Monday, March 14, 2011

Heading Down

In the 1960's, following the Supreme Court's ruling in Brown v. Board of Education, my dad chaired a committee charged with looking into the matter of race and educational opportunities in the Portland public schools. Its report was groundbreaking, controversial, and garnered significant national attention. I'm told it was taught in government courses at Harvard, which must mean something. Especially to teabaggers.

Composed of a diverse group of around forty community leaders, educators, parents, clergy, and highly multi-cultural, the committee membership managed unanimously to sign on to its recommendations, an achievement of my dad's powers of persuasion, I'd aver. Among its most noteworthy conclusions was the realization that kids from poor neighborhoods came to school hungry, and lacking in basic knowledge -- numbers, colors, alphabet -- that kids from other neighborhoods took for granted. Rather than recommending mandatory busing, they proposed "model schools" in disadvantaged neighborhoods that would provide a decent breakfast and pre-education to help the kids catch up. (Busing was an option for any kids whose parents wanted it. The lack of forced busing was the most controversial aspect.) What it amounted to, among other things, was the precursor realizations to what has become Head Start. That committee was ahead of its time.

So maybe I take it personally; but the Republican proposal to cut billions from Head Start is particularly egregious to me, and it demonstrates as well as anything how heartless and short-sighted the teabagger legislators are. They simply don't care about poor kids.

I realize that sounds like a typical bleeding-heart declaration; but how else can it be interpreted? Care they do, about frozen zygotes. Care they don't, about actualized but poor kids and the lost opportunities they represent. It's indefensible. Except, of course, as yet another way to make sure we don't -- perish the thought -- return tax rates to reasonable levels. Kids who need help? Screw 'em. The wealthiest two percent? Tell us what you need.

This is what it looks like when tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans is the non-negotiable and top priority of Republicans. You cut services for people about whom you don't care, who don't have the money to contribute to your campaigns. You choose today's purse, your own purse, over tomorrow's productivity, over the future of the country you claim to love. You rationalize it any way you can, with Foxobeckian disinformation and demonizations; but what you do is hurt the vulnerable and walk on by.

I've asked it over and over: at what point will the people who elected them realize the destructiveness and selfishness of the teabagger agenda? Will it be before, or after the country is hopelessly robbed of its future?

1 comment:

  1. Pssst Sid, Brown v BOE was 1954, what took your old man so long?...
    Not like Portland was Selma, but still...
    And another thing we have in common, your dad chaired a committee looking into race & educational opportunities, my Dad dropped bombs on North Vietnamese..
    OK, obligatory insults out of the way...
    Head Start is a bigger waste of money than NPR, PBS, NEA, Foreign Aid, and the Blue Angels combined...
    Seriously, why take 6 perfectly good jets out of action for AIRSHOWS?!?!?!?!?!?!
    I'd be happier if they'd just GIVE the money directly to the recipients instead of pretending teaching Jar-'ruletaquillo Jackson how to tie his shoes makes a difference.
    Have you SEEN pre-K kids nowsadays? Hungry they ain't, I mean, They not be hung-gry.

    Nome, Sane???
    but I'm a charitable man, all that money NPR doesn't need, give it to the Po' Peoples to spend on lottery tickets,
    I mean crack,

    Frank, "I hates Po' Peoples" Drackman


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