OCTOBER 26, 2015
As public schools around the United States suffer through a perpetual financial crisis, the Obama administration commits a breathtaking $70 million to help educate girls in a terrorist nation known as Al Qaeda headquarters.
It’s part of the First Lady’s initiative (Let Girls Learn) to educate and empower an estimated 62 million girls in third-world countries who are not in school. A noble cause indeed, but it’s costing American taxpayers huge sums while kids—especially minorities—in this country struggle in schools that aren’t adequately funded, according to public education advocates. “We know that countries with more girls in secondary school tend to have lower maternal mortality rates, lower infant mortality rates, lower rates of HIV/AIDS, and better child nutrition,” according to the initiative’s website. “But too often, a girl who could change her world for the better is locked out of that future by the circumstances of her birth or the customs of her community.”
So it’s Uncle Sam to the rescue. The government of Pakistan, which is included in the State Department’s Country Reports on Terrorism, will get the $70 million to promote education among 200,000 girls and young women age 10-19. The announcement was initially made during a White House event this month with the wife and daughter of Pakistan’s Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif. The program will serve as a platform and catalyst for broader political and social commitment to strengthen girls’ education and empowerment in Pakistan, according to a government announcement. “Young women in Pakistan face barriers and lack of access to education opportunities from an early age due to poverty, cultural norms, and geographic isolation,” the announcement states.
The question remains; should American tax dollars go to this foreign education cause when public schools in this country have been hurting for years? Besides financial troubles, there’s an epidemic of low-performing schools and dismal graduation rates around the country, especially in the nation’s inner cities. They could probably use a few million to create programs that might help improve academic performance or perhaps empower needy students like the multi-million-dollar allocation is predicted to help empower girls in Pakistan.
The public school district in the Obamas’ own hometown of Chicago could use some extra cash. By Thanksgiving as many as 5,000 teachers could be laid off unless the 367,499-student district—Chicago Public Schools—gets a $500 million bailout from the state. A recent editorial in the area’s mainstream newspaper says that it “has been a disastrous time for Chicago Public Schools.” The piece is accompanied by an illustration of a yellow school bus with “Corruption & Politics in our Schools” plastered across the side.
Districts across the nation are in similar situations. In Detroit, Michigan the public school system has a $515 million debt and among the nation’s worst performing students. In Oakland, California only half of the district’s third graders read at grade level and only 34% of middle school students are proficient in math. These are just two examples of common scenarios across the country. In the White House’s own backyard, District of Columbia public schools, graduation rates have long been well below the national average. This could be why the first couple chose not to send their daughters to local public schools but rather an expensive private academy.
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