While the billionaires and multi-millionaires wring their hands over the public schools and promise to end poverty by testing kids and their teachers, there is a back story.
The back story is that income inequality is growing worse in America. And nowhere is it more blatant and more outrageous than in New York City, the very epicenter of faux education reform.
While the mayor and his three chancellors have expanded the number of charter schools, increased testing and demanded value-added assessment of teachers and waged war against tenure and seniority, the income gap between the rich and poor has become a wide chasm.
An article in the New York Times today says that the poverty rate is at its highest point in a decade.
And get this:
“Median income for the lowest fifth was $8,844, down $463 from 2010. For the highest, it was $223,285, up $1,919.
“In Manhattan, the disparity was even starker. The lowest fifth made $9,681, while the highest took home $391,022. The wealthiest fifth of Manhattanites made more than 40 times what the lowest fifth reported, a widening gap (it was 38 times, the year before) surpassed by only a few developing countries, including Namibia and Sierra Leone.”
Do the reformers still believe that we can fix the schools first, then turn our attention to poverty? Or that if we fix the schools, then poverty will take care of itself? Yes, they do. Do they have any evidence that any of this will happen? No.
The economic policies of the past decade have been very very good for the very very rich. Not good at all for the other end of the spectrum.