Friday, August 18, 2006

334: friday morning news & coffee roundup

Wow. It's been a great but really busy first week back at work following the AFSCME convention of last week. One of the first things I did was pick up Shame of the Nation by Jonathan Kozol which lays out EXACTLY why I felt the need to stand up and add something to that education amendment they put out there:
The present per-pupil spending level in the New York City schools is $11,700, which may be compared to a per-pupil spending level in excess of $22,000 in the well-to-do suburban district of Manhasset...Gross discrepancies in teacher salaries between the city and its affluent white suburbs have remained persistent too. In 1997, the median salary for teachers in Alliyah's neighborhood was $43,000, as compared to $74,000 in the suburban Rye, $77,000 in Manhasset, and $81,000 in the town of Scarsdale, which is only about 11 miles from Alliyah's school. Kozol, 45

Unless we say every child in America is deserving of the same amount of funds for their education, no silly "No Child Left Behind" program will be effective. I wish I could put Deaf children in here too, but the numbers are so different for Deaf schools it's ridiculous; such schools do have to account for housing, increased numbers of staff and technology for communication (plus flashing doorbells.) I suspect Deaf schools spend less per child on education than they do on edifice and technology when all is said and done. But that's just a suspicion.

I have been working on a new videoclip - may post it here soon.

News and Coffee Roundup:

Short for now, more for later. Love to you all.


Anonymous said...

Apropos your comments on expenditure per deaf student, it sounds like you assume they would all be in boarding schools?

I was mainstreamed as well; a certain percentage of children would fall under that, certainly...

Joseph Rainmound said...

The book I quoted by Kozol only discusses hearing schools.

My question about Deaf schools, yes, focuses on boarding schools. I was personally mainstreamed, but the conditions of mainstreaming (a few students per school) pretty much guarantees you can't get any meaningful numbers about those students, and often Deaf people who can't advocate for themselves (or haven't been told that they can) get shunted into special ed programs where their minds languish. Especially minorities.

While I benefited a lot from mainstreaming, now as an adult I see it for a nightmare - because there is no coherent way to measure the success of the mainstreamed child. How? Compare him to people from other schools? To children in the same school? Is their academic success due to boredom and not being allowed to participate in other programs? Corrupt administrators could enforce mainstreaming as a way to pretend a student is a success. There's no way to hold anyone accountable, and because the kid is alone, he or she often has no allies to support them through the discrimination they almost always experience.

Hell, I didn't even know most of it was discrimination, until I was older and knew there were other ways.