Posts Tagged ‘DREAM Act’

High and Low

Wednesday, December 27th, 2017
a desert high school with undocumented students

a desert high school with undocumented students

Since the last Take Care Schools post, the new tax legislation, signed into law by the president on December 23, 2017, is on the highest shelf of the “to-worry-about” list for every teacher, administrator, and parent with a child or children in public school – from pre-school to college.

Above all, lowering state, sales, and local tax deductions to $10,000 remained in the legislation. Since tax money is what state and local communities deploy to fund schools, this change in revenue in high or low tax states will lead to unfortunate choices for education, transportation, and public safety. In other words, according to the GOP, lower taxes per worker means more money in his/her paycheck, but if state and local budget choices must be made because of lower tax revenue, some of those jobs may disappear. Will that work? Let’s see.

Those well-to-do enough, and who prefer private school education, can deduct up to $10,000 from taxes to 529 college savings plans, which now can be used for K-12 private and parochial fees, and they can deduct donations made to school voucher projects organized by the state. All these loopholes help wealthy taxpayers, but not the public schools.

Also, separate legislation to change aspects of the latest Every Students Succeeds Act, sends $253 million in grants to expand charter schools with the Expanding Opportunities Through Quality Charter School Program. While it’s true that some charter schools have excellent models that support children who need a different approach to learning, only $52 million (just one-fifth!) of the funds are to reach 17 non-profit charter management organizations for replication and expansion of high quality programs. For example, Environmental Charter, Fortune School of Education, and Voices College-bound Language Academics in California, plus others across the country.

In addition, the Republicans on the House Committee on Education and the Workforce are rewriting the law that protected higher education students from for-profit predatory colleges’ loan repayments for useless degrees. Two Obama law regulations called assurance of “gainful employment” and “borrower defense” will be repealed and blocked from re-adoption. Other benefits for colleges and obstacles to for-profit colleges are being revised also. See “Education Bill Sweeps Away Obama Rules” by Erica L. Green, New York Times, December 13, 2017.

Consider the 365,000 high school students and the 241,000 college students of the 1.2 million eligible Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy (DACA)  who came into this country with their undocumented parents. The president has left it up to Congress to consider a bill by March 5, 2018, or up to 800,000 will be subject to deportation, including twenty thousand teachers. According to the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future, to replace the teachers will cost at a minimum $350 million to school districts and local taxpayers.

Recall that the Supreme Court of the United States, 35 years ago in Plyler v Doe said the State can’t deny free public education to any student residing in the country, citizen or undocumented. The DREAM Act (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act) of 2017, establishing the right to residency for children, by Durbin and Lindsey Graham – SB 1615/HR3440 – is supported by 86% of Americans, including ¾ of the most conservative GOP in a survey by ABC News/Washington Post on November 17, 2017.

Last and not least, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) has been given funds until mid-January, but it must be re-authorized to support the children at the lowest level of learning – early childhood education.

What can you do? Call and email your members of Congress – it’s helped before, so don’t let them get away with inaction. Reach for the high shelf and stoop to the lowest shelf to make DACA and CHIP happen. For the future ….


A good year!

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

It’s spring. Time to think about a good year! My thesis for a master’s degree is nearly finished. Yearly tests will take a week to complete. Then we begin the last fourth grade unit in science and social studies.  Students choose one more book. We complete one more math topic. Another year will be done.

I will have another degree so my salary will rise. Lucky me, I have no loans to repay, no tuition still unpaid. Most of my friends have been not only talking but wringing their hands about all money items. Even with a raise in pay for a master’s degree, my friends will be in debt for a long time. As one can guess, I’ve been reading the newspapers, education magazines, and on-line articles that come my way. University of California pieces share demonstrations against tuition increases, and items describe Congressional votes against funding of federal Pell Grants, which are relied on, remember, because the pitiful amount doesn’t have to be repaid.

No one talks anymore about funds for the DREAM Act which would have helped some people I know who are from illegal immigrant families, but have lived here for a long time. What is it against these people? Almost everyone has some defect: legal, physical, mental. Nowadays, we have to listen to TV news about the GOP candidate who assures all us women teachers that the U.S. Department of Education will be closed down. Don’t candidates realize that the main country-wide changes to improve education have occurred in the last three years because of guidelines from the federal government? The states or local districts haven’t been prodding for change, that’s for sure.

Usually, I read the news items about elementary schools, mainly about the advantages and disadvantages of Proposition 98. Recently, I read an article addressing organized games at recess.  Sounds good until you realize that the teacher is supervising the playground. There is no money to find a teacher to organize and supervise games in any but a few California schools.

Now I concentrate on the articles about money for my college friends.