Thursday, November 29, 2012

The WPA & American Education

(A WPA art class, at the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore. Exact date unknown)

A recent Huffington Post article reports, "The United States places 17th (out of 40) in the developed world for education, according to a global report by the education firm Pearson."

During the New Deal era, the WPA built & repaired schools, hired unemployed teachers, and offered a multitude of educational and training classes to children and adults.

Like our infrastructure, our educational system is sagging. Meanwhile, we have about 5 million citizens who are described by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics as long-term unemployed. Some of these unemployed citizens could be hired as teachers in a public works program. Others could benefit from the free classes and training that such a public works program would provide. But we're not going to do this. Why?

(Photo by the WPA, provided courtesy of the University of Maryland College Park Archives)

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