Programming note

Needs a raise, not a voucher.

For the next, oh, couple of weeks anyway, I will be otherwise pleasantly occupied so not gleaning.

In the meantime, Nevada doesn’t want to know how its sketchy business registration laws are used to dodge taxes, launder money or secretly purchase influence with Trump, as I explained recently in a romp through a subject that Nevada polite society would rather not discuss. (If by chance you missed it, check it out. It’s on the Nevada Independent). Nutshell: No one in Nevada would make any money by fixing that, so it won’t get fixed.

There is money to be made, however, and political points to be won, by peddling distractions that focus attention on pseudo-priorities while all manner of more urgent problems are deliberately ignored. I explored the magic of distraction in a February post on our unhealthy obsession with education, and I’ll leave you with an excerpt from that because nothing has changed:

Nevada education “reformers,” particularly influential ones who have ties to or are products of Teach for America, push “choice” as a means of providing opportunity to everyone, not just the wealthy. It is one of their strongest arguments. It is a calculated strategy, a branding tactic, that echoes national school choice leaders’ frequent claim that “choice” is “the civil rights movement of our time.”

They are also very fond of saying every student can succeed, that “poverty is not an excuse.”

And those same advocates, both in Nevada and nationwide, along with their allies in government, are also adamant that there must be accountability.

I won’t reiterate Nevada’s socioeconomic realities – one fourth of workers making on average $10.86 an hour, etc. A lot of it is included in the piece I published on evictions the other day. Nor will I belabor the reality that the most common jobs of tomorrow will be like the most common jobs of today – low-paying, low-quality and precarious as hell. The point is this: The factor that most influences educational outcome is not education policy, but socioeconomic status. The ever-cheery TFA kids are right: Poverty is not an excuse for poor educational performance. It is a cause. The leading one, in fact. Sort of the 800-pound gorilla of causes. Want to debate whether public schools have failed? Fine. Go for it.  But there is no doubt that market economics have failed to provide working families with decent incomes.

So the question for education reformers is: Who do we hold accountable for that?

Meantime, if Nevada genuinely wants to start ameliorating the core issue responsible for poor educational performance, Nevada could, hmm, let’s see … raise the minimum wage, enact mandated sick pay, curb flex labor abuses, create affordable but well-paying, quality systems of child and elder care, expand public housing programs, expand public transportation programs, reform a justice system that hits the poor hardest, provide low-income people with financial service alternatives to predatory payday/title loan shops, and help Nevada families refinance student loans. For starters.


See ya toward the end of the month. Perhaps you can all impeach Trump by then?