In democracy, discourse, government, institutions, justice, politics, poverty on August 15, 2011 at 7:16 pm
Thanks to MV for passing this along – Warren Buffett has always gone out on limbs and here he goes again. He knows our country – especially our country’s politicians – has lost its way and fairly taxing the most wealthy is exactly what can lead us to the right path. In this article he tells of paying around 17% of his taxable income while many middle-class Americans pay up to 40% of their taxable incomes. Buffett calls it “coddling the rich” and I couldn’t agree more. Coddling those at the very top of our income earning ladder who have acquired the majority of the economic resources in our country makes us a country of extreme Haves and Have-Nots. Those who have abundance wealth enjoy more tax credits and access to powerful people while paying a much smaller overall income tax, and those who are on the bottom 90% of the wealth ladder pay higher taxes, get less from the government in terms of tax credits and safety nets, and end up barely being able to pay their bills and feed their families.
And what about “entitlements”? I have practiced a new response to all those people who tell me that “government entitlement programs must go” before we raise taxes on anyone:
1. Do you own a home? Are you paying a mortgage? Then you are part of (probably the nation’s largest) entitlement program – it’s called your mortgage interest tax credit and in many cases it earns you more per year than a family receives from the government in food stamps per year.
2. Are you, or do you know, someone who owns land registered as agricultural for tax purposes? Wooops. There’s another entitlement program.
3. Have you taken on any home improvement projects to lower energy costs and submitted those receipts for a tax credit? Hmmmm….
4. Do you send your child to private school and live in a state where there is a loophole for claiming that tuition as charitable contributions to an educational institution? There’s another.
5. And what about these entitlements: You are entitled to police security in your community; You are entitled to being protected by a fire department if you need them for any reason; You are entitled to drive and walk on public roads and sidewalks; You are entitled to free and public education from grades Kindergarten through 12. Want to get rid of those too?
We are not yet entitled to any of these things with dignity if we are poor or struggling in any way, but there sure is pride and dignity in receiving that mortgage interest tax credit/entitlement!
Thanks Warren – we need more of you and your fellow billionaires to speak out loudly and clearly.
In American Dream, critical literacy, democracy, discourse, government, justice, Neoliberalism and Education, politics, poverty on August 14, 2011 at 6:51 pm
Hey all – thanks to a friend for sending this along. I have grown more impatient with the “These are your children, control them!” response from UK officials to the riots in London that resulted from a police officer killing a young man of color. UK officials are now considering the eviction of all families related to any accused in the riots. Great – so then the disenfranchised, angry, resentful collection of working-class and poor (mostly) immigrants will be homeless. This is a terrific solution! That should certainly prevent any future uprisings.
Is this an uprising? Or is it just a bunch of hoodlum adolescents expressing their greed and self-righteousness the way UK officials make them out to be?
It may be an uprising.
We weren’t surprised by the uprisings in the Middle East this year, but somehow people are less inclined to speak of “uprisings” in the “civilized, western” world including metropolitan London.
But this may just be an uprising.
Margaret Thatcher (the woman who spoke the words “There is no such thing as society” quoted at the bottom of this article in The Guardian) and her cronies including everyone involved in the Reagan era politics wanted “individuals” who were solely responsible for themselves and no one else – just as no one else would be responsible for those individuals – would be bound to consumerism and market fetishes and not worry about something so abstract as “society.”
This is a terrific article and a nice primer for folks not familiar with “neoliberal” policies of the last 30-40 years and their implications.
In Education Policy, high-stakes tests, teacher education on August 12, 2011 at 4:47 am
This is a truly amazing letter written by three teachers in Georgia about what they want for the kids they teach. Thank goodness hundreds of thousands of teachers will show up to schools this fall with exactly these things in mind instead of being chased away and beaten down by poor policies and know-it-all politicians.
Thanks to Maureen Downey for posting this – and thanks to a friend for passing it onto me;)
In high-stakes tests, NCLB on August 10, 2011 at 3:09 am
Thanks to a friend for passing this along – I had heard it and should have posted it before now:
In corporations, creativity, critical literacy, democracy, Neoliberalism and Education, politics, professional development resources, Standing up for Kids, teacher education resources on August 3, 2011 at 7:24 pm
Check out this story on Scholastic’s decision to end most of their corporate partnerships for distributing curriculum materials in schools after receiving sustained critique from organizations such as Rethinking Schools and Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood.
Some fabulous inquiries for K-12 classrooms might include:
In what ways do corporations influence children and youth directly through schools?
Study the history of advertising to better understand the strategies used to influence children/youth. In what ways have these marketing approaches been criticized or ended? What other measures could be taken toward a “commercial-free” childhood?
Are there curricular materials in your classroom/school that position you to buy/consume certain products/services?
Are there curricular materials in your classroom/school that position you to believe certain things that might benefit corporations?
What kinds of analytical tools can provide all children and youth with the ability to deconstruct texts of all kinds?
What role do testing corporations have in determining what is and is not taught/learned in schools? What can students and educators do about that?
In democracy, Education Policy, high-stakes tests, NCLB, politics, professional development resources, Standing up for Kids on August 2, 2011 at 4:51 pm
Two of my undergraduate students went to the march in D.C. this past weekend – they will be posting videos, photos, and their thoughts coming soon. My conversation with them last night was incredible and pointed to so many things about what “education” is – in effect, their 20 hours of driving for a 24 hour event was, in itself, a powerful education – something they will never forget; something that reminded them of some of their readings; something that made them think about themselves and their country and their chosen profession in a profoundly different way. The ultimate field trip, I suggested – doing all the things to a body/mind/person that the best educational “field trips” can do. They laughed out loud and agreed – it was the ultimate field trip that was life-changing.
Here’s part of Matt Damon’s speech, posted at the ajc Get Schooled Blog by Maureen Downey.
What do I love most about what he said? That he pointed to the fact that everything he loves to do, everything he is good at and proud about in his life as a person could never be tested. That’s the point. I could say the same thing about me as a person and as a professional – none of it can be represented on a test. We have to get beyond our narrow-mindedness and small thinking about education – that’s what these tests are: small thinking. Let’s think BIG. Then we can get back to the business of education.
In American Dream, democracy, discourse, Education Policy, government, high-stakes tests, NCLB, politics, Standing up for Kids, teacher education resources, Uncategorized on August 1, 2011 at 5:07 pm
So I’m more than envious of all you folks who participated in this historic event – but I’m still happy that I spent the day at my cousin’s wedding in Ohio celebrating with family and friends and dancing the night away…
But these speeches look like they were fabulous! Linda Darling-Hammond, Jonathan Kozol, John Kuhn, Diane Ravitch, and all the amazing educators, families, and children who are fighting every day to make sure kids are respected and can experience education with dignity and hope and power:
Other great video footage of the march.
What should we do now?
Paul Thomas has some good ideas here…