Tuesday, March 29, 2011


This week produced two very fine slogans. Sometimes, someone says something in a few words that just shoots through all the other verbiage and makes nothing else necessary. Such was the case when a recent blog written by Peggy Robertson used the line,"I will not feed you, but I will test you."
What's useful here is that all those critics and pundits, and the billionaires who think they can do education reform, must face the fact that poverty is deeply embedded in any crisis in education we currently face. They never want to see that. This summer, at the million teacher march in Washington D.C. I expect to see small children holding signs with those few words. Maybe then some folks, with other agendas will get that about 23% of this country lives in poverty. As always, real poverty is invisible. Poor people wear the mask well and it takes a thousand forms. Back in the 60s there was a neat little slogan that went, "the poor pay more." In Texas, during my VISTA training, we had to investigate that notion and see f it was, indeed, true. I recall going into local mom and pop stores and seeing outrageous prices for a single egg. A dozen eggs back then would go for 59 cents in a super market. But in the ghetto or barrio, it was not uncommon to see a single egg go for 7-10 cents. The little corner stores also gave credit, so if you needed to feed your family for a few days,and the end of the month was a week or two away...you get the picture.
Today I noticed that at Trader Joe's bananas are 19cents each. Those same bananas go for 69 cents a piece at my local 7/11 store. I guess that's the price of convenience.
Another slogan that says so much with so few words came out of the mouth of John Stewart recently. "They're firing teachers and missiles now." Oh yeah. We hear about the extravagance of public employees benefits. Those overpaid teachers and fire fighters. We read about the tax loopholes large corporations like Standard Oil and General Electric have, and nobody seems to ask about our military budget. How many could have benefited from the money the fighter jet shot down in Libya cost? So now we have three hot wars and none one "declared." What happen to letting the Congress talk about these issues before acting. Time to revisit the War Powers Act? Oh I forgot, it's the way you get a doctrine. So now we have the Obama Doctrine. I want a doctrine too. How about we fund our schools, provide "liberty and justice for all" so that corporations pay their share of taxes instead of running off to Switzerland (in name only) and then if anything remains, we can selectively take up the cause(s) of human rights violations in other countries after we debate the merits.
As always, the poor (which is most of us) pay more.

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