by Paul Goldman
While I respect those who believe the DPVA Chair should be a full-time salaried position, this would a huge change with great ripple effects in Democratic and state politics, one that shouldn’t be decided in the heat of the current campaign. Moreover, it is a side bar issue, just another way to pretend to be discussing important matters relative to the DPVA chair without having to address real issues indeed the reason there is even a race for Chair in my view.
If candidates don’t want to address the real issues, that’s fine. But a party is supposed to stand for issues: and there is no bigger issue, as the President says, than how to fix our failing schools, which if not corrected, will make us a second class world economic power in your lifetime.
Every independent measure says Virginia statistics on education are hiding, and knowingly so, the true state of learning among our young people, this not being my personal view, but read the studies, year after year, it isn’t just Virginia, it is a national scandal.
30% of high school graduates flunk the military entrance exam because they can’t read or do math at a roughly 9-10th grade level, even after the tests have been made easier. The 30% who go to college instead can’t do first year course work without remedial help!!
In my city of Richmond, the leading independent study called our K-12 system a “dropout factory”, yet Mayor Jones and City Educators cites statistics that suggest Richmond is graduating students at rates that far exceed the national average in certain categories. Yet when these kids try to get into college, the evidence that I have seen tells quite a different story.
I am to just pretend it doesn’t exist, stop discussing it, writing about it, just say because those in charge don’t seem to mind – Richmond’s poverty rate is DOUBLE that of Mississippi among African-Americans as I recently discussed in an article in a local weekly – and instead focus on whether the Democratic Party Chair should get a salary?
Surely at some point somebody or some group has to say: enough is enough already, we can’t keep feeding the same system new billions. The state has never even bothered to do a study on these for-profit schools, to check what they are doing.
But, you say: the state isn’t giving them any money. However, these schools need state certification to be eligible to receive all these billions in federal student loan dollars, 80-90% of their total revenue (25% which goes for marketing according to Senator Durbin).
Instead of working harder to fix our K-12 schools, we are perpetuating a myth, putting up billions so we can pretend that the students at these for-profit schools can do the work, even though the graduation and other statistics tell a different truth. This way, we can pretend the High Schools are working, heck these kids have a shot at the American dream, and Uncle Sugar is paying for it for that reason, why would we if it weren’t true?
So since we are willing to spend huge billions perpetuating this myth, and Wall Street has figured out that it is worth billions to the companies and more billions to stock traders, they keep fighting for the dollars.
And why not, if even the Democratic Party doesn’t care, and systems like Richmond, which is over 90% African-American, mostly from families with modest means, don’t care either?
If this is an issue that doesn’t bother folks that’s fine, the United Negro College Fund and others have had to overcome worse apathy over the years.
But pulling an educational hoax on a whole generation of poor kids, now that is substantive thing that real Democrats would have not been afraid to openly discuss in years past.
You could say: It’s an important issue Goldy, but not for a race for Party Chair.
My response: At least that would be an honest answer. I might disagree but I could understand the reasoning.