President Trump and Betsy Devos have acknowledged that we have a huge issue with our American Education System. Their solution is to give $250 million to private school voucher programs which to some certainly deserves a standing ovation! A standing ovation in their eyes because we are on the road to making America great again right? Or… is the plan to make it great again through furthering the economic divide between Americans; uplifting the haves by sacrificing the have-nots. Yes, sacrificing the have-nots by taking more educational dollars from already struggling public school Districts and sending them to upper class/upper middle class families who want to send their children to private schools. Then empowering voucher systems that under the wrong leadership further perpetuate economic and racial prejudices. I have no doubt that under President Trump, there will be benefits for some Black, Brown and mixed raced families that have the education and economical means to maintain, but what about the hundreds of thousands who don’t and always fall victim to policies implemented to uplift the dollar over children.
Don’t we all want our children to go to school with high ceilings, comfortable chairs, state of the art tetechnology labs, science centers, fruit juice water foundations, weekly field trips and animal farms on the playground? Isn’t that the American dream, being able to reach success under the pursuit of happiness. Yet, our leadership wants to implement big cuts to after school funding and teacher quality. It’s almost like we didn’t learn anything from the Reagan era. The detrimental consequences of not paying attention to and accurately supporting education caused social issues to gravely plummet causing years of damage to communities and families. Although the 80’s was a great decade, it also sparked a larger generation of parents in the 90’s who became disconnected from our values; families, business, community. I refer to this as the start of the era that began the disengagement of families and communities in the successful development of our children. More jails and prisons were built and strategically aligned to children’s performance that suffered from parents who were divorcing, losing jobs, being disenfranchised, fighting drug wars, suffering from mental health challenges, affordable housing and transportation. Sounds familiar huh? The issues that we’re seeing right now are systematic.
Systematic oppression is driven through education. If we don’t continue to have real conversations about the state of education, we’ll see more public schools closed and utilized for detention centers and jails. The school to prison pipeline began it’s momentum during the 80’s as we were making America great again. Let’s not close schools to build more prisons to attempts to repeat this.
Jason has worked in education for over 15 years as a teacher, blogger and community advocate. He speaks and writes primarily about the need to improve education for Black boys, particularly increasing the number of Black male educators in schools. In addition to blogging here at EdLanta, Jason is also a featured writer at Education Post.