Tanzanian teachers learning education doesn’t pay

Like their colleagues in many other countries, public school teachers here lead huge classes for shrinking pay. Some warn they won’t put up with it much longer.

Children practice their English at Bunge Primary School in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Public schools throughout the country are crowded, and the average student/teacher ration is 48 to 1. (Jacob Kushner/GlobalPost)

ARUSHA, Tanzania — Five days a week, Caroline Benedict Kessy stands before a class of 77 third-grade students and struggles to devise a way to teach all of them how to read and write.

The other two days she spends at home baking wedding cakes to sell. Each cake earns her an average of 300,000 shillings (about $187 US). That’s equivalent to half her monthly teaching salary for just one day of baking.

She isn’t alone. Kessy, 46, is among the tens of thousands of public school teachers in Tanzania who face monumental class sizes for meager pay. Many work two or three jobs to supplement their income, and some quit education altogether.

“Someone was working here for three years and then she (gave) up to sell stationary and phones,” said Kessy. Now, “she’s making more money than we do.”

Read the full article as it appeared at GlobalPost.

Some students are more equal than others

The Sequester’s dirty upside.  

For all the hubbub last year about the sequester’s detrimental cuts to education and particularly financial aid, surprisingly little is being said as the schoolyear approaches. Perhaps that’s because what sounded like horrible news for America’s college-bound youth turns out to be good news for the majority of them, at least when it comes to getting admitted to college in the first place.

Upper-middle income parents (you know yourself as ‘middle class’) needn’t worry about the cuts: Your kid will still be admitted to, and enroll in, the college of her dreams, because you’ll likely find a way to afford it even without as much financial aid. In fact, cutting programs that help low-income students prepare for and apply to college is actually a helpful blow to your daughter’s competition.

Because in the case of sequestration, with its so-called ‘equal cuts’ across the board, some students are more equal than others.

Read the full story as it appeared at Medium.

Diversity shouldn’t be just for the privileged.

While we focus on diversifying America’s colleges, a New York high school student may never encounter a classmate of another race.

Today in America, two-fifths of whites but only one-fifth of blacks and about one-tenth of Hispanics hold a college degree. Eight percent of blacks and 15 percent of Hispanics don’t even graduate from high school, compared with 5 percent of whites. Three-quarters of those students admitted to America’s most selective colleges come from the richest quarter of the population; only 3 percent come from the bottom quarter. Meanwhile, Americans with a college degree earn 1.5 times the median income, more than those with just a high school diploma, and more than twice as much as those who dropped out of high school altogether.

Even more startling: These disparities are getting worse. After all the progress made toward racial equality since the time of slavery, through the civil rights era and Brown v. the Board of Education, through today, is America resigning itself to let its poorest, who are disproportionally black and Hispanic, live an existence that is no longer separate, but still unequal?

The oft-cited notion of America being an educational meritocracy, in which any student, rich or poor, black or white, has an equal opportunity to advance herself, is of course a myth. But now, the tools that have been created over the past half-century to slowly create a more egalitarian reality are failing.

Read the  story at Medium.