Privatization of Education

5 Jul

Amanda Huber MSW, LCSWA

In North Carolina  plans on saving 50 million dollars a year by denying children the right to there has been a push to privatize the public education

The push comes from a notion that the medicaid system in North Carolina is broken to the point that it is interfering with the ability to pay teachers salaries and therefore the state of North Carolina must get “creative” so to speak and create grants and scholarships to students who qualify for free and reduced lunch, to attend private schools in the state. By creating this grant the state will be able to save that 50 million that was typically allocated to the public school system and they will be able to provide the educational support of a private system. The fight agains privatization is within the digital education and the faith based education community. Luckily the North Carolina court has placed plans for an internet based school on hold, however the group, N.C. Learns, continues to fight the ruling, Real Facts NC reports:

N.C. Learns, a group behind a proposal for a 6,000 student virtual charter school, continues to fight a judge’s order that put the school’s plans on indefinite hold. The school would have been run by K12, Inc., a Wall Street-traded educational company that generated more than $700 million in revenue, mostly from public dollars for online-only schools it runs in more than two-dozen states around the country. K12 Inc. was founded by a former Goldman Sachs banker and by William Bennett, the Republican writer and talk-show host, with an infusion of cash from the former disgraced junk-bond king Mike Milken. Its teachers generally work from their homes, communicating with their students by e-mail or phone.This notion is disturbing on several levels as the program leans to a sort of discrimination. Being from a different part of the country and being bi-cultural personally, I find this is disturbing. Images of apartieds and segrigation start to come to mind as the idea of privatization takes control. Private schools do not operate under the same guidelines as the public school system, and many in the south come from a faith based community. Faith based communities do not take into account the differences between religions and private schools do not have the same systems in place to support and nurture growth that the public school system provides.

photo credit: villy21 via photopin cc
photo credit: villy21 via photopin cc

An argument that has been waged against the public education system has been that by privatizing education, the students will receive a better quality education and the state will spend less money in general on public school education, which will reduce spending. These grants will be offered to students who meet the minimums for free and reduced lunch, but it does not stipulate which of these kids will be of other races than “majority” race of the school nor the religious practices of theses institutions. there is a small loophole which states that public funds will not be used for religious studies however, being that the institution will be private, how will there be appropriate oversight?

On the issue of race, one has to consider the children who have mixed status or undocumented status who will be excluded from this bill. How will these students fair without ESL programs that are readily available?  Will they fall between the cracks? In talking about falling between the cracks, what students will benefit from a home based education system. For man y low income children school is where the get some basic needs met, they have lunch, they socialize, they leave abusive situations or they are in-contact with people who will be able to help they with difficult home situations. Being in community mental health for a few years, most referrals for services come from the school system, concerned teachers and staff who want the best for these students. The notion of privatizing the system to a home-based charter, even if it is not for the entire NC student population, will lower the standards of care across the state.

Many migrant children attend school because the law enforces it, the school busses run, the school social workers and counselors make sure that these children stay in school and assist with the necessary paperwork. Private schools typically do not hire social workers. Private schools do not have the oversight. What good will come from privatizing public education if tax payers will still have to pay for the service. Will that portion that was originally allocated for public education; for our children, teachers and social workers then go into other projects. What about no child left behind and the rights brown v board gave to this United States of America? The policy of moving toward the privatization of public education leaves room for discriminatory practices and shady practices. Advocate for education.


Immigration Bill Passes the Senate

5 Jul

Within days of each other, The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was repealed, the Filibuster in Texas stopped an anti-abortion bill, and the Supreme Court refused to rule on Prop 8. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 endured a devastating blow with the Supreme Court striking down section 4 requiring states with historical discrimination practices to seek pre-clearance before modifying voting laws, and Senate Bill (S. 744) addressing immigration passed the Senate with a vote 68 to 32.

Infographic provided by Quartz

Infographic provided by QuartzWhat does S. 744 : The Immigration Bill Address:

What does S. 744 : The Immigration Bill Address:

Border Security: DHS (Department of Homeland Security) will tighten up on border security and it provides a budget of 6.5 Billion to increase resources and infrastructure, more tax dollars spent  on basic border surveillance.

Immigrant Visas: RPI (Registered Provisional Immigrant) is the status that will be given to immigrants who meet specific legal standards as addressed in S. 744.  The ability to apply for family members who are in the country without updated documentation or  illegal status will be granted a path to citizenship.  This is a costly matter and lower income families are less likely to meet the minimum standards.

Visa Updates: Changes regarding different documentsincluding V(visiting )visas, U (undocumented) visas, RPI (Registered Provisional Immigrant) visas and LPR (Legal Permanent Resident) visas, and the qualifications an individual must face along their journey toward citizenship.

The Dreamers:  Dreamers are childhood arrivals who have advocated for their access to education, drivers licensing and to basic human rights. They are included in this bill and will be allowed a fast track to citizenship.

Access to Benefits: Dependent upon the type of visa received, governmental aid provided to many at-risk populations in programs such as Medicaid, Temporary Aid to Needy Families (TANF) and Social Security may or may not be provided. For example, Registered Provisional Immigrants (RPI) are ineligible. However, RPI status immigrants will be allowed to operate in a the private market system for medical insurance benefits.

Employer Enforcement: E-Verify  and work authorization guidelines. This section of  S. 744 includes worker protections against exploitation. This section gives rights to temporary farm workers (those who hold H-2A visas) who hold  temporary agricultural visas.  In the past, this population has been exploited by large farms that do not want to inform their workers of the rights they have as employees in the United States.

The path to citizenship in some cases will take up to 13 years to accomplish. This comes at a time where Latino voices and Latino storytellers have been able to have a stronger presence in the immigration dialogue. The passage of S. 744 in the Senate was a step toward equality and justice, but it still needs House support in order to become law. The Republican majority House may prevent S. 744 from being voted on without a majority of House members consent. According to Speaker John Boehner, House Republicans have their own immigration bill.

Wendy Davis

5 Jul

Gender Politics, In Politics? NO WAY! Earlier this week, Senator Wendy Davis of Texas stood up for women’s reproductive rights in her 11 hour filibuster to keep the 45 clinics open in Texas SB 5 would have banned abortions after the 20th week of a pregnancy. She spoke with authority and on such a controversial topic that it would only seem fitting that the 24 hour news networks would have paid Davis more media attention.

Here is an excerpt from Time Magazine:

(Photo by Bob Daemmrich/Corbis)

You might think that this kind of ticking-clock politics drama would be a magnet for cable news. TV news, after all, devoted considerable coverage when GOP Sen. Rand Paul held a rare one-man-speaking filibuster on the floor of the Senate earlier this year. There was a deadline, an explosive social issue, some charged gender politics in the room. “At what point must a female senator raise her hand or her voice to be recognized over her male colleagues?” demanded Sen.Leticia Van De Putte with roars from the crowd and rowdy protesters shaking the room with chants of “Let her speak! Let her speak!” Aaron Sorkin, could not have scripted it better, though he may have polished up the dialogue a bit.
Read Full Article

What was it about Rand Paul’s filibuster in the Senate that motioned for such an amplified voice in mainstream media?  Many may remember Rand Paul and his filibuster against John Brennan’s appointment to the CIA. What was it about the filibustering process that made both Senators stop their filibusters? For Rand Paul, it was biological while for Wendy Davis it was a technicality. The longest Filibuster on record is that of Strom Thurmand who was allowed a short recess for a bathroom break in 1977. With this in mind, how does the filibustering process work?

There are a few key rules about filibustering, and the first of which is that the floor must be taken with no sitting or no leaning. Wendy Davis was penalized for this rule because another senator assisted her in adjusting her back brace. The other key rule about filibustering is staying on topic. According to the chamber, she went off topic twice by mentioning the budget of planned parenthood and mentioned a sonogram bill. In Filibustering after a representative has gotten three violations, as Sen. Davis received, she can no longer hold the floor.

These technicalities were not discussed in as great detail in the Rand Paul Filibuster in March of 2013. The standards appear to be different and the media coverage was different.  However, the issue struck a chord with social media advocates and local organizers.

Twitter was tweeting  #standwithwendy

“LET HER SPEAK” the crowd chanted as she left the floor

Her efforts were not in vain! Organizers and protesters chanted for the last 15 minutes and ran out the clock for that final vote.


My Other Writings

6 Jun

My Other Writings

I have neglected to copy this work I have done to this webpage!

Click on the following links to see some of my recent work for Social Work Helper:

Ode to my Uncle

6 Jun


This is somewhat of an ode to my uncle, and some introspection as to why I do the things I do, and why I fight hard for others.

My uncle suffered with schizophrenia. My uncle also only had a green card for a while and when he finally became a citizen, he was unable to work because he would make “too much” and he would not qualify for state benefits to pay for his medications. Without medications he could not work, he died at age 40 from a heart attack and lived at home with his parents his entire life.

This man was not a stupid man; he had a thirst for knowledge and a drive to do so many things with his life. He always struck me as a researcher; he was constantly recording documentaries, collecting books, cataloguing information about any and everything! He moved to this country and he knew he would not be able to achieve his lifelong dreams, he was 18, and at 19 he started displaying psychotic symptoms.

He was never able to move out of his parents’ home, unable to work, unable to study. He had very few things in life to be happy about. He had little to look forward to, all because with a job he could not qualify to receive his medications. He was unable to contribute because he had mental illness, and unlike diabetes or asthma his condition was not and still is not considered okay in American Culture.

If mental Illness were classified the same way physical health ailments are, he may have had a chance. No American would tell a diabetic they could not have an insulin shot if they got a job, or look down on the person struggling because they blood sugar lowered. These are not response we are willing to make, because a medical doctor told the nation it was a medical problem.Image


I got into this practice because I wanted to fight for people like my uncle. I’ve come across several families struggling with similar issues, it is always the same, because of the stigma and the fact that he was not “from here” there are few sympathetic ears. I find myself in a clinical role but I want to advocate. It is a fine line, advocating for the client while maintaining good therapeutic distance because in therapy, without major changes to the system- what can be said?

The Depression is often situational

The PTSD is because life has been hard, and in some cases outside of the normal mainstream culture

The Anxiety is due to not knowing what will happen next for you, your family and/or community.

It is scary out there.

Thoughts about Numbers

28 Apr

I have been working on a project for one of my classes, in my project I have been interviewing Hispanic immigrants in North Carolina and while I was transcribing the interview I connected with something my informant told me. He spoke about the value of numbers- particularly the numbers assigned to a person via social security. Growing up those 9 numbers dictated his life, he was ruled by the power of that 9 number sequence- It got me thinking about the numbers we assign people in any system we belong to, take for example the mental health system. In mental health before a client is seen we request their social security number, date of birth, age, insurance number, we call up the management entity to gather information about their record number. Before anyone even talks to this person they become a mathematical code.

The equation continues to complicate as the individual returns their paperwork to the receptionist and the individual waits for their appointment time. The clinician steps out of their office after being informed that their 9:00am appointment as arrived. The clinician starts to build the relationship and starts the assessment process, typically with a standardized form to assess for an array of typical symptoms, many of the symptoms searching for frequency and duration.

More numbers.

The assessment concludes and the clinician sits with the information that was gathered in the assessment; notes about the duration and frequency of the symptoms,  notes about stressors and what brought them to the office for the assessment, Notes about their hopes and dreams for a future without this stressor. Upon reviewing these notes it is time for the clinician to think about the final numbers this person will receive in order to see this person, and bill insurance for the service.

The problem has been calculated down- now it is time for the clinician to justify the final numbers the client will receive, will it be 309.0 Adjustment with Depressed mood, or is it in fact 311 Depressive Disorder not otherwise specified, should the clinician rule out another number and later give them their GAF, or Global Assessment of Functioning number that is in the 50s range or the 60s.

Axis 1 + Axis II – Axis III + Axis IV + Axis V = Service Delivery and Treatment Plan

It is my fear that after a while, with soaring caseloads and the current state of mental health in the nation. It is easy to see where a person would stop existing as a person and is instead the person becomes that number, that diagnosis, that social security number.  It is my hope that people will stop being numbers and get back to being a more human and compassionate world. There seems to be no time to spend that time anymore, but that time is what fosters growth and allows for personal introspection.


Swk4life: One Day at a Time

27 Apr

Swk4life: One Day at a Time

I love this blog, so accurate!

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