Friday, October 21, 2016

Keeping Blacks from learning to read

GUEST: Paul Donnelly, political activist and teacher at Poughkeepsie High School, talks about charter schools, public school funding and the underlying racism of our educational system.

We had a wide ranging discussion about the funding of public education, and the role of districts in the school to prison pipeline. Paul has taught in Poughkeepsie for 12 years.

Some of his information was hopeful. He didn't think the Poughkeepsie HS could be blamed for Black students going into the prison industrial complex. According to Paul, the high school tries very hard to keep the police from disciplinary decisions. He wasn't so positive about the new 200 million dollar jail in the county. Why would anyone spend that much money when the schools are crying for more funds? Perhaps its indicative of the general racism that sends blacks to jail while funding white schools. 

We talked about the vast differences in stop and frisk between Blacks and whites. All the towns and small cities in the area stop Blacks from 3 to 4 times more often. And although drug addiction is about the same for both races, arrests and convictions are much more prevalent for people of color.

One of the links I put on for the interview compares spending on schools in Poughkeepsie and the surrounding almost all white, suburban schools. There is a difference, but not the dramatic one I had expected. 

We had just gotten into the damage 9 billionaires are doing to public education in this country: 9 Billionaires Are About to Remake New York’s Public Schools. Philosophically, these billionaires want to send their kids to $50,000 boarding schools while they dismantle poor people's right to a free education. They don't believe in learning, but in rote memory for the poor. High stakes testing is, according to Noam Chomsky, the way "to destroy any meaningful education process." The very rich want to limit thinking to their privileged class, much like the slaveholders in the south wanted to keep Blacks from learning to read. 

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