Education Policy Forum at JU Public Policy Institute

February 7, 2014

JU Public Policy Institute is continuing to engage and inform the community on major policy issues facing our region. This Tuesday, Feb. 11, the Institute is hosting Nikolai Vitti, Ed.d, Superintendent, Duval County Public Schools and Gary Chartrand, Chair, Florida State Board of Education.

Photo courtesy of Library of Congress

The direct harm that political ideology does to the educational process.

Had politics not been guided by segregationist theory and ideology, the schools would have been equitable.  They weren't.  As a result over a third of our kids were educated under the worst possible circumstances with the easily anticipated results.

Forced desegregative busing then took kids from schools that were barely up to modern standards and placed them in schools that, literally, were crumbling down around their ears.  Forty years of neglect and underfunding then had to be updated.

Rather than let their children be the guinea pigs of an experiment called 'how to repair a criminally neglected school building that doesn't have enough textbooks while trying to educate students', many more of Jacksonville's middle class families withdrew their kids from public schools and began a legacy of privately educating their children.

Additionally, Jacksonville's 'low tax' ideology from Ed Ball's Porkchop Gang Era had left the schools pitifully underfunded.  Even the allegedly 'great' schools from the 1960s were being forced to hold constant bake sales and candy fundraisers in order to cover the basic costs of education.

This was ok in a wealthy neighborhood, with tons of extra money for the community to spare for the local fundraisers (you know, a dollar at a time), but pretty bleak for kids that came from a poor or working class neighborhood that didn't have a few thousand dollars of expendable income. This left the schools in a poor position to repair more than half of the schools that were mostly unfunded during the Haydon Burns/Porkchop Gang era of racist segregation ideology.

Had the schools simply approached their jobs as a mission to educate kids, no matter where they were, and spent the appropriate money to do so, what would the result have been? Would we have spent as much money having to repair ruined structures, replacing old school books, and losing the cumulative effect of children from families with high motivation for education within the school system itself?

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