Wasting Education

It shows perspicacity-the ongoing attacks on children, teachers and, collectively, education, by national and state leaders alike. What is being made increasingly apparent by people around the world is that it is a waste of money and we should not lament the shrinking funds available to it because of budget problems.

Although none of the proposals is final since right now the federal government is operating on a two-week budget, the budget bill in the House of Representatives would, as structured the end of February, take 218,000 children from the rolls of Headstart. It would make cuts to elementary schools affecting 1 million students. Pell Grants for post-high school students would be cut by nearly $6 billion. None of these cuts includes what is being contemplated in assorted state houses where funds for education are being led to slaughter. In Colorado a Democratic governor has proposed cutting funding for education by $332 million. The Education Sector, a nonpartisan education policy think tank says 44 states and the District of Columbia anticipate a $125 billion shortfall for the fiscal year beginning July 2011. The good news is that figures on the world stage are demonstrating that education is not as important as it was once thought to be.

Laurent Koudou Gbabgo has been president of the Ivory Coast since 2000. He was defeated by Alassane Ouattara in an election that was held in 2010 but has refused to step down even though the international community has proclaimed Mr. Ouattara the winner. Mr. Ouattara is kept prisoner in the Gulf Hotel in Abidjan surrounded by Mr. Gbabgo’s forces. On March 3, 2011, thousands of unarmed women marched in the streets of Abidjan demanding that he step down as president. Mr. Gbagbo responded by sending out armored vehicles to greet the protestors. At least 8 unarmed women were killed. Mr. Gbabgo received his PhD in 1979 at Paris Diderot University in 1979. In 1980 he became Director of the Institute of History, Art, and African Archeology at the University of Abidjan.

Seif al-Islam el-Ghadafi is the son of Muammar el-Qaddafi and is loyal to his father who is in the midst of retaining control of Libya, a country he has ruled for more than 40 years. Muammar is a ruler who has only the best interests of his people at heart and will kill as many as necessary in order to be able to stay in power so he can continue to look out for their welfare. Commenting on reports of violent confrontations between his dad’s supporters and his dad’s enemies, Seif said: “There’s a big gap between reality and the media reports.” He said to ABC’s Christiane Amanpour, that reports that his dad was ordering helicopter gunships to fire on civilians were wrong. He told her: “Show me a single attack. Show me a single bomb. Show me a single casualty. The Libyan air force destroyed just the ammunition sites.” In earlier comments he said if his dad got booted there would be civil war and “rivers of blood.” Seif did his undergraduate work at Tripoli’s Al Fateh University and earned an MBA from IMADEC University in Vienna in 2000. In 2008 he received his PhD from the London School of Economics.

Bashar al-Assad has been the president of Syria since 2000 when his father who had ruled Syria since 1970, died. Syrians who were watching what was happening in countries around them began peaceful protests against Bashar’s government. Bashar had police beat and arrest the protestors, including two women. The 2010 Human Rights Watch report said the “poor human rights situation [in Syria] deteriorated further in 2009, as the authorities arrested political and human rights activists, censored websites, detained bloggers, and imposed travel bans. . . . Syria’s multiple security agencies continue to detain people without arrest warrants. . . . Syria’s repressive policies toward its Kurdish minority continue. Security agencies prevented political and cultural gatherings, and regularly detain and try Kurdish activists demanding increased political rights and recognition of Kurdish culture.”

Baashar attended medical school at the University of Damascus Faculty of Medicine, completed his ophthalmology residency training in Tishreen Military Hospital of Damascus and received subspecialty training in ophthalmology at the Western Eye Hospital in London.

Republicans are trying to cut expenses for the federal government. In addition to the savings outlined above, they propose to reduce funding for the IRS by $600 million. For every $1.00 the IRS spends chasing tax cheats it collects $10.00. If it used all the $600 million chasing tax cheats it would collect an additional $6 billion.

Between domestic politicians and African leaders it’s hard to argue against cutting funds for education. They demonstrate that an education is of little lasting value.

CHRISTOPHER BRAUCHLI is a lawyer in Boulder, Colorado. He can be reached at: brauchli.56@post.harvard.edu.




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