Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Commission on Skills of U.S. work force

Once again a new report of the The Commission on the Skills of the American Workforce.
Once again U.S. business leaders and elected officials decry the low level of education of U.S. students. ( This has consistently been debunked by Gerald Bracey).
Once again a plea that the business community needs a better prepared workforce- not a bad thing.
However, this is a business community and their political allies who have looted the U.S. with outrageous salaries, tax benefits, bonuses and subsidies. (See United for a Fair Economy) The Wall Street Journal reports a total of 23.9 Billion dollars given in bonuses this week. How many schools would that fund?
This is a business community which has looted the public treasury by insisting upon and getting massive tax breaks, thus taking funds away from schools.
So, the report argues U.S. schools are mediocre. Yes, and U.S. funding for schools is mediocre, and California funding for schools is below mediocre.
And, when school funding is mediocre, then funding for schools in poor peoples areas is below mediocre, and they lack well prepared teachers, adequate facilities, and reasonable class sizes. I bet not one of these business leaders and elected officials would spend more than one day living and working in conditions similar to that of the average U.S. school.

Or, as school reform scholar Theodore Sizer says, “The measure of the worth of any society is how it treats its most vulnerable citizens. By this standard, America- the richest nation in the history of the world- falls visibly short….
Inadequately funded or equipped schools, however efficient, rarely provide a thorough education..
In most states, access to public education is limited by one’s neighborhood. The effect is that wealthier families have access to schools with more robust funding than do their poorer neighbors. Segregation by class is the rule, not the exception. "
Sizer, Theodore, “Preamble: a reminder for Americans,” in Many Children Left Behind, Deborah Meier and George Wood, editors. 2004.

"Just a week after Morgan Stanley chief executive John J. Mack scored an unprecedented $41.1 million bonus, there is a new record on Wall Street. Securities firm Goldman Sachs disclosed that it paid Lloyd C. Blankfein, its chairman and chief executive since June, a bonus of $53.4 million in 2006, the highest ever for a Wall Street chief executive. The payout comes soon after Goldman reported a record profit of $9.5 billion in 2006. Its stock price is up almost 60 percent for the year. And on Wednesday, Thomson Financial published preliminary 2006 results showing that Goldman once again topped the list of mergers and acquisitions advisers, taking part in global deals with a total value of more than $1 trillion.

Goldman’s compensation committee awarded Mr. Blankfein $27.3 million in cash, $15.7 million in restricted stock and options to buy Goldman stock valued at $10.5 million. Added to his $600,000 salary, the bonus means that Mr. Blankfein will make $54 million this year, up from $38 million last year." NYT.

Duane Campbell
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