Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Class warfare in school: arresting moms for educating kids

The Republicans that are complaining about Class Warfare are right about the fact that it is happening; but they’re dead wrong about who is responsible for initiating it!!

Last April I Bloged about Education is being criminalized, especially minorities!! when there were several people being charged with crimes related to attempts to educate their children or keep their schools from being closed. One of them was Tanya McDowell who has recently been sentenced in Connecticut.
The following are a couple of updates, along with links to more details, on her case which is one of many whether they involve registering kids in the wrong schools or other methods of suppressing education for the not-so-privileged class:

If you don't know the story of Tanya McDowell she made headlines last year when she was arrested for using a friend's address to send her son to a school in a better neighborhood. At the time, McDowell was homeless but wanted her son to have access to a quality education.
Now before we look at her particular case, I have to tell you all that yesterday salon.com ran an article about Presidential candidate Rick Santorum. During his stomp for the Republican nomination, Santorum has frequently referenced the fact that his wife home schools their seven children. Well according to this article, the State of PA picked up part of the tab to home school his children even though his family resided in Virginia at the time. The article went on to characterize Santorum's behavior as unethical but not quite illegal. The school district in PA, which tried to recover its money from Santorum, spent two hundred thousand dollars buying computers, software etc for five of the Santorum children for three years. Oh by the way, Santorum refused to repay the money and the State of PA eventually picked up the tab(what was that again about not making Black people rich by giving them other people's money?).

So this man can lie about his state of residency and use funds from another state to educate his children and NOTHING happens to him but a poor, homeless, mother wants to use someone else's address to send her child to the best school district in her area and it's considered theft of education??? Please tell me I am not the only person who sees something wrong with this scenario….. For complete article see the Savvy Sista

On April 14, 2011, her son was told to clear out his cubby hole and leave the school in Norwalk he had been attending since January. His mother was then arrested and charged for larceny and conspiracy to commit larceny, after it was discovered that her "last-known address" was in Bridgeport. Though 26 students were removed from Norwalk schools in the same year after determining that they did not live in the city, Tanya McDowell was the only parent who faced criminal charges.

McDowell, like the only other parent to face criminal charges in a similar case in Ohio, is also African-American. As one could predict, Norwalk, unlike Bridgeport, is majority white and has a median household income double that of Bridgeport. Both cities (15 miles apart) are located in the third most prosperous state in the US, but the conditions of the schools might as well be those of different nations. For complete article see Solidarity-US.org

In a sincere democracy everyone is supposed to have equal opportunities to get ahead in life and participate in the way our government is run. In order to do that the public needs to have access to the information they need to make important decisions and they need an opportunity to develop a rational thought process to evaluate that information. This means that we all need to have an opportunity to have a good education.
That clearly isn’t the way it works!!

One of the biggest problems is the fact that we rely on property taxes to fund schools which ensure that those in wealthy areas are guaranteed a much better education than those in poorer areas; however this is just the beginning of how they ensure that poor people stay poor so that the privileged can continue to benefits by using them for menial labors while they take the majority of the profits earned by the work of the majority.

These two parents are only a small sample of the people that register in different schools for one reason or another. I remember that on one occasion after moving we commuted for at least a month to go to the same old school to avoid reregistering and changing curricular just before the end of the year. I also encountered at least one other person that registered at his grandmothers residence due to the large difference in the quality of the schools. This wasn’t prosecuted and there are many more where that came from but these are people who have a little more money and they also happened to be white although I have no way of knowing whether that had any impact on the decision making process or if anyone ever found out.

Tanya McDowell was ordered to make restitution to Norwalk in an amount that cannot exceed $6,200, the estimated cost of her son's education. This is a clear indication of their true priorities; they will pay to keep her in jail but they won’t pay to educate her children then they ask for restitution after they ensure that she will have no way of paying it due to the fact that she’ll be in jail. The stupidity of this would boggle the mind if people were actually willing to try to think rationally. This is a modern variation of the old fashioned “Company Stores” where they set up a credit system for employees that were forced to pay higher prices guaranteeing that they could never get out of debt and that they would be forced to continue working long hours for low wages if they play by the rules which were set up to turn them into virtual slaves. Schools are a much better investment than prisons and the fact that they’re relying more on prisons indicates that it is more about keeping people in their place than it is about making rational and fair policy decisions.

All the most powerful institutions in our society, including the Mass Media, are controlled primarily by the same class of people while the rest of us receive only a token amount of rights to vote on the options that they choose for us; however they manage to rig the system so that the most democratic and fair options aren’t even discussed in a high profile manner.

The Mass Media continues to tell the public which candidates are viable and which aren’t and the majority of the public hasn’t had any option but to accept that and vote for a selection of candidates that refuse to address certain issues unless there is a major uproar; and even then they generally only do enough to appease the public so they can sweep the problem back under the rug.

If the working class had a good opportunity to keep the majority of the benefits that are earned by the work that they do then the use of property taxes might have some justification; although I suspect that there would still be some problems with it; but even that isn’t the case. When the working finally managed to improve wages and working conditions the people who control the most powerful institutions began the process of Globalization in a manner that enabled them to move factories overseas so that local workers would have to compete with foreign workers that had no protection which drove wages down.

On top of that they allowed the corporations to go on a merging spree so that while the workers were forced to compete with each other the corporations no longer had to do so despite a thin pretence that we still have competition among businesses. These corporations have formed a small number of oligarchies that often make themselves appear to be small businesses by the use of a large number of subsidiaries which they refer to as “small businesses” as long as they have fewer than five hundred employees, perhaps only barely fewer than five hundred to maintain their official status as “small businesses.”

These oligarchies have avoided any accountability and they routinely use their market power to ensure that real small businesses can’t enter the market. This ensure their ability to keep prices high ad cut the manufacturing expe4nses to the bone so that the quality of their merchandise is now much worse than it used to be. As indicated in several previous posts many of the merchandise that used to last much longer fall apart in a fraction of the time so that complacent consumers have no choice but to keep buying the same things over and over again. Fortunately a growing number of us realize that Loud complaint brings quick free replacements of defective merchandise; but they’ve been using this method for a long time to ensure that poor people don’t really have a chance to get ahead in life and the result is that most people except for the top 1 % don’t have much if any savings. And on top of that they’re looking for many other ways to keep it that way like the reverse mortgages that are being advertised by Henry Winkler and Fred Thompson.

The purpose of this may be to take advantage of the elderly from the lower and the middle classes that have a hard time making ends meet and deprive them of their life savings so they can’t pass it down to their kids while the rich try to eliminate inheritance taxes for themselves. Even if this isn’t what they intended it is what they’re doing. This provides a virtual tax on those that can’t influence the system, or in many cases even understand it, and leaves them at the lack of mercy of those who do understand and control the system.
In all fairness there were also Drug charges involved in the sentencing of Tanya McDowell and a quick look at this might indicate that perhaps she deserved it; however I have no doubt that a closer look will actually indicate even more disparities in the way we implement so-called justice.

For starters there is an enormous disparity in the way people are sentenced to prison for drugs which tends to punish poor people especially minorities much harsher. But more important might be the fact that the government has never been as serious about their war on drugs as they pretend to be. If they were truly concerned about the war on drugs they wouldn’t treat it like a war at all instead they would treat it like a social problem to be solved and one of the most effective ways to do that is to repair the inequalities in our education system and make more well paying jobs available to the working class. There have been some claims that McDowell may have been entrapped and others that make her appear less reputable; however even if she wasn’t entrapped did have problems this clearly isn’t the best way to address them and it isn’t the same way they would be addressed if she was from a more privileged background.

To make matter worse the CIA has been heavily involved in looking the other way, at best, when they think it is in their own best interest for the foreign policy objectives that they have in mind which tend to be based on lies. This has bee heavily reported on by several credible researchers who haven’t had a high profile in the Mass Media including Alfred McCoy author of “Drug Fallout” and The Politics of Heroin” and Gary Webb the investigative reporter who wrote “Dark Alliance” and a longer book by the same name. Attempts have been made to discredit these investigators especially Gary Webb but a close look at their work includes a lot of sources that include many traditional sources in the Mass media and drug trial transcripts for US trials and the Kerry Report (Google Copy also available in PDF format) by the US Senate. A close look at this will clearly indicate the fact that there is an enormous amount of government involvement in the drug trade even if the details aren’t all conclusive; at a minimum this involves looking the other way when it suite their purposes, however more involvement is much more likely.

Other methods to ensure that the poor receive much less educational opportunities include the reliance on copyright laws which are used to enable powerful institutions to control the distribution of an enormous amount of educational material that drives up the cost of college dramatically and even increases the cost of education at the grade levels who have to pay more for books and often can’t access an enormous amount of material that should be available on the web. I have reviewed this in several blogs the most recent of which is Stop SOPA and PIPA, Protect Free Speech and Democracy. 
This shouldn’t be about race but to some degree at least it is even if it is only the perception that it is about race. Also it shouldn’t matter whether the critics or supporters of any particular policy or candidate for office including Barack Obama is black or white however it is perceived that way and black people have had much more experience than white people as the target of racism so their perspective should be important. Unfortunately many African Americans are so happy about having the first African American president that many of them aren’t looking too closely at some of the things he is or isn’t doing. In this case he seems to be completely silent and as far as I can tell so do most of his supporters although Al Sharpton has spoken out in her defense last June; unfortunately he hasn’t raised the issue much on his show as far as I can tell nor has he called on Barack Obama to do more on this subject in a high profile manner.

Unfortunately Barack Obama has spoken out in favor of Charter Schools which enables corporations to increase their influence on the education system though; and he has supported an enormous amount of other policies that do more to support the corporations regardless of what they do to the majority of the public. At the same time he is taking a record breaking amount of contributions for his campaign from the corporations. In fact this has happened every four years regardless of who is president and Barack Obama has just continued the trend. It seems to me that Tavis Smiley and Cornel West who called on Barack Obama to give the poor a voice are right; he clearly hasn’t done nearly as much as his propaganda machine has indicated that he is doing and if you Google Tavis and West you’ll find that there are an enormous amount of prominent people criticizing them instead; however I suspect that this may be because the poor don’t have nearly as much opportunity to get their views across on the traditional media or the internet. It seems to me the fact that Barack Obama doesn’t seem to be doing that much to address many of the most important issues should be more important than whether any particular authority figure or critic believes that he is and in my opinion he isn’t even coming close.

I could go on much further and perhaps at another time I will but clearly this system needs serious reform if we wasn’t a real democracy instead of this current pseudo-democracy masquerading as the real thing.

First they came for the blacks (and the Latinos and the American Indians and the Asians).
I was silent. I was not black (or Latino or American Indian or Asian).
Then they came for the Jews.
I was silent. I was not Jewish.
Then they came for the gays and lesbians.
I was silent. I was not gay or lesbian.
Then they came for the kids with cleft palates, missing limbs, speech defects and other physical or mental defects.
I was silent. I had no such defects.
Then they came for the Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims.
I was silent. I was not Palestinian, Arab or Muslim.
Then they came for the nerds, dweebs and geeks.
I was silent. I was not a nerd, dweeb or geek.
Then they came for the fat, wimpy and ugly kids.
I was silent. I was not fat, wimpy or ugly.
Then they came for the kids with attention deficit disorder.
I was silent. I did not have attention deficit disorder.
And then they came for me.
Help, someone help; who will help me?
What happened to everyone else? Web Weavers World

Ideally I think we need a major Educational Revolution that enables the majority of the public if not everyone tu understand how the government works and control it. This will require major Election Reform that enables the public to control the interview process of political candidates not the Mass Media which is clearly biased and corrupt.

(For more information on Blog see Blog description and table of context for most older posts.)

The following are the original replies when this was first posted on Open Salon.

I think they deliberately deprive the majority of Americans from a good education. That way they remain ignorant of the fact that our government is run by professional criminals.

Dr Stuart Jeanne Bramhall March 13, 2012 01:48 AM

Lyn, this is true; but it is important to keep in mind that the complex system relies on the work of the masses and it is set up to give one class of people more at the expense of the other. This means that even those with good intentions in the upper classes benefit from a system that favors them. They don’t intend to steal the benefits earned by the lower classes but the system does it for them.

Stuart, No doubt you’re right about many of the most powerful people however they repeat their own spin so often that they often begin to believe it themselves, at least to a point.

zacherydtaylor March 13, 2012 09:54 AM

[r] zachd, no one writes about the double standard better than you. i was shaking reading this article about what RS pulled and this CT mom. Geeeezzzzzzz. Talk about an empathyless society. But it parallels the white and blue collar criminalizations exactly, just more of the same. it is so out of control, the injustice. so shocking and awe-inspiring. best, libby

libbyliberalnyc March 14, 2012 03:17 AM

"In a sincere democracy" you write. That's the rub--the key word is "sincere" and the lack of sincerity. Our system depends on knockin people down, then sneering at them for being down. I'm glad the publciity and the involvement of public figures may herald a better outcome for at least a few. [r]

Donegal Descendant March 14, 2012 03:29 AM

Yes the situation with those property taxes seem to have no rainbow at the end of them. Powerful POV and the details of life here is quite jawdropping.

........(¯`v´¯) (¯`v´¯)
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Algis Kemezys March 14, 2012 07:00 AM

Libby, this is just one of the more blatant examples; there are plenty more subtle things that they’re doing, as I’m sure you know.

Donegal, this system isn’t even close to being sincere; they’re depriving the majority of the access to education they need to participate in it and rigging who we have to chose for candidates so that people that address important issues don’t get any attention.

Algis, if the distribution of wealth was even close and people got paid what they were actually worth it might not be so unreasonable for this system but the same people that control the system rig it so that this doesn’t happen and they use property taxes to ensure that it isn’t fixed after the fact either.

zacherydtaylor March 15, 2012 09:33 AM

This really demonstrates the low grade insanity of Southern California local government. Thanks much for highlighting this.

old new lefty March 16, 2012 02:01 PM

Actually this particular incident took place in Connecticut but this is all too common in many other counties around the country presumably including SoCal. Thanks for replying.

zacherydtaylor March 17, 2012 09:33 AM

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