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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.

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