Monday, June 12, 2017

A War On The Poor



Diane Ravitch used to lead the charge from the Right on American Education. But, in the last ten years, she has become deeply embittered about what the Right has done to American public education. Now that Donald Trump has released his budget, her fury is white hot:

University education will become even less affordable:

The proposed budget would maintain funding for Pell grants for needy college students, but would eliminate more than $700 million in Perkins loans for disadvantaged students. No attempt would be made to lessen the burden of escalating college costs for students, whether middle-income or poor. Student debt is currently about $1.4 trillion, and many students, whether they graduate or not, spend years, even decades, repaying their loans. These cuts will reduce the number of students who can afford to attend college. 

And, with Betsy Devos at the helm, there will be more money available for private schools and for profit universities but profoundly less for beleaguered public schools:

The most devastating cuts are aimed at programs for public schools. Nearly two dozen programs are supposed to be eliminated, on the grounds that they have “achieved their original purpose, duplicate other programs, are narrowly focused, or are unable to demonstrate effectiveness.” In many cases, the budget document says that these programs should be funded by someone else—not the US Department of Education, but “federal, state, local and private funds.” These programs include after-school and summer programs that currently serve nearly two million students, and which keep children safe and engaged in sports, arts, clubs, and academic studies when they are out of school. They have never been judged by test scores, but the budget claims they do not improve student achievement, and aims to save the government $1 billion by ending support for them. The budget assumes that someone else will pick up the tab, but most states have cut their education budgets since the 2008 recession. No mention is made of how other sources will be able to come up with this funding.

Public schools used to educate a nation of immigrants. However, Trump policy is to build walls to keep them out. One assumes that Mr. Trump believes that public schools have outlived their time. But it goes beyond that. Trump's cuts are aimed at the poorest of the poor:

The administration wants to end many programs that are aimed at the poorest students and disadvantaged minorities in particular, while canceling vital enhancements to public school education like arts and foreign-language funding. These include supplementary educational services for Alaskan Native and Native Hawaiian students ($66 million); arts education ($27 million); American history and civics academies ($1.8 million); full-service community schools that provide comprehensive academic, social, and health services to students and their families ($10 million); library-based literacy programs ($27 million); “impact aid” to districts that lose revenue because of federal facilities like military bases ($66 million); international education and foreign language studies ($73 million); the Javits program for gifted and talented students ($12 million); preschool development grants to help states build or expand high-quality preschool services ($250 million); Special Olympics programs for students with disabilities ($10 million); and Supporting Effective Instruction State Grants, funds used to train teachers and to reduce class sizes ($2.345 billion). In addition, the Trump-DeVos budget would eliminate funding for a potpourri of programs including mental health services, anti-bullying initiatives, and Advanced Placement courses ($400 million). This is only a sample of the broad sweep of programs that would be eliminated, not just reduced. Some of the programs, like the Special Olympics for handicapped students, are small grants but they have both real and symbolic importance. The cuts to funds for reducing class sizes will have an immediate negative effect.
Trump does not believe in a War on Poverty. But he does believe in a War on the Poor.

Image: Pinterest.com


21 comments:

Steve said...

Poverty is a climate change issue to Republicans. God will take care of the poor. In their defense Republicans are champions of tax deductions for "charitable" works. Just look at all the millionaire TV preachers.

Owen Gray said...

Their God is Charles Darwin, Steve. And life is survival of the fittest.

Steve said...

Owen if only creative destruction was a valid theory. There is nothing Darwinian about the genetic lottery. Not the biological gene, the family trust.

Owen Gray said...

The Republicans -- and the Trumps -- stand four square for the family trust, Steve.

liberalandlovingit! said...

They believe in WAR, period, Owen. I cannot even begin to recount the ways in which they treat 'us poors'. Suffice it to say- it is insidiously wedded to everything we sense...as in- taste, touch, hear, etc.

Owen Gray said...

Small, vengeful people take pleasure watching those they consider their inferiors suffer, lovingit.

liberalandlovingit! said...

Do they ever, Owen, and it's beyond twisted. Evil.

Oh, and speaking of war...how many American soldiers are standing with us, in Latvia, Owen?

Scotty on Denman said...

Their god is money.

Owen Gray said...

It's worth remembering that while Trump talks war on the time, lovingit, bone spurs kept him out of Vietnam -- a problem that hasn't returned in a very long time.

Owen Gray said...

I stand corrected, Scotty. You're right.

The Mound of Sound said...


Those who would institute a form of 21st century feudalism, Owen, would benefit enormously from restricting advanced education to a suitable segment of society. Universal education was one of the essential building blocks of the once vibrant and powerful post-war middle class. It was the engine of social mobility that has now been quite effectively restrained.

liberalandlovingit! said...

Does anyone know- how many US soldiers are with us, in Latvia?

Thanks.

The Mound of Sound said...


Hedges wrote this in his latest essay, "The Age of Anger."

"Donald Trump, given the political, economic and cultural destruction carried out by neoliberalism, is not an aberration. He is the result of a market society and capitalist democracy that has ceased to function. An angry and alienated underclass, now making up as much as half the population of the United States, is entranced by electronic hallucinations that take the place of literacy. These Americans take a perverse and almost diabolical delight in demagogues such as Trump that express contempt for and openly flout the traditional rules and rituals of a power structure that preys upon them."

Owen Gray said...

Public masochism seems to have reached new heights, Mound. The victims celebrate their victimhood.

Owen Gray said...

Good question, lovingit. Perhaps someone knows the answer.

Owen Gray said...

The American Founders -- particularly Thomas Jefferson -- saw education as the best check against the abuse of power, Mound. Those who single-mindedly seek power know that education is their mortal enemy.

The Mound of Sound said...

I just checked into LALI's question. The US has a reinforced company, 225 soldiers, plus 15 M-1A1 Abrams tanks and some troop carriers in Latvia. The latest contingent rotated in in February.

John B. said...

The deployment to Latvia is a part of the NATO deterrence project in Central and Eastern Europe.

http://www.forces.gc.ca/en/operations-abroad/nato-ee.page

Whether they are joined by US forces in that particular country or not, the operation won't be reassuring or deterring anything without them.

Owen Gray said...

Thanks for that answer, John. For all his bluster, Trump lives with his head in the sand.

Owen Gray said...

There are your answers, lovingit. Thanks, John and Mound.

liberalandlovingit! said...

Thank you so much for the answers. (I know I could google, but I'd rather hear it from a real person, and not give them any more of my business than I must.)

I find it disconcerting, that we're there to protect the free world from a poisonous dictator- while Trump's U.S. is doing back-flips to protect and promote the S O B.

Opposing sides, or what?