Budget & Finance Opinion

Kids Mean Money

By Greg Jobin-Leeds — June 27, 2012 2 min read
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One reader sent me the NewsObserver link below. A for-profit company has succeeded in maneuvering the Cabarrus County, NC school board to create an online Charter School. This is also happening in Pennsylvania and other parts of the county where corporations are taking public dollars to make profits using unsuccessful methods. Common sense clearly says that it is not good for a young child to be left at home alone in front of a computer, with no opportunities to play with other children, no gymnasium, and no playground.

We know this is not the best for our young children. But the company is doing very well. As a society, we’re moving away from what we know is best for kids and schools. Instead we are moving toward profit making and more unproven charters.

But the story, as you can read in the attached NewsObserver, shows that people can band together (in this case, districts are banding together) to stem the tide. The N.C. School Boards Association has been urging school boards to join in the group’s legal support of the state board’s appeal.

As a New York Times article states, “while the notion of an online school evokes cutting-edge methods, much of the work is completed the old-fashioned way, with a pencil and paper while seated at a desk. Kids mean money.”

But that’s not what kids are supposed to mean. As a society, all our values tell us kids mean caring and growing and running around and learning. Like plants they require nurturing and fresh air, and they need to be challenged physically, mentally and socially. Kids mean our future. But more and more we’re seeing barbaric (may I use that word?) corporations taking over public services and public dollars - dollars that are meant for the common good. Our common government dollars are being put into the uncaring hands of private companies.

The NewsObserver states :

A majority of North Carolina school systems, including Wake County, are joining the State Board of Education’s effort to prevent the opening of an online charter school that could divert more than $34 million a year in taxpayer dollars away from traditional public schools. Charter schools operate independently of local school districts, but the districts must pass along to charter schools roughly the same per pupil funding it would provide to a school within the district. The new charter school is projecting it will receive $6,753 per student, leading to $18.6 million in its first year and that figure will rise to $34.5 million annually in five years... ‘I think they [the corporation] shopped around and looked for a board that might be willing to approve them,’”

The corporation will get the same amount as schools that offer playgrounds and gyms and learning specialists.

This is totally wild. Capitalism in the US is getting crazier and crazier, profiteering from children for corporate and adult personal gain. We need a separation of corporations and state (not just church and state).

It is great that the school districts around the state are banding together to block this profiteering and put children first. The story is another example of how when concerned educators and parents come together and organize into a movement they can stop the steamroller of greedy capitalists. There are many wealthy people who do not choose to make money at all costs. But our system does not encourage them. It is up to all of us to change the system, as parents and school boards across North Carolina are doing.

Please keep sending me stories, especially ones that have examples of average people rising up against this specific brand of barbaric corporations.

(Note that our new home is at Daily Kos)

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