Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Inequality Agenda Contradiction

From The Wall Street Journal, Review and Outlook, "The Inequality Contradiction: Mayor de Blasio's schools chief is a competent steward of the failing status quo:"
The contradiction of the liberal inequality agenda is that it ignores the single biggest obstacle to upward economic mobility—the failure of inner-city public schools. Mr. de Blasio built his "tale of two cities" mayoral campaign, much as President Obama has built his economic agenda, around income redistribution. Raise taxes and spread the wealth.

But no amount of wealth shifting will raise the lifetime prospects of kids who can't read or can only do 8th-grade math before they drop out of school. The education reform agenda is about reducing income inequality the old-fashioned American way—upward mobility and economic opportunity. By accommodating the education status quo, Mr. de Blasio will make the income gap even larger.
Income and education levels go hand in hand. College educated and professional degree individuals earn more than high school drop-outs and high school graduates. Additionally, the college educated and beyond tend to marry similarly educated spouses and these dual high income households make up a large proportion of the upper income US households. Childhood education is the key to raising the income of low earning households.

The following chart from the Tax Foundation, I posted on December 5, 2013, shows the relationship between education level and household income.

Source: Tax Foundation

The unionized, inner-city public school system is a major cause of US inequality. The system punishes minorities by sentencing the majority of the children it educates to a lifetime of low wages, high unemployment and poverty.

Liberal mayors, such as Mayor de Blasio, will be the cause of future generations of poor low income families unless these inner-city mayors recognize that the current public school systems and the teachers' unions fail to educate low income students. Unless liberal and progressive mayors are willing to take on teachers' unions, teacher tenure, and lack of teacher accountability, the prospects for our inner-city young to escape inner-city poverty is dismal. The liberal unionized education agenda is the virus causing the disease of low income households. Infecting more children with the this liberal virus of unionized public education will never cure the disease of low wages and income inequality. Denying parents and children the choice of better performing charter schools is cruel, uncaring and inhumane.

A radical transformation of public education that includes relevant teacher performance metrics, accountability and the ability to quickly dismiss poorly performing teachers is necessary if the majority of inner-city children are ever to enjoy the opportunities that the US offers those that are educated. Charter schools are the necessary leverage, if not the cure, for unionized, under-performing inner-city public schools. The time to negotiate a solution with teachers' unions has long past.

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