Thursday, August 28, 2014

Armond James Press Release - Congressman Fattah: An Educational Elitist?

For Immediate Release
August 21, 2014
For Contact: James Williams, Campaign Manager 215.868.2385
Congressman Fattah: An Educational Elitist?
GEAR UP may appear on the surface to be a step in the right direction; it is an example of the inherent elitism in Congressman Fattah’s policies.
Philadelphia, PA- Congressman Chaka Fattah is the architect of GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Program). GEAR Up is a federally funded program that is presented as a means to address the disparities in the educational system by increasing the number of low-income students who are prepared for college. Six-year grants are awarded to states and partnerships to provide services at middle and high schools serving low-income students. Funds are also provided for scholarships. However, while GEAR UP may appear on the surface to be a step in the right direction, it is an example of the inherent elitism in Congressman Fattah’s policies.
How is GEAR UP an example of elitism? First, the program is discretionary. Grants are awarded to schools and students at the discretion of Pennsylvania State GEAR UP. Bureaucrats under the direction of out-of-touch politicians are deciding who and who does not have access to the resources our communities need. One of the key components of elitist ideology is that the few at the top should dictate who has access to resources and opportunities. Opportunity is limited to those fortunate enough to fall under the good graces of bureaucrats. Second and most importantly, GEAR UP fails to address the widespread problem of disparity in our educational system. No one would argue against grants and scholarship opportunities for low-income students; however, for every student that receives a grant, there are thousands who are forced to remain in under-performing schools with few options for receiving a better education. The program fails to address the large-scale systemic problems that persist. There are currently only four schools in the School District of Philadelphia participating in GEAR UP. If we continue with the status-quo leadership and policies of Congressman Fattah, there will continue to be very few viable options.
As an educator, Armond James has witnessed firsthand the challenges students and parents face in the current educational system. His experience has given him direct insight which has allowed him to grasp a comprehensive plan that is currently in place in Arizona, to address these challenges.
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