I have for the past half century either been a student or teacher in the fields of social/political/legal philosophy.  Thus, I have been obliged to get the facts straight as well as the theoretical issues in a host of domains.  Many of these are in the news these days as our right wingers attack fundamental Constitutional and international standards of human rights.  I am appalled again and again to find that our media are not reporting obvious corrective information in the face, say, of a Supreme Court decision attacking desegregation in education — Brown vs. Board of Education which we thought had settled the issue of unequal education based on racial and/or class and ethnic identity back in 1954.

Now what we find once again is that segregated communities are providing terribly unequal education to kids based on these race/ethnic/class distributions of residential availability.

One of the marvelous things that the U.S. did centuries now ago was to institute basic free public school education so that all citizens would be literate enough to read the Bible — a Protestant aim and necessity.
But time has passed and the U.S. now of all the developed nations is the only one that still funds public education largely out of local property taxes — other nations have equal standards of education established nationally and funded from income taxes.

The U.S. for its part has the widest discrepancies in allocation of funds per pupil even within major cities such at NYC.  Here a pupil in Riverdale in the Bronx gets a pretty good deal — because parents in this prosperous community may and do contribute private funds to supplement public allocations to their schools up on the hill.  Down in the valley in contrast where the poor folks live, one may find a school in which water has been running down the back stairs for the past three years because there are inadequate funds to pay for repairs.

Contrast the Bronx with Bronxville — ten minutes away by car or train.  Poor folks live in the Bronx and a majority of kids don’t make it out of high school.  In prosperous Bronxville the public schools are perhaps the finest in the state and put to shame the education provided even in some of NYC’s many private schools through which parents avoid the horrors of their neighborhood public schools at huge expense (commonly now as much as $20,000 a year in tuition).

So when our now right wing Supreme Court votes 5-4 against voluntary school desegregation it is telling the nation in slick hypocritical terms: “The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/06/28/AR2007062800896_pf.html

Quite cute on the part of Judge Roberts and widely quoted as though it were gospel by our media.  But the fact remains that half the kids consigned to live in the Bronx will not graduate from high school, will spend lives populating our jails or living on our streets, or killing themselves one way or another.  We are right back where we were before the civil rights era.

Is there a solution?  Obviously we should fund all of our schools out of federal tax revenues as do civilized nations.  To do this we need to tax the corporations and wealthy ones that are favored by our current oligarchy that has replaced American democracy.  And to learn such basic facts we must apply our laws first developed by Teddy Roosevelt against monopolies to our mass media from which voters derive — or do not find such basic information as the above.  Growl!

We are living far too embedded in the very the fascistic world against which we fought a major war in my childhood.  Out of Franco’s Spain came Buckley and with him the right wing tanks that spin our political tales to suit their greedy right wing interests and bank accounts.  And then there are the media types scared stiff that they might say something to offend the powers that hold their purse springs and hang them out to dry like Dan Rather.

Yuk!  I am an American pragmatist schooled in our finest traditions and one much disgusted with what I see portrayed as news and commentary on the tube now dumbing down our communities and those of us trying to live in them.

“A war is just if there is no alternative, and the resort to arms is legitimate if they represent your last hope.” (Livy cited by Machiavelli)

Ed Kent  212-665-8535 (voice mail only) [blind copies]
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