Maya Portulaca Cole posted the following thoughts on the listserve of MAFAAC:
Reading through a recent article about the Portland, OR school system from In These Times, titled, “All for One, None for All: Schoolchoice policies sacrifice universal education in favor of personal freedom,” I’m reminded of our own city and worry for its future.
On one hand, I think of Asa Hilliard’s words that remind us that, The relative ‘wealth’ of the relatively small numbers of Africans in the middle-income level obscures the gross poverty of the masses of low and no income Africans. Satisfied personally, the higher income Africans may even become a buffer, silencing the voice of the masses by being in a broker position to cool out the masses, and earning money for that containment of their brothers and sisters. These brothers and sisters are usually not clear at all. Many seem not even to seek clarity. They seek entertainment.”
I would argue that school vouchers may satisfy the needs of the lucky few, but it in no way will it provide for the needs of the children living in poverty – either black or white. It perpetuates the haves and the have-nots.
More than once I’ve heard folks remark how Madison is trending toward a smaller version of Portland (one of those supposed hip, creative, progressive, environmentally-aware communities). This makes me think of how we need to revisit No Child Left Behind and how it may change our school system as it expands.
More debate should be given to the topic of NCLB because it really captures the reality we face due to the current GOP’s push for “accountability” and “school choice”.
And given the context of the school board creating task forces on boundary changes and school expansion; along with Mr. Rainwater’s evaluation, we could ask the board to predict where we are heading with NCLB which is essentially an unfunded mandate.
Just a thought.