funds and diversity from public programs, without improving the performance of even those attending the voucher schools.”
The only thing left to do is wait for someone like the Koch brothers to buy the entire Louisiana Public school system outright. Are we starting to see a pattern? Hold on to those books, there is a bonfire coming.
Richard Andrew is a guest blogger for Ring of Fire.