Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Bobby Jindal: The man behind the curtain

The little fake magician pulling levers in The Wizard of Oz told his audience to "pay no attention to the man behind the curtain" when the secret of his trickery was revealed.

He'd been practicing what professional magicians call misdirection. Smoke, mirrors and noise distract the audience from the shabby reality of the trick. Keep your eye on the fluttering handkerchief in this hand while the other palms a quarter.

In today's Advocate, columnist James Minton pulls away the curtain concealing the facts behind Gov. Bobby Jindal's so-called education "reform agenda."

Minton writes that two of the state's highest performing school systems are starving because the governor has refused to increase school spending for the past three years. It is a story that is repeating itself in systems across Louisiana. Schools of excellence and challenged schools alike are struggling.

Teachers are being furloughed. Important programs that actually improve student achievement have been slashed by Jindal. Those include after school tutorials, reading and math initiatives, technology investments and stipends for nationally certified teachers.

The governor's spin machine is busily churning out misdirection, blaming teachers and school boards for his failure to adequately fund public education.

The fluttering handkerchief says "we can't keep spending a billion dollars a year on failing schools," while the hidden truth is that good schools and good teachers are facing disaster.

The secret behind the curtain is this: the governor and his allies are more interested in a radical destruction of public services than in improving schools. Like anti-tax hobgoblin Grover Norquist, they want to "shrink government small enough to drown it in a bath tub." What little is left, they'd like to divert to Wall Street corporations.

That is why the governor and company want a voucher scheme that could send some 380,000 children to unregulated private and religious schools. It's why they want to privatize prisons, pensions and health care. It's why the governor opposed even the extension of a cigarette tax aimed at treating cancer.

The real action is behind the curtain. It's there if we'd only bother to look.

1 comment:

Diana J.Williams said...

It amazes me that the governor, who is a product of a public education, is so negative toward public education! What's really behind his negativism? He has not come and visited one public school where teachers are in the trenches everyday, working with students who come with so many issues, that it's unreal! Home plays a huge part in the lives of students, especially when many parents choose not to support the schools that their children attend or encourage and push THEIR children to study and to do well. There are Parents who can't be found/contacted until an expulsion is on the horizon, or students who apparently feel it's ok not to do homework/classwork, but want to just get by! What's most amazing is that teachers have to be everything to some students and not just the person trying to educate them! We are blamed for what students never were taught or should have learned in their foundation years with the assistance of their parents, we are expected to babysit(not teach), to allow behaviors exhibited at home to be the status quo at school, we teach in situations where there is over crowding and/or with constant disruptions. I grant you that their are some teachers who should have chosen other careers simply because teaching is not their niche', but there are teachers who have chosen teaching as their profession because of a genuine love of working with/educating children. To give direction, guidance, and training to young minds is a real teachers' passion! To turn on the light bulbs in their minds! To allow students to see and understand that Educators are not robots(without feeling), but truly care about them and their future. We all know that the paths chosen lead to a childs' future! Teachers should not all be put into the same bag and students should all get the same opportunities to learn, wherever they attend school (public, private, charter,religious). As reductions in monies and layoffs are being considered to enhance one system over another and teachers in one system made to look less qualified than in another, in the public system, teachers constantly update/upgrade themselves in order to meet the needs and challenges encountered each and everyday! All we are asking is that the real facts are made public and that there is fairness in regards to Public Education!