Editorials

Steinfels, Margaret O'Brien

The class of the year 2000 Next September the high school graduating class of the year 2000 will enter first grade. These 3.5 million six-year-olds will be the first workers, the first...

...that the U.S...
...According to the National Committee for Full Employment, this January 13.3 million Americans were unemployed or underemployed, making for a real rate of 11 percent, far from the rosy Reagan jobless figure of 5.6 percent...
...Over 500,000 (14.4 percent) of these beginning first graders live in families headed by their mothers...
...Diaz's confession sparked major civil protest and inspired a group of young businessmen to form the National Civil Crusade, a coalition of two hundred organizations including the Catholic church, working for Noriega's ouster...
...Noriega's leave-taking makes room for the next dictator, attracted to the billion-dollar drug and armament trade, capable of rule by force, and tutored in exploiting U.S...
...had substantial evidence that Noriega was a double agent-on the payroll of both the U.S...
...The crude measures by which we judge schools and teachers-test scores and national comparisons-have been inching up over the last few years in schools that already do relatively well...
...A lower student-teacher ratio, especially in the early years, means hiring more teachers...
...One-half have mothers in the workforce, but only a fraction have quality day care...
...Panama is a base for 10,000 U.S...
...If these children are homeless, they may not start school at all in September...
...The Children's Defense Fund reports the following: One-quarter, some 800,000 of them, are poor...
...Now some of their political and educational clout needs to be exercised on behalf of their students...
...Being poor doesn't mean these children won't do well in school...
...suffered a net loss of 1.7 million manufacturing jobs...
...Ambassador expressed interest in a full investigation of Diaz's charges...
...Close down Panama's eighty-mile oil pipeline and Alaskan oil cannot flow to ships bound for refineries in the Gulf...
...They will need skills and knowledge to contend with their own problems-problems sure to be different from many we now imagine...
...Diaz's confession also set off a volley of diplomatic shots between the U.S...
...Nine out often new jobs have been in the service rather than in the manufacturing sector...
...and Cuba, aiding both the contras and the Sandinistas-as well as a major cocaine trafficker...
...Yet the U.S...
...While it need not be totally reinvented, to roll it needs to be reinflated from the ground up.be reinflated from the ground up...
...In a word," she concluded, "these children need everything...
...Is that what the State Department has in mind...
...It explains why the U. S. has promoted whatever promised to maintain" stability"-for stability keeps the canal, banks, pipeline, and bases open-while missing so many opportunities to encourage Panamanian civilian groups that might have restored democracy by now...
...They come to school angry, toed, and confused...
...Cut off access to the Panama Canal and world shipping suffers...
...General Omar Torrijos overthrew the thrice-elected president, Amulfo Arias Madrid, and established a military dictatorship, but continued to train and aid the military...
...Children are shifted back and forth between mothers, grandmothers, aunts, and, when all else fails, to foster homes...
...being black, Hispanic, or native American...
...A recent report from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching shows that even these modest signs of improvement are missing from large urban schools...
...that the U.S...
...With these come prostitution, violence, jail, chaos...
...Even if Noriega steps down and out of Panama, then what...
...Such an upgrading must start with schooling, and in some cases, reschooling...
...They come to school with bruises and burn marks...
...We know about some of the schools they will attend...
...that in 1967 the U.S...
...But solving the problems bequeathed to them by us is not the only reason they'll be going to school...
...They will be among those responsible for paying off the U.S...
...There has been a shift in policy for the better...
...But that means insisting on a Panamanian military controlled by a duly elected civilian president...
...PANAMANIA Panama, population 2 million, is a country of tremendous strategic importance, particularly to the United States...
...Only if the citizens of Panama are able to uproot the military dictatorship itself can representative government, and the true stability essential to U.S...
...deficit, struggling to control ozone depletion, working to limit arms and nuclear proliferation, contending with the fluctuating cycles of a world economy...
...We could also put more money into preschool education...
...Certainly, U.S...
...More money, more autonomy, stronger social supports would probably not attract the "best and the brightest" now going into junk bond sales, but they would attract, and help keep, many more young, bright people to teaching...
...The children see and are subject to physical and sexual abuse...
...then suspended aid to Panama...
...Employment opportunities in the U.S...
...not only failed to protest when Brig...
...Might...
...Heady responsibilities for six-year-olds...
...labor and managerial forces must be radically upgraded, in both the service and manufacturing sectors...
...We know of such a school in East Harlem, and because statistics, as striking as they axe, do not always convey the sense of individuals, we asked a teacher in this school what she thought her children needed...
...Many of her children live in the midst of brutality at home and on the streets...
...What they learn-and don't learn-will shape or misshape their lives as parents, spouses, neighbors, citizens, workers, public officials...
...have undergone a drastic structural realignment in the last twenty years...
...Former chief of staff of the PDF, Col...
...A University of Chicago study of 450 public high schools in metropolitan Los Angeles gives a closer look at one such urban set of schools: "The gap between test performances at schools where most students are from minority groups and those where most students are white has grown significantly in the last six years...
...officials that Noriega was dealing in cocaine, was discovered...
...William Julius Wilson, in The Truly Disadvantaged (Chicago, 1987), writes of a cross-generational deprivation so unrelenting and so pervasive that better schools and dedicated teachers may not be enough...
...Rather than improvements, the Carnegie report describes "stifling bureaucracies, unmotivated students, and crumbling buildings...
...in 1956) virtually founded the national military that became the Panamanian Defense Forces (PDF...
...Strategic importance explains, at least in part, why the U. S. has, over the last two decades, preferred to look the other way while democratic government in Panama was undermined by an increasingly violent and corrupt military...
...toward hiring full-time temporary workers...
...bishops stated in Economic Justice for All, the first priority in creating a just society is to provide employment opportunities and just wages for all adults who are able to work...
...Many businesses prefer such workers because they cost less, do not have to be paid added benefits (often shifting the cost of health care and pensions to the public sector), are easily dismissed, and have the added effect of tempering the demands of regular workers...
...So far, long-term U.S...
...that in ratifying the Panama Canal Treaty in 1977, the U.S...
...has changed its approach to Panama's dictator, pressuring Noriega to step down...
...Senate demanded only that free speech and opposition parties be restored, while tolerating the military dictatorship itself...
...The decline in the birth rate and school-aged children has not meant reallocation of teachers and money to schools that need more, but cutbacks in budgets...
...froze all of its Panamanian assets and applied the economic pressures still in force...
...But while more and more Americans are putting their shoulder to the wheel, the wheel itself is out of alignment and becoming misshapen...
...About one-seventh, or 500,000 of these 3.5 million children, are at risk of dropping out of school before they reach the twelfth grade...
...Schools must struggle, then, not only with the effects of discrimination on the students and their families, but with "all the other difficulties that come from poverty, particularly in communities where poverty is everywhere and few families have personal success and resources or real hope for obtaining them...
...and Panama: the U.S...
...First, the children...
...Roberto Diaz Herrera, testified publicly to the government corruption most Panamanians suspected, including the charge that Noriega had ordered the death of Spadafora...
...Another perspective If more money and better teachers are me easy answers, they are not, for some children, the most relevant answers...
...or growing up in a single-parent family increase the chances of school failure...
...Whatever the challenges of the next century, they will not be less complex than our own...
...Second, nearly 28 percent of all new jobs are part-time...
...policy goals seem shortsighted, as though Noriega himself-not the entrenched drug business, the military establishment, the shattered economy, and the pervasive corruption-is the problem...
...These facts raise many questions...
...strategic interests...
...Hugo Spadafora, who had told U.S...
...Schools and classrooms need renovation...
...Children have an enormous potential for learning all of that-potential that schools and teachers foster...
...the PDF responded by allowing hooligans to attack the U.S...
...But they come to school because it is the one place in their lives where these is order and calm...
...But about others, even now, we know better...
...And some will certainly learn...
...No wonder, then, the wheel seems damaged and out of alignment...
...They have been effective organizers on their own behalf as Maurice Berube points out in his analysis of the teachers' unions (p...
...In 1986 alone, nearly 18 million U.S...
...Fourth, in what economists call the pauperization of work, 73 percent of the new jobs produced in the service sector from 1979 to 1987 were in its lowest-paying categories, such as retail trade...
...resolve to buttress Panama's struggle toward democracy is difficult to determine...
...The challenges of political and economic life, the capacity to respond to an increasingly interdependent world will need their skills at negotiation and discussion, their imaginative efforts to work through claims and counter-claims to limited resources.So it is not only the basics-reading, writing, calculating-that they must learn, and not just the useful-programming, debating, arbitrating-but also the intangibles-a sense of fair play, of honesty, of affection for their peers and teachers...
...will be any more competitive in services than we are currently in manufacturing...
...Drug and alcohol abuse are common...
...Finally, teachers have to be held accountable for their classroom performances...
...did nothing to show disapproval, until recent efforts culminated this February in indictments in Miami against Noriega...
...should exert influence and pressure to assist Panamanian democrats and refuse to settle merely for the ouster of Noriega...
...wants to "maintain the integrity of the professional institution" of the Panama Defense Forces, the spokesman said...
...Finally, there is a growing trend in the U.S...
...the U.S...
...intelligence operations in Latin America...
...NOT QUITE ON A ROLL Across the country, hiring signs have replaced firing lines...
...What happened...
...real accountability, when it is finally demanded, is lost in a maze of accusations, defenses, reforms, and counter-reforms, in everything but real teaching and real learning...
...These 3.5 million six-year-olds will be the first workers, the first college-goers, the first new voters of the twenty-first century...
...workers were employed less than half the year and had annual incomes of less than $10,000...
...207...
...There is indisputable evidence that Head Start makes children smarter, keeps them from dropping out of school, and increases the chances that they will graduate from high school and go to college...
...today, argues Michael Harrington (Dissent, Winter 1988), U.S...
...Perhaps more than any other area of national life, education suffers from a depletion of human and material resources...
...policymakers should focus on efforts to support the institutions and political parties essential to democracy...
...Southern Command troops and U.S...
...Panama is an international financial center, whose secrecy laws attract a variety of covert activities and have turned Panama into the money-laundering hub of the Latin American drug trade...
...Third, there is a new and diverse "hard core of non-working Americans," people who have simply given up looking for jobs...
...embassy...
...Too often, teachers and principals are dictated to by far-off bureaucracies and policymakers...
...Men beat women, adults beat children, and children hurt each other...
...Consider: that the U.S...
...As demonstrations and strikes continued, the U.S...
...it seems to be the one place where they are greeted with affection...
...Why didn't the State Department press for the removal of, at least, Noriega's most notorious henchmen...
...Twenty-five or thirty students to a teacher, when many students start out behind in reading, math, and basic classroom decorum, can only end in frustration and truancy among students as well as teachers...
...To accomplish this in the U.S...
...Between 1979 and 1985 the U.S...
...For some children, schools can do almost nothing, if there is not a whole-hearted commitment from the rest of us to intervene in and heal their families and communities...
...The education these children will receive, largely in public schools, is our investment in their life's work...
...But being poor...
...While those jobs have been replaced in some measure by new ones in the service area, there is no long-term guarantee that the U.S...
...many certainly will...
...Our best college graduates are not themselves becoming teachers...
...According to David Dembo of the Council on International and Public Affairs, weekly earnings in the retail trade are only 43 percent of earnings in the manufacturing sector...
...But the seriousness of U.S...
...raised scarcely a protest in 1985, when the tortured and beheaded body of Dr...
...We did not suggest the removal of other officers," a State Department spokesman recently said about terms for Noriega's departure...
...As the U.S...
...Many of these workers were "involuntary part-timers," people who wanted but could not find full-time work...
...We know about the conditions in which many of these children are growing up...
...The pat answers to these particular problems are more money and better teachers, and in this case, the pat answers are among the right answers...
...Among these are approximately 295,000 children born to teen-aged mothers, who probably did not finish high school and have limited resources for raising and supporting their children...
...Last year, 84 percent of New York Telephone's 90,000 job applicants failed its basic math and English tests...
...Ten million new jobs have been added to the economy in the last six years-700,000 since January 1 alone-and the February unemployment rate dipped to 5.6 percent, the lowest figure for the Reagan tenure...
...Take a close look...
...Second, there are the schools...
...interests, be restored...
...The U.S...
...Because the U.S...
...Since last June, the U.S...

Vol. 115 • April 1988 • No. 7


 
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