Archives for category: Education Industry

George Joseph in The Nation has written a sharply researched article about the nine billionaires who have been planning to impose their ideas on New York state since at least 2010.

 

They are, as you might expect, hedge fund billionaires. They have given millions of dollars to Andrew Cuomo in both his election campaigns. They have also given millions to a group called New Yorkers for a Balanced Albany that campaigned to maintain Republican control of the State Senate. Their handiwork can be seen in organizations such as Families for Excellent Schools (no, these are not families of children in the public schools, they are the families of hedge-fund billionaires), StudentsFirst, Education Reform Now, and Democrats for Education Reform. Their goal: More privately-managed charter schools.

 

Joseph has done a stunning job of connecting the dots, showing the collaboration among the billionaires, Joel Klein (then chancellor of the New York City public schools), and John White (then an employee of New York City public schools, now state superintendent of Louisiana).

 

Why do they want more charter schools? Well, you could say, as some do, that they care deeply about the poor children of New York City and want each and every one of them to be in an excellent charter school (although most charters are not willing to take certain children, like those with severe disabilities, those who don’t read and speak English, and those with behavioral problems).

 

But Joseph thinks there is another reason for Wall Street’s passion for charter schools. They claim that charter schools are the best way to end poverty. It is certainly cheaper to open more charter schools with state money than to pay the billions that the state owes to New York City as a result of a court decision in a case called the Campaign for Fiscal Equity.

 

Cuomo has said that he is tired of spending more money on the schools. We tried that, he says, and it didn’t work. But a parent advocate does not agree: “Zakiyah Ansari, a parent and public schools advocate with the labor-backed Alliance for Quality Education, called such reasoning shameful, “Why do Cuomo and these hedge funders say money doesn’t matter? I’m sure it matters in Scarsdale. I’m sure it matters where the Waltons send their kids. They don’t send their kids to schools with overcrowded classrooms, over-testing, no art, no music, no sports programs, etc. Does money only ‘not matter’ when it comes to black and brown kids?”

 

Joseph explores the question of why the New York hedge fund leaders are passionate about charter schools, test-based teacher evaluation, and ending teacher tenure.

 

He writes:

 

Their policy prescriptions—basing 50 percent of teacher evaluations on student test scores, for instance—are not in any way grounded in mainstream education research.

 

“The problem is that Cuomo’s backers aren’t paying much attention to the people who actually understand how Value-Added Modeling works,” explains Professor Julian Vasquez Heilig, an education policy researcher at California State University. “Education statisticians have come out many times saying these models are being used inappropriately and are unstable because other things happen in students’ lives outside of the teachers they encounter. When a kids’ parents in a high needs district are deported, and their achievement plummets, this actually has nothing to do with the teacher.”

 

Vasquez Heilig added that the reform proposals seem founded on a desire to destroy the development of long-term professional educators, rather than any empirical analysis: “We know 70 percent of teachers will bounce between high performing and low performing from year to year. So this is creating an impossible high stakes testing gauntlet between a young excited teacher and their path to quality, veteran expertise. If you’re looking for a cheap churn-and-burn teaching force, this is your policy, but if you want experienced, qualified teachers, committed to a schools’ long-term success, this is a disaster.”

 

From a purely business standpoint, however, such cost-effective education reform proposals do make sense for the hedge-fund community, especially given the alternative education reform option: the legally required equitable funding of New York public schools, as mandated by the state’s highest court in 2007. Low-income New York school districts haven’t received their legally mandated funding since 2009 and the state owes its schools a whopping $5.9 billion, according to a recent study by the labor-backed group Alliance for Quality Education. Yet somehow in this prolonged period of economic necessity, billionaire hedge-fund managers continue to enjoy lower tax rates than the bottom 20 percent of taxpayers.

 

As a recent Hedge Clippers report pointed out, the hedge-fund community has achieved these gains over the last decade and a half by buying political influence and carving out absurd breaks and loopholes in the New York state tax code. Since 2000, 570 hedge fund managers and top executives have poured $39.6 million into the campaign coffers of New York state politicians. Thus, despite New York’s progressive reputation, its school-district funding-distribution system is actually one of the most regressive nationwide, similar to that of states like Texas, North Carolina and Missouri.

 

According to Michael Kink, an advocate of fair share taxes with the labor-backed Strong Economy For All Coalition, “We could fund the court order completely with fair share taxes.” This would include closing the carried interest loophole that allows hedge funds to pay a smaller share of their income in taxes than, according to Hedge Clippers, “their limousine drivers, dry cleaners, servants, helicopter pilots, and doormen.” Taxing hedge fund fees and profits fairly would bring New York hundreds of millions of dollars that could go straight to local schools. A recent Hedge Clippers analysis found that fair-share taxes and fees targeting hedge funds, billionaires, high-income LLCs and major corporations could raise between $3.1 and $4.2 billion dollars per year—well over the annual minimum required by state law’s school funding formula. But Cuomo’s hedge fund–backed proposals fail to even approach these standards, instead parroting the convenient logic of corporate education reformers that the problem is not the lack of school funding, but the way in which it is spent.

 

“It was outrageous when the governor said the lack of school funding was not an issue,” explains New York State Senator Liz Krueger (D). “And it’s consistent with his attempts to fail to make good on the CFE lawsuit commitment, somehow ignoring the fact that the poorest-achieving schools are also the most underfunded.” Commenting on the hedge fund forces backing such proposals, Krueger continued, “I can never know what people’s actual intentions are. But it does seem that there is a pattern of spending enormous lobbying money in lobbying and attempting to influence campaigns…. Hedge funds seem in particular to have made a fine art of not paying their taxes, allowing fundamental public services to be inadequately funded.”

 

Putting it more explicitly, Jonathan Westin of the labor-backed New York Communities for Change, argues the main point of the hedge fund–backed education reform push is thus “about shaping and controlling the public school system so that they will continue to get away with not paying hundreds of millions in taxes.”

 

In this light, the hedge-fund community’s fervent advocacy of the charter-school movement reflects its neoliberal social vision for the state and society. Charter schools are imagined as institutions where students can be reshaped to prevail against structural barriers like racism and poverty. As hedge-fund billionaire Paul Tudor Jones II claimed, contrary to decades of empirical evidence, “We proved with the charter school that the achievement gap was a myth, that with the right schools, kids from the poorest neighborhoods could do every bit as well as kids from the richest ones.”

 

To “make up for” pervasive inequality, in lieu of correcting it, hedge-fund billionaires like Daniel Loeb of Success Academy and Larry Robbins of KIPP have promoted charter schools that envelop students in hyper-disciplined and surveilled school environments in which their every decision, down to their most minute physical movement, can be measured, assessed and addressed. This “no excuses” pedagogical approach signals to students that the only barrier to their success is their character. In other words, as Cuomo put in his the State of the State address, students under the charter school paradigm should understand their educational opportunity as “the great equalizer.”

 

Read the article to see the links. Everything is carefully researched and sourced. It confirms what many of us have long known about the role of Wall Street in financing privatization and other policies that hurt teachers and public schools. And it is still scary. And anti-democratic.

 

Reacting to the news that testing corporations are “monitoring” the social media accounts of children during and after testing, and forbidding even verbal discussions of the tests, retired educator Frank Breslin is outraged. He wrote to me:

“Pearson is encouraging educators to spy on their students’ privacy, thereby trying to undermine the integrity of the relationship that students have with their teachers. This is vitiating the entire tradition of student/teacher trust that has been a sacred tradition between them for thousands of years. They’re making educators complicit in this illegal and immoral spying on children, so that teachers are becoming adjuncts of a Police State.

“This is what the Nazis did to teachers during the Reich — having teachers spying on parents by having children report back to them what parents were saying against the Reich. This is diabolical! ”

I know that some readers object to any analogy that references Nazis, but Breslin might just as well have referred to the Stasi in East Germany or any other police state in which teachers are expected to inform the Authorities about the private communications of their students, and family members are expected to inform on each other.

Ohio has been a profitable state for the charter school industry. Charter leaders make huge contributions to politicians. Politicians make sure that the industry’s cash cows are lightly regulated, if at all. With the right political connections, charters may be rated D or F without any consequences. Should charters be audited? Should they be held accountable for their academic and financial performance? Bear in mind that the essential premise if charter schools was that they were willing to be held accountable inexcjangefpr producing “results.” (Higher test scores.). You might say that this deal has actually warped almost all discourse about the purpose of schooling. It rests on the premise that higher test scores are the fundamental goal of education.

Ohio State Auditor Dave Yost wrote a thoughtful newspaper article describing the dilemma of auditing public-private partnerships.

When does public money trigger public audits? Not when the money flows to a purely private business, like a janitorial service. But what about charter schools?

He writes:

“There’s a messy place where the public and private meet, and the old ideas about accountability aren’t good enough to sort it out. The subject is lurking in the background of the debate over charter-school reform, but it’s wider than that and needs some hard thinking.

The distinction between what’s public and private drives many things in the law. A public entity is subject to open-meetings laws, public-records requirements, public audit and stringent ethics requirements. A purely private entity, such as a sole proprietorship or your family, is not.

But that neat set of labels doesn’t work as well when a thing is both public and private. Lawmakers here and elsewhere are deliberately blending the two — and it seems to be the trend, not the exception.

So, when an entity is a little private and a little public, which rules apply?
For example, a government office generally is cleaned by a contract service, not by government employees. Joe’s Janitorial Service shouldn’t have to open its books to public audit or abide by public-records law. The government is buying services from Joe, and as long as he provides the promised quality of service, it’s no business of anyone’s how he does it or how he spends his money.

On the other hand, if Brave New World, Inc., contracts to be the police department for your town … well, that’s a different story. Brave New World is no longer simply selling services; it is functioning as the government. Lawyers and political philosophers would say it is exercising the sovereign power of the state — and Brave New World probably ought to be subject to the traditional transparency requirements we impose upon our government.

And in between, there are all these other entities that aren’t quite private, but aren’t really public, either.

There are good reasons for blending the public and the private. Government, because its decisions apply to all of us, is designed to go slow. We shouldn’t make decisions at the speed of business when it’s about liberty, or education, or spending money that was collected by law (taxes).

On the other hand, the private sector has the freedom to move quickly, to react to market forces, to innovate — and to fail. So in certain areas where the government process has become bogged down, it makes sense to bring those private-sector virtues into the mix. That’s the idea with many hybrid organizations empowered by state government (and our tax dollars), from charter schools to privatized prisons to the Ohio Air Quality Development Authority.

But then, what does accountability look like?

In Ohio, like elsewhere, the answers are all over the board. There are custom mechanisms drawn into contracts, such as the contract with the state’s private prison contractor. Charter-school management companies are required by statute to provide certain financial information to their schools. The schools then import that information into their own financial statements — which are subject to public audit….

At the same time, it’s mostly or all our money and, therefore, the public’s business. Somehow, treating these entities — usually private corporations — as though they were a sole proprietorship, operating in private, doesn’t seem right, either.
The ongoing debate over charter-school reform is going to happen smack in the middle of this disorganized space in our public life.

How do we protect the public interest while harnessing the best qualities of a mostly private-sector actor? I don’t have a comprehensive answer, but meaningful reform will have these characteristics:

• Information. Although making all the papers of a private corporation public is the wrong answer, the law should require certain relevant information to be provided at particular intervals.

• Independent verification. Some information needs external, independent verification. This could be provided by a firm’s certified public accountants or subject to review by another body. But corporations are used to dealing with this — banks require audited financial information to ensure the numbers are adequate. It’s not growing government to make sure that the information is true. As President Ronald Reagan urged: trust, but verify.

• Segregation of duties. Businesses and governments both make sure that certain duties are done by different people. The IRS has published some criteria for how to think about segregation of duties, which I cited in our report on charter schools earlier this year.

• Governing Board independence.

“Outside directors” — board members who are not otherwise affiliated with the organization — have become a best practice in the private sector, ensuring divergent points of view and oversight of management decisions.

How to approach these factors, and how much weight should be given to them, should be driven at least in part by how much discretion the entity has in exercising the authority of the state. In our examples, Joe’s Janitorial exercises no government discretion, and Brave New World exercised a huge amount.

The details are matters for serious debate. One thing seems utterly clear to me, though: the oval peg of accountability for these hybrid organizations fits neither the square nor the round peg holes we already have. We owe it to Ohio taxpayers and families to fill that hole and repair their doubts about this public-private part of our system of government.

Peter Greene uses the example of Coke to show how market competition does not produce a better product. When faced with a loss of market share, Coca-Cola decided to put the same product into smaller cans. Maybe the failure of “Néw Coke” in 1985 taught them not to mess with the formula.

Similarly, in education, competition has not produced better education. Vouchers are used to send children to schools that teach creationism, that have no curriculum or certified teachers or to charter schools that push out low-scoring students and spend inordinate time on test prep.

Our slavish devotion to competition is destroying education.

I recall reading Robert Putnam’s previous book, Bowling Alone, about the decline of civic life in America. It caused quite a stir. I am looking forward to reading his new book, Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis. It seems certain to upset the “reformers,” as it blows away their assumptions that the schools are failing our children. As I read this review in Education Week, our society is failing our children, and we are not funding our schools in ways that help the neediest kids.

 

Sarah D. Sparks writes that Putnam “gathers a flood of research on the unraveling web of formal and informal supports that help students in poverty succeed academically and in life.

 

“If it takes a village to raise a child, the prognosis for America’s children isn’t good: In recent years, villages all over America, rich and poor, have deteriorated as we’ve shirked collective responsibility for our kids,” Mr. Putnam wrote. “And most Americans don’t have the resources … to replace collective provision with private provision.”

 

The attack on public education by the elites funding privatization is part of the shirking of collective responsibility. The drumbeating for “choice” is a way to replace collective responsibility with individual preferences, which are sure to intensify racial and economic segregation.

 

Sparks writes:

 

Mr. Putnam directly ties education to economic and social class; he speaks interchangeably of poverty and earning a high school degree or less, and of wealth and earning at least a four-year college degree.

 

Schools are not to blame for the academic gap between rich and poor students that starts before kindergarten, but, Mr. Putnam said, “the American public school today is as a kind of echo chamber in which the advantages or disadvantages that children bring with them to school have effects on other kids.”

 

He pointed to an analysis by the School Funding Law Center which found that as of 2009, 16 states had funding systems that provided less money per pupil to high-poverty school districts, while only 17 provided more per-pupil spending for districts with greater poverty. (An update of the study suggests those trends have worsened, with only 14 states providing significantly more money to high-poverty schools, and 19 states providing significantly less.)

 

Schools with 75 percent poverty or more offered one-third the number of Advanced Placement courses in 2009-10 than did wealthier schools—four each year on average compared to nearly a dozen each year at schools with 25 percent poverty or less.

 

Even where high-poverty schools get compensatory funding, Mr. Putnam told me: “Equalizing inputs is not equalizing outputs. Just because you have the same student-teacher ratio, just because you are investing the same dollars per kid, does not mean you are closing those gaps.”

 

For example, he noted in the book that high-poverty schools have more than twice as many disciplinary problems as low-poverty schools, and “equal numbers of guidance counselors cannot produce equal college readiness if the counselors in poor schools are tied up all day in disciplinary hearings.”

 

As a result, nearly 15 years after the federal education law was revised to “leave no child behind,” an analysis of the National Education Longitudinal Study data finds that even the brightest students in poverty can’t get ahead. Students in the poorest quarter of families who performed in the top third on national mathematics achievement were slightly less likely to graduate college than the worst math performers in the wealthiest quarter of families, 29 percent versus 30 percent.

 

The graph reproduced in this article starkly shows how poverty affects academic achievement and college graduation rates. This is not a problem that can be solved one student at a time. It requires a rearrangement of school funding so that schools enrolling poor students get the resources they need, not equal funding but more funding. It requires that the federal government invest in infrastructure programs that rebuild our crumbling highways and bridges and tunnels and sewers while creating meaningful work for men and women who can’t find jobs. That’s a tall order, but sooner or later our society must make decisions to do something significant to reduce poverty and inequality or to continue with the illusion that more high-stakes testing and more privatization of public education will solve those problems.

Blogger “Lace to the Top” (aka Kevin Glynn) reports that Fountas and Pinnell have raised their expectations to align with the demands of the Common Core.

 

He also reports that the reading and assessment program DIBELS has raised its cut scores to align with the Common Core standards.

 

He writes:

 

Under the guise of Common Core, the cut scores for DIBELS have been changed. For instance, pre Common Core a 1st grader was expected to read 40-64 words per minute. Under the Common Core, they are now expected to read 69+ words per minute.

There is no money to be made in labeling children as successful, but labeling them failures has continued to fuel the perceived crisis in education and increases profits.

 

I am sure that DIBELS stands for something important, but I can’t find out by googling the website of the group at the University of Oregon who created the program and assessments.

 

 

 

 

One of my favorite charter school stories is the one about the Lion of Judah charter in Ohio. When it was learned that more than a million dollars had been transferred from the charter school, the lawyer for the church asked the judge to forgive his client because it wasn’t his fault: he saw the easy money and greed got the best of him, what an original defense!

Here is the latest from Bill Phillis of the Ohio Coalition for Equity and Adequacy:

“Finally, the Ohio Attorney General files a lawsuit in charterland

Extremely late, but it may be a good sign. The Ohio Attorney General is going after individuals and entities who received $2 million from a now-closed charter school-Lion of Judah. Financial fraud has been a continuing thread in some sectors of the charter industry since the beginning.

Why didn’t Ohio’s Attorney General sue White Hat Management several years ago when Scripps Howard News Service documented that the company was receiving funding for students enrolled but not attending? The Scripps report-GHOST SCHOOLS-documented a vast difference between enrollment and attendance. In one case, a White Hat charter school had a 64% absentee rate for the 2004-2005 school year. The Scripps Howard report quoted a former principal of the Life Skills Center of Cincinnati, “It’s a cash cow! We all used to sit around and joke about it.” Further he said, “I spent less than $1 million on a $3 million operation. What the *%@& are they (executives at his former company) doing with the other $2 million?”

A recent report by the State Auditor showed a great disparity between attendance and enrollment in several charter schools. In March 4 testimony before the House Education Committee, State Auditor David Yost admonished the committee to craft legislation to correct this type of abuse and enforce it via criminal penalties.

The Attorney General should be aggressively protecting taxpayers and students from blatant charter fraud. The lawsuit against those associated with the Lion of Judah charter is a good start.

William Phillis.

Ohio E & A | 100 S. 3rd Street | Columbus | OH | 43215

Brian Jones, a former teacher in the New York City public schools, is currently a doctoral student at the City University of New York. He here explains a conundrum: Many black parents think that choice and standardized tests are good for their children, despite abundant evidence to the contrary. How should he reason with those who disagree? He focuses here on the issue of standardized testing, which compels schools–especially those serving poor and minority students–to divert time and resources to testing and test preparation, thus leaving less time for the arts and other subjects that are essential ingredients of a good education. In his experience, it is best not to argue with parents who have been persuaded by the “reformer” claims, but to listen respectfully and to “deepen the conversation,” a term he learned from Chicago teacher Xian Barrett.

 

Jones writes:

 

Likewise, when we deepen the conversation about standardized testing, we usually discover that parents and educators want similar things for our children. If standardized tests are widely and loudly touted as an antiracist measure of opportunity and fairness, some parents who are desperately searching for some measure of fairness for their children might latch onto that. Those of us who are opposed to high-stakes standardized testing shouldn’t moralize with people, or disparage their viewpoints or their experience. Rather, we have to validate their experience and find a way to deepen the conversation.

 

In my mind, we can find a lot of common ground on resources and curriculum. Of course, I think teacher training is important. It is absolutely essential that teachers be trained to respect the languages, cultures, and viewpoints of students and their families—and engage them in the learning process. But this should never lead us away from demanding the kind of educational redistribution that this country refuses to take seriously. My experience as a student has convinced me that resources are central. On scholarship, I attended an all-boys’ private high school. As one of the few students of color (let alone black students), did I experience racism and prejudice? Absolutely. However, there are aspects of my education that I wouldn’t trade for anything—the opportunity to read whole novels and discuss them in small classes, the opportunity to participate in several sports teams, to put on plays, to engage in organized debates, and to practice giving speeches. If, for my own child, I had to choose between an amazingly well-resourced school with a fabulously rich curriculum staffed with some prejudiced teachers, on the one hand, and a resource-starved school with progressive, antiracist educators who were forced to teach out of test-prep workbooks on the other, I hate to say it, but I would choose the resources every time.

 

Our society is currently spending untold sums to create more tests, more data systems, more test preparation materials, ad nauseam. And then they have the audacity to tell us that these are antiracist measures! Of course, all this focus on testing is a huge market opportunity for the private companies that provide all these services and materials. What is never under serious consideration is the idea that we could take all those same millions of dollars and create for all children the kind of cozy, relaxed, child-centered teaching and learning conditions that wealthy kids already enjoy.

Juan Gonzalez, the crack investigative reporter for the New York Daily News, has written a stunning expose of the connection between hedge fund money and politicians’ support for privately managed charter schools.

 

He writes that parents demonstrated outside the  Harvard Club, where equity investors were meeting to learn about “Bonds & Blackboards: Investing in Charter Schools.” The conference was sponsored by the Gates Foundation and the Walton Family Foundation.

 

Inside, the investors were learning about how to use their money to expand the charter sector.

 

He writes:

 

Hedge fund executives have unleashed a tsunami of money the past few years aimed at getting New York’s politicians to close more public schools and expand charter schools.

 

They’ve done it through direct political contributions, through huge donations to a web of pro-charter lobbying groups, and through massive TV and radio commercials.

 

Since 2000, 570 hedge fund managers have shelled out nearly $40 million in political contributions in New York State, according to a recent report by Hedge Clippers, a union-backed research group.

 

The single biggest beneficiary has been Andrew Cuomo, who received $4.8 million from them.

 

Several of the governor’s big hedge fund donors, such as Carl Icahn, of Icahn Enterprises, Julian Robertson of Tiger Management, and Daniel Loeb, of Third Point LLC, are also longtime backers of charter schools.

 

Loeb is chairman of the board of the Success Academy network run by former City Councilwoman Eva Moskowitz. He’s given $62,000 to Cuomo, while 18 other members of the Success Academy board or their family members have given nearly $600,000 to the governor, according to state campaign records.

 

Gonzalez documents the showering of millions by hedge fund executives on other groups, such as New Yorkers for a Balanced Albany, Democrats for Education Reform, and Families for Excellent Schools. All of these names are ironic; the people who give to New Yorkers for a Balanced Albany don’t actually want “balance,” they want a corporate-friendly Legislature in which Republicans maintain control of the State Senate. Democrats for Education Reform includes many who are not Democrats, who have contempt for public schools and their teachers, and who are big supporters of charter schools and privatization. My favorite is “Families for Excellent Schools” because it implies that lots of poor and minority families joined together and raised $10 million overnight, when in fact the “families” are the families of billionaires who may never have set foot into a public school, except possibly when they were children, before they became Masters of the Universe on Wall Street.

 

Gonzalez concludes that all those millions invested in Cuomo’s campaign are paying off in his insistence on opening more charter schools.

 

 

 

 

Thomas Picketty, the French economist whose book “Capitalism in the 21st Century” was a huge bestseller last year, told MSNBC’s Krystal Ball that Republicans–most especially Jeb Bush–were decidedly on the wrong track in responding to inequality.

 

In a post on Salon.com, Picketty told the interviewer that:

 

“there’s a lot of hypocrisy” in the rhetoric of conservatives who condemn inequality while failing to support policies like an increased minimum wage and ramped-up infrastructure spending.

 

“You’re saying let’s tax the top and invest that money into education for all. [Jeb Bush] is a proponent of school choice, of giving schools vouchers so they can attend public school or private school, whatever they want. Is this a good solution in terms of dealing with what he calls the opportunity gap?” Ball asks Piketty.

 

“From what I can see, he doesn’t want to invest more resources into education. He just wants more competition… there’s limited evidence that this is working. And I think most of all what we need is to put more public resources in the education system. Again, if you look at the kind of school, high school, community college that middle social groups in America have access to, this has nothing to do with the very top schools and universities that some other groups have access to,” Piketty replies.

 

“[I]f we want to have more growth in the future and more equitable growth in the future, we need to put more resources in the education available to the bottom 50% or 80% of America. So it’s not enough just say it, as Jeb Bush seems to be saying, but you need to act on it, and for this you need to invest resources,” he says.

 

Asked about claims by Bush and other conservatives that a so-called “skills gap” is responsible for the growth in inequality, Piketty dings that narrative as simplistic.

 

“The minimum wage today is lower than it was 50 years ago, unions are very weak, so you need to increase the minimum wage in this country today. The views that $7 and hour is the most you can pay low-skilled worker in America today… I think is just wrong — it was more 50 years ago and there was no more unemployment 50 years ago than there is today. So I think we could increase the minimum wage,” Piketty says, adding that the U.S. should also invest in “high-productivity jobs that produce more than the minimum wage.”

 

Education is important, Piketty acknowledges, but education alone is not enough to ameliorate inequality.

 

“You need wage policy and you need education policy,” he says. “And in order to have adequate education policy, you also need a proper tax policy so that you have the proper public resources to invest in these public services. Also you need infrastructure. Many of the public infrastructure in this country are not at the level of what the very developed should have. You cannot say, like many of the Republicans are saying, we can keep cutting tax on these top income groups who have already benefitted a lot from growth and globalization over the past 30 years.”

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