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A Democratic Country Should Put Public Education Before Corporate Profits


Society & Culture  (tags: abuse, americans, children, corruption, culture, dishonesty, education, family, freedoms, government, law, media, politics, religion, rights, society, women )

Kit
- 847 days ago - truth-out.org
The headlines this summer are full of gloom and doom about the upcoming 2012-2013 school year. Schools are closing and teachers being laid-off.



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Comments

Alexander Werner (53)
Wednesday August 1, 2012, 4:39 pm
Teachers salary should be adjusted to what people are paid in private companies, even without the whole summer vacations.
 

Kit B. (276)
Wednesday August 1, 2012, 5:01 pm

Sorry, Bob but once again your ignorance is showing. Teacher do have a choice, they can be paid for the 9.5 months they work over a year. The salary is broken down to 12 months, which most make the choice to have. During the summer they do have courses and mandatory work days. If we were to suddenly be paid on an educational par with those in business you can count on doubling or tripling our current salaries.
 

Kit B. (276)
Wednesday August 1, 2012, 5:02 pm

The headlines this summer are full of gloom and doom about the upcoming 2012-2013 school year.

Schools are closing. Teachers are being laid off. State and local governments are cutting like crazy and Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin has released a report warning about the looming sequestration of the federal education budget.

It shouldn't be like this. According to the US Bureau of Economic Analysis, the economy is growing - and has been since July 2009. The National Bureau of Economic Research declared an end to the recession three years ago. We're now in "recovery."

In fact, the average rate of growth in real gross domestic product (total US economic output adjusted for inflation) over the past three years has been 2.2 percent per year. That's not great, but it's good enough. So, why all the cuts?

To read more articles by Salvatore Babones and other authors in the Public Intellectual Project, click here.

With the economy growing 2.2 percent per year, there's no reason we can't increase school budgets by 2.2 percent per year. If society's total resources were distributed the same now as they was in the recession school year of 2008-2009, education budgets would be 6.6 percent higher now than they were then. And that's in inflation-adjusted dollars.

Instead, school budgets have been slashed in each of the last three school years and they're on track to be slashed again for 2012-2013.

Where has the money gone? In two words: corporate profits.

Last week, the Bureau of Economic analysis released revised estimates for corporate profits in 2009, 2010 and 2011. The news was bad: corporate profits in every year were lower than originally thought, as reported major news outlets like Reuters. Shed a tear for corporate America.

As it turns out, after-tax corporate profits rose by "only" 14.2 percent in 2009, 23.9 percent in 2010 and 8.9 percent in 2011.

There's your education budget right there.

Why are federal, state and local governments cutting budgets when the economy is growing? The state and local governments have a good excuse: they can't easily tax the corporate profits and executive bonuses that are easily shifted outside their jurisdictions.

The federal government has no excuse. The federal government can and should tax corporations and high-income individuals to support public education nationwide.

During the recession the federal government made up state and local budget shortfalls with temporary stimulus money. This funding prevented major cuts to public education during the recession itself, according to a report from the Center on Education Policy. Local education employment fell by only 26,000 jobs in the 2008-2009 recession school year.

Those modest cuts came on the back of a 172,000 increase in local education jobs in 2007-2008.

Now that the economy is expanding, local education employment should be expanding, too. The federal government has the power, reach and resources to tax the growing sectors of the economy in order to provide more resources for local education.

The compound growth in corporate profits has been 54.1 percent since the end of the recession. Executive salaries have grown at a similar pace. Even Forbes magazine admits that "executive compensation will only fuel the outrage over corporate greed."

The economy is growing. The money is there. It's our democratic choice: corporate profits or public schools. It's up to us.

It's up to you. You can support the education funding program of the National Education Association or join the legislative action campaign of the American Federation of Teachers. You don't have to be a professional educator - or even a parent - to help promote America's public schools.

 

JL A. (274)
Wednesday August 1, 2012, 5:19 pm
and the Libor scandal cost school districts some of the earnings they should have had on their construction funds, too..........
 

Dandelion G. (387)
Wednesday August 1, 2012, 7:51 pm
To me, a solid and good education is the building blocks on which this Country rests. Teachers should be well compensated so that the best and brightest are wanting to be Teachers. We need to give the respect back to their positions, we need as communities to be supportive of our schools in whatever way that we can, whether we have children going or not. Schools are always looking for volunteers and working with the children for many activities.

I must say, I'm so fortunate to live in a County in Florida that has a long history of taking it's education seriously. I live in the town that had the first University for this State, a wonderful library system in this County one of the best I've seen as I have lived in other places all in the north, like Massachusetts and even this County does better than there for it's library system.

My children got a good education here, and I'm pleased that my Granddaughter is going to a brand new school this month for kidnergarten that also took into consideration all the newest technology as well as it was built green. We have extra land and the school will use for science and other classes to teach the importance of the environment, the children will be taught many things in living in harmony with nature and being green. I even like the schools mascot, Eagle....Aho! While some areas are closing schools, or their schools are falling apart, I do feel blessed we have a new school that has recently been opened.

I know, it is Florida, who would of guessed, we also have more registered Democrats than Republicans in our County so our interests have been in education and environmental concerns. But I'm so proud of our Republican Supervisor of Elections who stood up to Rick Scott when he gave her a list of voters to purge from the roles, she could find no reason to do so, and hasn't, even went on National News to say so. We are also ahead of the curve on many of the environmental issues, having voted to raise taxes in the past to go directly to the environment. We have built bike paths, lovely parks, hiking trails, planted trees, in the past 10 plus years since doing so and bought large amounts of land to stay forever undeveloped. Is why I fell in love with this area.

Now if this Tea Bag Governor and Tea Bag Senator would move along and not try to mess things up much worse than they have, we can get back on track to keeping this a nice place to live in Florida for future generations to come. It isn't perfect here, we have low wages, unemployment is high, a big hit in the foreclosure due to a lot of the banksters taking advantage of this area, a lot of homeless due to the economy but a lot of people come here not to freeze when they are down on their luck, State services have become worse, but at least we have a foundation to be building upon, nice diversity of people and businesses, so if we could get the Federal and State to get it's act together we are poised to do well, now we are hanging on.
 

pam w. (191)
Wednesday August 1, 2012, 8:42 pm
An intelligent country should put education ahead of EVERYTHING! Ignorant citizens tear a country down---educated ones build a country up.

Anyone who doesn't see the wisdom in this is obviously either stupid or has a very dangerous agenda for the United States.

 

Kit B. (276)
Wednesday August 1, 2012, 8:46 pm

My Green Star bucket is on empty for now, so I will just send you all a thank you.
 

Craig Pittman (46)
Thursday August 2, 2012, 8:31 am
One would think you would put more money into education than into the military but if that is not a priority then at least place education above corporate profits as a legacy for future generations.
Of course a well-educated, well informed public may be considered undesireable in the minds of some of those in the power structure.
Our children deserve better.
 

Allan Yorkowitz (447)
Thursday August 2, 2012, 12:07 pm
I work in an upscale suburban district, that over the last 4 years has lost 2 librarians, shut down its auto mechanics program, drafting, and foreign language program in the elementary schools. This is progress?
Our Democratic controlled union sits on its hands, and claims they cannot do anything about this. Don't start me on what the Superintendent , assist. superintendent , school account makes a year....If they each were to take a 10% cut in salary, we could have another teacher.
My salary has been frozen for 2 years.
 

bilja c. (48)
Thursday August 2, 2012, 12:17 pm
If education is the first goal, oligarchy will have less. Hence, they support experts that work on their profit program hegemony.
 

Robert Hardy (68)
Thursday August 2, 2012, 1:13 pm
Of course.... keep kids stupid so they will grow up to vote conservative.
 

Christeen Anderson (539)
Thursday August 2, 2012, 1:36 pm
Public education is definately more important.
 

Nancy M. (202)
Thursday August 2, 2012, 3:43 pm
" If we were to suddenly be paid on an educational par with those in business you can count on doubling or tripling our current salaries. "

Absolutely!
 

Susanne R. (249)
Thursday August 2, 2012, 5:54 pm
The article states: "The economy is growing. The money is there. It's our democratic choice: corporate profits or public schools. It's up to us."

This shouldn't even be an issue! The future of this country depends on the education of its children! As citizens, parents, and grandparents, this situation should be making us very, very angry. We need to ask questions and demand answers! Every child should be encouraged to live up to his or her potential. For some of those children, that potential could change the world!

Corporate greed is becoming a scourge upon this country. These wealthy individuals are able to send their children to the best private schools where they can be stimulated and challenged and given as much individual attention as they want or need. Let's just hope that these children are able to keep this country from losing its edge. The example their parents set with their greedy behavior, their ruthless business practices, their sense of entitlement, their lack of respect for the environment, their lack of concern for the less fortunate, their attempts to "buy" our government, and the way they're trying to dismantle unions and the middle class to increase their own profit margin will not serve their children well. Children learn by example. Loving parents want their children to turn out better than they did, and "better" shouldn't equate to being greedier, more corrupt, more ruthless, and more unethical than they were.
 

Kit B. (276)
Thursday August 2, 2012, 6:13 pm

The ultimate goal is for privatized education, which of course, means education for the wealthy and not for the rest. We are working over-time on regressing this country to a backward state.

Both the NEA and AFT work to promote better education, better teachers and much better schools. That can only be achieved with public support. End the massive amounts of wasted money on testing, forcing teachers to "teach to the test" and allow teachers the freedom to "teach to content". Keep politics and politicians out of education.
 

Jeremy S. (3)
Thursday August 2, 2012, 7:31 pm
We need education for everyone, which means public education! If people have to pay for their education, it's a return to the Dark Ages.

And maybe that's exactly what Mitt Romney wants.
 

Nimue Pendragon (270)
Thursday August 2, 2012, 7:40 pm
Hear hear, Jeremy. I second that.
 

Devon Leonard (54)
Thursday August 2, 2012, 8:06 pm
Wow powerful comments here ! We need so much to honor our teachers. Those folks entrusted to spark the love of learning into each new generation...!!! It does not get much more valuable than that.
I was walking down my rural road yesterday thinking that teachers make a whole lot less than the tree trimmer people here where I live make. And that struck me as sad....
I have several friends who are teachers here, and they are struggling to make ends meet. Just amazing to me!
Were in the 21st century and I hope dearly that we can get together and make our world a better place.
 

Kit B. (276)
Thursday August 2, 2012, 8:16 pm

I touch the future. I teach.

― Christa McAuliffe

As for those who work in the administration buildings, bureaucrats, over paid bureaucrats, not educators. Very few teachers complain about salary, if they complain at all is it about the direct interference in their own ability to teach.


We don't decide on education for the money, we don't stay in the classroom for the money, we live to touch the future, to teach and share what we have learned.
 

Kerrie G. (135)
Friday August 3, 2012, 6:15 am
Noted, thanks
 

Marie W. (67)
Friday August 3, 2012, 9:16 pm
What's left of Democracy?
 

Bianca D. (86)
Friday August 3, 2012, 11:28 pm
Years ago, when the President of Iceland was asked how he was going to turn his country's foundering economy around, he answered, "Education, education, education!" and he did it. Surely even those who are obsessed with money and profits can see the advantage of educating the population. The other thing that comes to mind is Obama's January think tank meeting with Silicon Valley luminaries to bring more jobs back to the US. When he asked Steve Jobs R.I.P. what needed to be done, Jobs answered, "There's nothing you can do. Those jobs aren't coming back to the US. The reason we manufacture Apple products abroad is that if we hit a snag, within minutes I can have thousands of engineers from India or China working on it and in a question of hours, the production line is running again." Apple executives believe there simply aren't enough U.S. workers with the skills the company needs or factories with sufficient speed and flexibility. Sounds like an education deficit to me, and that *can* be remedied. But not if the decision is left to the money makers and the money lenders!
 

Roseann D. (178)
Saturday August 4, 2012, 4:20 am
Knowledge is power and the GOP and corporations prefer we have neither.
 

Beverly M. (86)
Saturday August 4, 2012, 6:25 am
Our top priority should be investing in topnotch education for our children, the future of our country. I'm joining the 2 groups you mentioned here to lend my voice. Thanks Kit!
 

Roseann D. (178)
Saturday August 4, 2012, 9:03 am
Thanks Kit! I forwarded your comments to my friends who will appreciate the info.
 

Jennifer C. (169)
Sunday August 5, 2012, 12:31 am
Thank you.
 

Val R. (247)
Sunday August 5, 2012, 12:38 pm
Used to be a teacher - sad to hear all the ads these days for home schooling - kids shouldn't learn on their own - interaction is important - another way to keep us isolated.
 

Past Member (0)
Sunday August 5, 2012, 4:40 pm
"Teachers salary should be adjusted to what people are paid in private companies, even without the whole summer vacations."

Bob, considering teaching is the most important job in the world and considering that you obviously weren't subject to much of an education and seem to resent those who have an substantial education, I think that this is way over your head.
 

Eternal Gardener (739)
Sunday August 5, 2012, 6:21 pm
Democracy in a two-party system? Think again!
 

Vincenzo Correale (197)
Sunday August 12, 2012, 10:30 am
Invest in Education for the children. Thanks for your post!
 
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