Thursday, December 22, 2011

Kate's worries about the poor.

Kate: I just don’t understand how ‘improving the education system of the poor’ is different than 'giving money to the poor’ because you’re going to need money to improve the educational system. 
Kim: I think the difference relates to that saying, "Give a man a fish and he has food for the day. Teach him to fish and he has food for life."
Kate: Obama had a speech before he became president where he said, “When 2/3 of all new jobs require higher education or advanced training, knowledge is the most valuable skill you can sell.” I just want you to recognized that education is a commodity that is for sale. A person needs money to get the education. And a person needs an education to get out of poverty. So where does that money meant to improve education come from? The poors? They ain’t got money. 
Kim:  The average American works about 50% of the year to pay one tax or another. That is too much. But first, there is a question about whether money is key to improving education. In Washington, D.C. something like $24,600 is spent per student. And they have one of the worse educational systems in the US. Would more money make it better? I don't know. But if we really need more money I'd take it from one of many agencies that could be eliminated. 
Kate: Would you support or oppose a tax increase on wealthy people to support schools in an economically suppressed neighborhood (area where property values are low)? 
Kim: Though I wouldn't support any tax increase because I think we are taxed more than enough... and the wealthy do pay in many ways beyond "income tax," I'm not sure how taxed monies should be distributed. Maybe all schools in a city should get the same amount per student.

It is a tough one. If one city did that and the schools in the well-to-do neighborhoods went downhill, then parents would either move to another city, or send their kids to private schools.
Kate: Would you support or oppose a tax increase on wealthy people to support a school lunch program that feed students who’s parents make much less money?
Kim: Again, Uncle Sam taxes enough. If he taxes more, he'll just get bigger and there will be more waste. I like the school lunch program, esp. as in some places the meals are getting nutritious.
Kate: Would you support or oppose a tax increase on wealthy people to support a grant program that helps fund the education of people without a financial means to pay for college?
Kim: I think the best system is a loan program for all those who can't afford college. This way the least amount of money could put the most people through college. Since college increases life earnings, why not have the students give back (so other students can go to college as well)?
Kate: Did you read that article “If I were a poor black kid” that lots of people were up in arms about last week? The author of the article argues that if he were a poor black kid he would do everything he could to gain an education which would allow him to escape poverty. The backlash on that article was astounding ...  At least to me... My Facebook community had a whole lot to say about it.
Kim: As I read the article I kept thinking of Marie Antoinette saying, "let them eat cake." He is "out-of-touch" in many ways because the problems are so severe. Yet, there are places that are successfully educating the poor. I visited a school in Denver where students were learning trades. All the courses provided individualized instruction. Students could start any day of the year (except weekends and holidays, I guess). And they had babysitters for their kids. 90+% of the students succeeded. On the other hand, I saw many college students from North St. Louis who couldn't read at 4th grade level, who couldn't write a sentence, who didn't know that 1/2 is bigger than a 1/4. The problems are deep and it will take many generations to make progress.
Kate: I really don’t know if you are doing it on purpose or not, but your argument there sounds to me like that article that pissed so many people off so recently. If you didn’t know about that article before now, you should try to understand some of that backlash. If you did know about the article and wrote this with that understanding (to be controversial or what), just remember that you are what you pretend to be. 
Kim: I'm not trying to piss anyone off (though I know that happens... one of my first girlfriends unfriended me on FB). Morality is a scary proposition. Many things go quite well when people just try to make a buck. I had some great popcorn tofu tonight from our co-op grocery. I'm not sure the cook wanted to make the world better. Maybe he just wanted to pay his rent and buy a beer?

Did I answer all your questions?

3 comments:

Kate Freeman said...

But first, there is a question about whether money is key to improving education. – Mr. Kim

Of course it is. Money is needed for a quality education. Money is needed for teachers. Money is needed for access to technology. Money is needed to heat the buildings. Money is needed to pay people to clean the buildings. Money makes the education happen.

It is very true that education could improve without a new tax. I went to Riverview. I still live by the district. People knew for years the coffers were being fleeced. Kids staged walkouts. People picked in front of administrators’ homes. Finally, McCaskill’s state audit provided a means to put a few people in prison. I am well aware that more money is not always the best answer when where the money is going is also a key factor.

I don’t think I was coming at your Robin Hood scenario from a perspective of ‘a new tax’. I was coming at it from a perspective of ‘a redistribution of tax moneys’. Currently here, property tax is what funds schools. If you live in a neighborhood where the homes are valued at $300,000, the schools are going to have more funding than the schools located in neighborhoods where the homes are valued at $20,000. People pay more for their homes in order to ensure their children get better education in the good neighborhoods. Taking from the rich and giving to the poor in this case would mean more evenly distributing that property tax funding . . . Alternatively, the funding of schools could be based on something else entirely.

Maybe all schools in a city should get the same amount per student. --- Mr. Kim

Robin Hood! That is Robin Hood!

And don’t forget about the counties. City schools are not the only schools demonstrating huge inequality.

If one city did that and the schools in the well-to-do neighborhoods went downhill, then parents would either move to another city, or send their kids to private schools. --- Mr. Kim

This is what we already have. This is all I’ve ever known.

And this idea opens up whole other topics that I am not certain I want to get into. What is ‘going downhill’? What drives the perception of bad neighborhood and good neighborhood? How do these perceptions influence property value? How do these perceptions drive human migration? Why do we call this migration ‘white flight’ in this part of the country?

On the other hand, I saw many college students from North St. Louis who couldn't read at 4th grade level, who couldn't write a sentence, who didn't know that 1/2 is bigger than a 1/4. --- Mr. Kim

I heard Majora Carter speak recently about the issues her home of Bronx New York faced back in the 80s and 90s. I remember her saying something like, “Unless you live it, you don’t know what it does to a person to see your home on the news and or hear it talked about in terms of blight and poverty and to know that they are talking about you.” I get that. I completely get that.

I feel that the neglect of certain communities around me has been targeted and purposeful and completely devastating. And then people blame the victims for the conditions. They should just work harder or make better decisions.

I had some great popcorn tofu tonight from our co-op grocery. I'm not sure the cook wanted to make the world better. Maybe he just wanted to pay his rent and buy a beer?

Did you know that Baden just got their first grocery store in about 25 years? Little bitty co-op. It’s called “YOURS Market”. Number of write-ups about it in local papers. People said they opened it because they wanted to make the neighborhood a better place for everyone. . . though they also probably wanted to pay rent and drink beer.

To people around here. . . The new grocery store is an achievement for the whole community.

Anonymous said...

YOURS Market is definitely happening do to a desire to uplift the community. The operators are Muslims who do not drink (or sell) beer.
-Rachel

Anonymous said...

Kate gave you a good grilling, but Kim held hos own. H.