My Old KY Home: Where Class Plays a Major Role in Student Advantage

The Education Trust, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit, according to a Jan. 9, 2020, article in the Courier-Journal (Louisville), found that here in my Old Kentucky Home black and other minority students are not getting their fair share of seats in gifted programs and advanced courses while in school, in a new national report. Shocking…

The study fingers as the main culprit being “tracking”: students being placed on an advanced path based off of gifted identification in elementary school typically continue on that track through to high school. 

There are multiple reasons why minority students or absent at the beginning of this road toward success, such as,

  • Gifted programs and advanced courses can rely on a teacher or counselor recommendation — often leaving room for bias in decisions. 
  • The screening process itself may also rely on a singular definition of giftedness that was not created with students of color in mind.
  • Students of color often attend schools with fewer resources or high-quality teachers. That can lead to fewer advanced courses, which schools often rely on more experienced educators to teach. 

But the last reason I found most resonant due to the fact that it is found here in Jefferson Co., KY, or the Louisville Area, where I reside, quoted from the C-J article :

Schools with higher rates of poverty or students of color — or both — often had fewer AP classes to begin with. And that means fewer seats for students. 

DuPont Manual, a top-rated magnet school, offers 31 AP classes to its predominantly white students. Ballard, a resides school in the East End, has 30 classes. 

Iroquois High School — which didn’t offer a single AP class 10 years ago — has seven AP courses. It is the smallest offering outside of Fairdale and Western, which offer Cambridge and early college classes, respectfully. 

Socioeconomic status, or SES, is, of course, a major factor in the tracking phenomenon. Along with the above observations minorities have more instances of single-mother households where the mother is the sole bread-winner. This leads to poor moms being at work instead of being at home counseling their children, unlike what happens in more affluent homes.

We are losing the class war in our schools. We must act now.

6 New STL Images!

Sorry that it’s a day late (capitalism is killing me), but here are 6 new propaganda images for spreading revolution wherever one sees fit.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/TUomKrYbsYCMEWC59

5 New STL Images!

Five new pics for propaganda use (a day late). Thanks!!!

https://photos.app.goo.gl/TUomKrYbsYCMEWC59

Cory Booker and The Danger of Reformism

Cory Booker is a US senator from New Jersey and a Democratic presidential candidate. On April 24, 2019, an op-ed piece penned by Sen. Booker was posted on The Guardian’s website as a part of their Broken Capitalism series. Booker’s piece is entitled, Workers are Creating Massive Wealth. Why are Corporations Hoarding it All?, followed by the subtitle, Our Economy Works Best When No One is Left on the Sidelines. Now let’s look inside.

Booker supplies a few anecdotes throughout the piece that are tragic and show the crushing effects of capitalism, like this one story of a woman named Carol Ruiz:

Every day Carol Ruiz wakes up at 3.30am and goes to an airline catering service at Newark airport, where she helps prepare the food carts that flight attendants push up and down the aisle…. At the end of her 40-hour week she takes home $345. The average airline CEO makes that amount in about 20 minutes.

 Last year, while Carol was undergoing treatment for cancer, her kids and husband went without health insurance so the family could afford her medical bills…

He then follows most of the stories with statements like these:

Workers are increasingly stuck in an “I win, you lose” economy, a zero-sum game in which those in power relentlessly pull out the rungs of the ladder behind them, ensuring that opportunity is limited solely to those who already have it.

Booker than goes over other aspects of the cruel capitalist system and how it hurts the working class in the form of corporations using intermediary contracted workers which keeps wages down, stock buy-backs by companies using Trump tax cut-gained funds to enrich stock owners, and the unfairness of non-compete agreements between employees and employers at low-wage jobs.

So here is Mr. Booker’s sort-of solutions:

There’s no silver bullet, but we can start by making it easier to join a union, giving workers the ability to fight corporate power with power of their own. Second, we must reinvigorate our tepid antitrust agencies, which have long-served corporate interests at the expense of workers. We should also restrict anticompetitive practices like non-compete agreements and “no-poach” clauses and maintain strong rules that hold parent companies more accountable for outsourced employees. And we should crack down on the proliferation of corporate stock buy-backs, or, at the very least ensure that if a corporation buys back stock to increase shareholder value, workers are cut in on the action.

Great, right?

What Booker and other liberals are guilty of is in taking half-measures and falling into the trap of reformism. They want to change society, as they call it, and spew enough fake promises to the masses in order to get enough votes to take office. They want to usurp any momentum by the people.

They want to maintain the current capitalist system while offering crumbs to the workers that often don’t end up even falling from the table. There are enough GOP members and right leaning Dems to halt any of these reforms before they are out of committee. These goals are merely “pony promises” in today’s system.

What we need is true, far leftist change. We need to smash capitalism and found a new system not based on greed and inequality. The point is to make real change, not reform. A radical left remake is the true answer to address these economic and social injustices.

NYT: Many Top Corps Paying 0% Taxes Driving Some to Far Left Organization

We want what the people want:

Mr. Robertson, the carpet cleaner, has his own idea: nationalizing the companies. “I think forcing them to pay higher alone is inefficient,” he said, “and taxation alone is inefficient.”

www.nytimes.com/2019/04/29/us/politics/democrats-taxes-2020.html

Links to “The Battle of Algiers”

If you have not seen Pontecorvo’s 1966 masterpiece, The Battle of Algiers, I both admonish you and, yet, envy you.

I admonish you in that you have not done enough research into revolutionary art to have found this film. Yet, I envy you because you have yet to get that first breath of excitement when viewing the film the first time you only have once.

TBA is an intentionally grainy, black and white film shot in documentary style with a revolutionary heart. It is directed by Gillo Pontecorvo dramatizing the Algerian urban guerilla fighters during the fight for independence against the French colonialists. It concerns the guerilla tactics used by the NLF (FLN) and French paratroopers sent to quash the violent uprising which lasted for those three years.

Independence would finally be won by the Algerians in 1962, but this film centers around three years of bombings, assassinations, and torture allowing the French forces to end the most violent phase of the fighting.

Below are two links you can use to view the film. Watch Now!:

https://youtu.be/f_N2wyq7fCE

https://www.kanopy.com/product/battle-algiers-0

What Will Spark Real Change?

We know that great, revolutionary social movements are sparked by extreme discontent surrounding a variety of maladies. Yet many also often surround a single, large disaster that pushes the people over the edge.

The Russian Revolution was tipped off by the exceeding losses that the Russians were suffering on the eastern front during the first World War. The French Revolution was inflamed by the high prices of bread in Paris due to monarchy mismanagement (This was even somewhat due to the investment Louis 16th made into our cause in the American War for Independence.

What am I getting at? The question I am proposing is if there are any calamities in the foreseeable future that may push capitalist countries over the edge?

Sure, we have growing inequality which has exploded ever since 1975 (the end of the post WWII period) that is only going to get worse and worse according to Thomas Piketty’s work Capital in the 21st Century (this link is to a free.pdf copy of the book; It’s a must read if you are concerned with issues of economic inequality). But will that be enough or does one single event have to occur to move the people toward real change?

A few ideas I have is maybe a skyrocketing of fuel prices due to some foolish military action in the Middle East that everyone perceives as folly. Or perhaps a constitutional crisis, such as a U.S. President refusing to leave office after a lost election, or after his/her two terms are up. Perhaps, as Piketty also predicts, there will be a cycle of recession/depression after recession/depression occurring now that the golden years of 1913 to 1975 are over. But that one would be more of a gradual change unless one economic downturn would reach the level of the one of Weimar Germany.

Anyhow, I am not sure.

I invite the readers of this piece to offer up, first, if you think my theory is valid, and then if there is any form of disastrous phenomenon you see as a catalyst for real, radical change in the future? I look forward to your comments.

After “Baby Bonds”: Next Steps Towards The Revolution

Democratic Sen., and Presidential candidate, Cory Booker is proposing a new “Baby Bond” program to help ease the state of inequality in America (read details below). If received well, and though not a true redistribution of wealth, us radical leftists should jump on the opportunity to push it even further.

www.nytimes.com/2019/04/06/us/politics/cory-booker-2020-baby-bonds.html

Proposed Tax On Million Dollar Living Spaces Serving As Second Home

“For properties valued between $5 million and $6 million, a 0.5 percent surcharge would be added on the value over $5 million. Fees and a higher surcharge would apply to homes that sold for more than $6 million, topping out at a $370,000 fee and a 4 percent surcharge for homes valued at more than $25 million.”

This would be huge in NYC where so many high end living spaces remain empty for they are just investments.

Would be great for a subway system revamp, and any leftover for remedying the housing crisis there.

www.nytimes.com/2019/03/11/nyregion/mta-subways-pied-a-terre-tax.html

Yes, Ms. Burns, Let’s Tax the Hell Out of the Rich!

The headline reads above an article from the leftist publication “In These Times”, published on February 8th, 2019, by Rebecca Burns, “Tax the Hell Out of the Rich, When They’re Alive and When They’re Dead.” Without saying, I was already on-board.

What the article outlines is a comparison of the three proposed ways that Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Sen. Bernie Sanders want to create a fairer tax system for the 99%. Here’s the rundown:

First Warren’s plan

…(A) 1 percent tax on the wealthiest 0.1 percent, or those with assets of over $20 million. Warren’s proposal would tax fewer people—those with more than $50 million in assets, an estimated 75,000 families—but she would bump up the rate to 2 percent. Households with more than $1 billion in assets would get a 3 percent rate.

Yet,

Where Warren’s proposal would probably be insufficient on its own is that it wouldn’t offer a particularly aggressive corrective to inequality over time. It would raise trillions for social programs, which is crucially important and would certainly have other beneficial political effects. But, as a result of the tax, the fabulously wealthy would be only slightly less fabulously so.

But right now, correcting the immense rate of economic inequality in American society is not going to fix itself with one tax plan. So, don’t get down, writer Rebecca Burns. That’s going to take something truly radical to happen (hint, hint).

Second, AOC’s plan as outlined in a “60 Minutes” interview,

“You look at our tax rates back in the ’60s and when you have a progressive tax rate system. Your tax rate, you know, let’s say, from zero to $75,000 may be ten percent or 15 percent, et cetera. But once you get to, like, the tippy tops—on your 10 millionth dollar—sometimes you see tax rates as high as 60 or 70 percent.”

But,

By even the most optimistic estimates, this would bring in only a quarter of the revenues Warren’s plan would generate.

So, once again, it will not cure the economic inequality in our society as Warren’s will neither. Yet, it is a starting point and one that may be more palatable to everyday-progressives.

And lastly, the Sander’s plan,

Bernie Sanders’ plan involves restoring top marginal tax rates on inheritances to where they were in the 1970s: 77 percent for estates over $1 billion.

The plan would also decrease the threshold for the inheritance tax from $11.18 million to $3.5 million and impose a 45 percent rate on this lower (but still very rich by any normal standard) tier. Even with this new threshold, just 0.2 percent of Americans would ever pay an estate tax. Thus, in the style of Occupy, the plan is called “For the 99.8 Percent Act.”

Yet,

Again, Sanders’ plan would probably raise less revenue than Warren’s: About $315 billion over a decade.

Then it continues,

But by taking aim at the ultra-rich as a class, it also singles out the kind of dynastic wealth that allows a few families to wreak havoc on our political system. Just three families with multi-generational wealth—the Waltons, the Kochs, and the Mars—have a combined fortune of $343 billion, more than 3.5 million times the median wealth of U.S. families. And they use that wealth to fund all manner of right-wing policies.

The Sanders plan makes the least revenue for the government and will not even come within seeing distance to the eradication of the exspanse of inequality in the United States. But it could be the most acceptable not only to progressives but even centrists if the argument is framed properly by Sanders.

What I am trying to do up above is, first and foremost, to educate everyone on the strides made by modern politicians (two of the three deeming themselves so-called “socialists”) towards income equality which would have been unimaginable 10 years ago. It’s almost amazing, when you really think about it.

Yet my main point comes out of the analysis of the Warren plan, namely, that her plan is the most effective regarding a shrinking of the income gap in this country, but it does not really even make a scratch. As Burns was writing above, “the fabulously wealthy would be only slightly less fabulously so.” That’s all. And this is the reason why we need real change in this nation. We need real radical leftists in power, not just democratic socialists, but real revolutionary thinkers. That is the only way to get any immediate help with the income gap in the U.S. and, later, around the world.

So, I am greatly impressed with the ITT article by Burns in that, first, it has a cool title and, secondly, she respects that even these so-called sweeping tax plans will not truly affect the disparity between the rich and the poor in this nation.

But it’s a start…now let us take advantage of it.