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The optics of education, with Elijah Armstrong

Betsy DeVos and Paul Ryan were both greeted with protests last week when they visited educational institutions; DeVos at historically black Bethune-Cookman University, and Paul Ryan at Harlem Success Academy, a charter school in New York. Education organizer Elijah Armstrong explains what the two have to do with one another, and why, even when education policy isn’t at the top of our lists of things being affected by Trump, it is always there.

EA: To me, education is always there. Now, whether it is talked about in a way where folks can see the direct connections, that is different. But, it is very prevalent in all things. Even with the healthcare piece. Most of the folks that need healthcare also go to schools that are 95% or 100% Title I schools, in highly impoverished areas that are all kind of pushed together in one area so they are all completely underfunded. Those kids, their parents, their families are the ones that are suffering the most from also this healthcare piece. It is just like how now in the school system where they can do re-zoning and make sure all these schools are supplemented with enough resources for them to be sustainable, but they purposely make sure that these schools are highly concentrated with poverty and then those are the schools that are always subject to low test scores and the schools that need to be improved and things like that. But, if these kids don’t have the resources, you are literally stripping them of their resources that they need and then calling them failures and saying it is their fault. The same way that they are stripped and they don’t have the services that they need, it is the same thing that is happening with healthcare. The folks that are the most affected, those students go to those schools, they come from those areas.

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Interviews for Resistance is a syndicated series of interviews with organizers, agitators and troublemakers, available twice weekly as text and podcast. You can now subscribe on iTunes! Previous interviews here.

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