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Archive for the ‘taxing the rich’ Category

(The following blog was first published on my education blog: http://www.schoolingamerica.wordpress.com)

Opportunity

I was in my car today (Sunday, Feb. 2) and I heard a segment of “Religion on the Line” for no other reason than that was the network my radio was set to at the time. The hosts were talking about gifted programs in schools and how the population of these programs was disproportionate to the school’s population.

Let me shift gears and present an analogy:  You have three sets of tulip bulbs. Each set includes a magnificent, top of the line bulb; an average garden variety; and a common grade bulb. Set one is planted in the best possible soil and tended with extreme care; the second set is planted in relatively good soil and given just the right amount of attention; the third set is planted in soil lacking in the proper nutrients and does not get sufficient care.

One would assume that the bulbs in set one would have the greatest chance for blooming success…even the common grade bulb would have the maximum opportunity to reach its maximum potential. Less would be expected from the bulbs in the second garden. And the blooming success of the bulbs in the third garden would be questionable.  Even the best bulb in the third garden would be at risk, despite the fact that it had the potential to bloom like the comparable bulb in the first garden.

Consider the bulbs to be students and the gardens to be different schools/school districts. I believe it goes without saying that top schools are usually located in what the “Religion On the Line” hosts called the better zip codes. It follows that these schools have money in their budget to afford their students with the tools for a “great” education.

Following this train of thought, one might also assume that programs for the gifted and talented would offer great opportunities to the top students…most of which, the hosts said would be students of non-color (?).

One of the hosts made a comment on the Stuyvesant Schools in NYC. He said that the largest percentage of students in the gifted program were Asian. He went on to add that he didn’t believe that Asians were inherently more intelligent than non-Asian students.

Two reflections:

One – I don’t believe any race or people of color are inherently smarter than any other group. It all comes down to the gardens, and in addition to the school garden, the community and home gardens also have a major impact on the bulb/student. Isn’t it possible that the Asian students are not growing in the same garden that some of their classmates are in?  While it might be that the school is the same, but the rigor of certain courses, like AP and honors classes, actually makes it a school within a school. And then you have the garden these Asian students live in. Isn’t it possible that their environment is one that stimulates academic growth and one that is supported by family and a larger invested community?

It does take a “village” to raise a child.

Two – There is something inherently flawed by the superficial zip code comparison both the hosts and other educators use. It is flawed logic when you compare the Garden City (LI) zip code with the Hempstead or Freeport (LI) zip codes because you are not only using the extremes, you aren’t providing a 3D portrait of the schools in those districts. Not all of Garden City school children are brilliant. Not all of them come from six and seven digit income homes. I would concede that the Garden City schools provide opportunities that the public schools in Hempstead and Freeport probably can’t provide. In addition the full learning opportunities of the zip codes used for illustrative purposes are on the opposite end of the spectrum.

The comparison is also flawed because it does not take into the equation school districts in high-middle, middle, and low-middle zip codes. The more diverse the school population might be, the better chance there is of making an intelligent comparison.

I wonder if the population of gifted students better reflects the schools population.  If it does, then that is worth examining.  If it doesn’t then it demands looking into.

There is one thing else. Can we assume that just because a student experiences a “gifted” education that they will be better people, better citizens, better leaders, etc. ?

All the opportunities in the world do not translate to success however you might define that word.  Adversity sometimes brings out the best in people.

More on this in a future blog.

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brains

The recently elected President of the Emerald City delivered his first State of Oz speech before the legislative body of Oz. Following is President S. Care Crow’s speech in its entirety…even the boring parts.

A scarecrow, a tin man and a cowardly lion walked into a bar. The tin man ordered a rusty nail and the cowardly lion ordered a Shirley Temple straight up. The scarecrow abstained because he didn’t want to fall of the wagon and risk having his stuffing fall out.

Enough of my scarecrow humor. It’s time to get serious. Or perhaps I should say it’s time for you ass holes to get together. What a disgrace you are. You run around rasing money so you can get re-elected to a the house or the senate, only yu do absolutely nothing when you take your oath of office. You should be ashamed of yourselves. I know I am ashamed of you. And to think I was the one who didn’t have any brains.

You blowhard Depublicans blame the idiotic Remocrats for the sorry state of Oz. It’s time to get your head out of your ass and take a long hard look in the mirror and see who you really are. The Remocrats think we’d be all better off if we closed the gap between the rich and the poor. The Depublicans think we’ll be going to hell in a handbasket if we allow any form of social reform measures to be enacted.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that less than 1% of Ozians control more than 87% of the wealth.  Far too many Ozians live well below the poverty level. Thousands of little Ozians go to bed hungry every night. But I ask you, will legislation set things straight? Can we legislate what some people define as economic fairness? Is it the government’s job to raise the taxes on the filthy rich?

Look around you. You were elected to serve, but how many of you are being served?  You have constituents who can’t afford a loaf of bread but you men spend $45 on a haircut. Many of you have been in office for so long you actually believe your press releases for God’s sake.  It sickens me to see you turn everything into a photo op. I want to wretch every time I see one of you on camera talking gibberish.

Oz is not a land of equal opportunity, let alone even a land of opportunity. However, we’d be deluding ourselves to believe that we can level the playing field by simply running a bulldozer over the rich. The pockets of poverty are deep and we need to do something about it, but not by filling those pockets with loose change.

We’ve already identified one of the fundamental causes of poverty. A lack of education. But sometimes I think we’re throwing good money away when all we do is spend it only on our schools. Until we change the mindset of those areas identified as poor, our young people will never rise above the poverty level if they go home to buildings where drug dealers rule and where violence is a way of life.

As long as the poor don’t take any responsibility for their poverty, as long as the poor blame the rich for their poverty, and as long as the poor believe they deserve to be taken care of the poor will never take their rightful place in society.  The rich don’t need to be taxed more, they need to have their attitude taxed. Instead of looking for loopholes and opening off shore accounts, they need to believe that by investing in programs that will help eradicate the causes of poverty, we will all benefit.  The rich need to believe that opportunity is not theirs and theirs alone. They do need to shoulder some of the burdens of helping us get Oz back on track.

Tomorrow I will take the first step in enriching the lives of all Ozians. I am going to ask all of you to resign from office and promise to go away. I will then call for a general election where only honest people will be considered for office. Unfortunately the field will be very narrow.

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