March 23, 2017
At the risk of being too simplistic, I can only wrap my brain around the new Federal Budget proposal in terms of the environment in which I spend my time. The proposal includes a massive boost to military and Homeland Security, while cutting huge percentages of domestic programs. If we drop that Federal Budget scenario down to a microcosm—say a public high school–here’s what it would look like: We’d have state of the art camera security and a strong police presence around the perimeter of the school in order to protect the students from harmful outsiders. There would also be a highly visible police presence within the campus, in order to vet each student to ensure that they fit the correct profile of students we want to educate within our walls. Drones would be enlisted to fly over the campus periodically to make sure all students adhered to appropriate conduct codes, and to ensure that no one on the outside attempts to scale the heavily fortified wall surrounding the compound. God forbid we should want to educate those who didn’t start their education here.
Inside the classroom however, the children share meager materials—
They’ll be sitting on the floors, because there aren’t enough desks.
They’ll be sharing texts, because there is no funding to ensure each child has a book.
More kids than we thought will have books today, though, since several students are home sick, not having the ability to access health care.
Several students are unable to focus on lessons, because they struggle with mental health issues for which there is no assistance—or their parents do.
Students break for lunch at noon. If they weren’t fortunate enough to bring their own lunches from home, they will be going without. They should have known better than to be born into a family without sufficient means to provide them lunch.
Don’t worry about afternoon music classes; there aren’t any. Those go by the wayside when funding for NEA becomes obsolete. Ditto for field trips to the local museums.
Programs to assist students who need additional help in acquiring English language skills, or students who are struggling and falling behind in reading and math? Good luck. Perhaps those students should try NOT having another language as their primary language, or perhaps they should just try not to have learning disabilities. Again, they should have had the foresight to be born into families with better resources.
Yes, unless born to privilege, in our little school the kids will lack resources. They’ll be hungry, and in need. Access to the most basic of needs will be limited; access to culture and art non-existent. Not to worry, though—no harm will come to them from the world outside the school house doors. Probably. On the inside, however, they’re on their own.