Hillary wants to experiment with the lives of poor children?


Hillary Clinton spoke on a wide range of educational topics with Newsday editors on Long Island in April,  2016. The detailed, public transcript and video are posted HERE, in full.

Clinton claimed to support a Common Core and  National Standards in education. She supports “Public Charter Schools” and a litany of “good” things: good teachers, good schools, good Charters, good choice,  good testing,  good explanation (to parents) of “standardized testing.”  Never once did she define “good”, although she used the terms “good” or “great” at least eleven times during the eleven minute segment on education.

She did not speak to the dramatic structural inequity (nor the instability) of a Common Core or National Standards — without common,  national funding.

The most shocking aspect of her views on public education was her thought about improving education for “poor kids”, whom she had earlier acknowledged are now a majority in public schools.  The “poor” majority of children are described HERE as about 70% Hispanic, Black, Asian, Native American and Multiethnic.

Clinton herself describes poor children as coming to school with “all kinds of issues and problems”, her deficit view.

Then, almost as an aside, Clinton cites the “need” to “experiment” on “poor” kids:  She wants to experiment with “boarding schools for poor children.”  Segregate poor children in boarding schools, “if we can do it right”?..


Reality Check

There are about 50 million children in public schools in the United States, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, linked HERE.  Therefore, the 51%  poor majority in public schools totals about 25 million children.

If Clinton’s boarding school “experiment” on “poor children” is successful, then to accommodate all the poor children, she would need to build 25 thousand boarding schools, each accommodating 1,000 boarders, plus faculty and staff, and all with incredible, on-going safety and security issues.  Food and transportation costs for 25 million “poor” children would all also need to be considered.

For one point of comparison, Clinton would be building 5X as many “poor” boarding schools as there are Walmart stores in the U.S..

Boarding schools for all 25 million children (all poor) is clearly an unrealistic idea.

Alternatively, Clinton could cut costs, build fewer schools and then concoct a way to ration access for “poor” children.  Some would be admitted, some “poor” children would need to be screened out.


Meanwhile, Clinton’s  ‘experiment’ would distract focus and drain much needed resources from the existing public education system.  Most importantly, it also fails to deal with root causes of poor children, they would continue as before.

Why would anyone even be thinking about boarding schools for poor children?


Morality Check

The even greater contentiousness with Clinton’s idea to segregate “poor” children is its morality.

First of all, the concept of “experimenting” on “poor” children, even if it is voluntary, is contemptible.  How will results  of her experiment with their lives be determined?  The standardized testing results in use today have been shown to clearly identify socioeconomic status, no more (click HERE),  but we already know the children are “poor”.  If standardized tests are not legitimate, how else will she evaluate boarding schools?

Clinton may have given some clues about her motivation (and maybe her evaluation of results) in her comments about early results for “poor” kids in Pre-K in New York City.  “It’s not just the academic environment”.  She sounds informed so far, but then goes on to specify:

“It’s the social environment”. “It’s giving kids a chance to learn how to work in groups.  It’s giving, you know, kids who need it, maybe more structure.” 

Does Clinton really believe that all “poor” kids are in bad “social environments”?  (How to measure? Who determines?). Where is her data which tells her that “poor” kids don’t know how to work in groups and that they need more structure?  Her tone and intent seem patronizing at best.

Worse, Clinton’s boarding school socialization and structure idea sounds more like assimilation than education.  Shocking and scarily reminiscent of other U.S. ventures in segregating classes of “other” people. Native Americans were also thought to be in need of “education” to work differently in groups, and to be in need of structure.  Never forget the grossly inhumane segregation and the personal and cultural degradation of Native Americans in the attempt to assimilate them via boarding school “education”, as outlined HERE (page 6, and pages 8-10) and HERE (especially the subtitle “Transforming People…”).

Eerily, this earlier  boarding school idea for Natives was also preceded by an “experiment”.


Politicians versus Practitioners

It is impossible to continue silently enduring simplistic, even dangerous views of learning and teaching practice by non-­practitioners.

Politicians’ simplistic “solution pills” to “fix” education, instead continue generating more and more collateral damage:  academic damage, systemic damage, financial damage, social damage, personal damage, and more.

There are no capital programs, no curriculum programs, no materials or supplies, no teacher incentives or teacher punishments, no longer hours, no charter business plans, no boarding schools, no “common core” or “standardized” testing program, nor even school closings that start at the center of the learning process.  Instead they all focus on the periphery.

Learners, the children, are the center.


Learning is a complex, personal process. The learning process and its timeline for children varies infinitely, as does human experience.

Facilitating learning, or “teaching”, the wide range of learners and learning styles and learning paces which can be found in a typical Public School classroom, including “poor” children is an art, a “practice”:  an achievement of experienced professional experts.  It takes highly trained, highly competent people to work with people —  work with 30 people, every day, in one room, all day, day­-after-day.

Most politicians are not professional experts on education, nor even competent on education topics, yet they yearn to “experiment” and mandate pedagogy.

Whether we choose to acknowledge truth, or to adopt politicians’ simplistic view of children and teachers (people) as ‘widgets’ to experiment on, outlines the battle.


Complexity:  Widgets or people?

As one single example of one key complexity (there are many others), children in our Public School classrooms have massive rates of trauma, described by a U.S. Department of Justice report as an“epidemic” and by past Surgeon Generals as “national crisis.”


Childhood trauma includes childhood abuse, neglect and household dysfunction.  For a narrative view (“Peek Inside a Classroom”) click HERE, or click HERE.

The Center for Disease Control(CDC) says that childhood trauma is critical to understand.

One part to understand is that childhood trauma affects all classrooms, both “poor” children and rich children.

Childhood Trauma is an injury to a child.   It is not an issue of “bad” behavior.  It is not being “poor”.  It is not an “urban issue”.  It is not a “color issue”. It affects every city and every suburb.  The CDC’s own prodigious study was fielded in beautiful, suburban San Diego.

Further, neuroscience tells us that for those children in ‘fight or flight’ mode, defending against complex trauma it can be physiologically impossible to learn.  Physical brain architecture changes.

Public health research by the CDC/Kaiser Permanente illuminates shockingly high rates of childhood trauma.   Rates as high as English Language Learner (ELL) percentages and as high as those students with Individual Education Plans (IEP).  In some areas, the rate of childhood trauma is higher than the combination of IEPs and ELLs.  National totals of 35 million children, calculated HERE, are dramatically more than can be accommodated by individual ‘504 Plans,’ given current staffing in public schools.

Students with IEPs and ELLs are funded and accommodated. Childhood trauma is not.  Systemic ignorance or inaction is reality for tens of millions of children.  (Click HERE for more : “Failing Schools or Failing Paradigm?)

The net result:  trauma-­impacted children are blocked from equal access to an equal quality, public education.  That is morally wrong.  That is a blatant civil rights violation.

Just one example of complexity.

National political action would be correctly served by protecting the civil rights of trauma-impacted, children now being denied equal access.

Instead we have a national political candidate thinking about a boarding school experiment, with the lives of “poor” children.


“Poor” families and educators:   the time to speak out is now.

(The “Education” portion of the Newsday video runs from minute 40:40 to minute 51:15).

21 thoughts on “Hillary wants to experiment with the lives of poor children?”

  1. I would first like to thank you for posting the link to the actual source, while I have ever agreed with anyone ~ especially a politician~ on everything, I like to come to my own conclusion on issues when possible.
    As a current educator in a public school system and a passionate advocate for a free public education; I too have thought- not researched- residential facilities for education.
    Your commentary raised some valid issues as well as idealistic points. While I concur that no kids should be used to experiment on, I also concur that what’s happening right now is genocide. And that act is being perpetuated by the so called agents of reform and the families.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. My thought/fear is thus: just who is Clinton or any candidate listening to when it comes to formulating their education policy or views? It sounds to me like she has been swayed by the so-called reformers (corporate, charter, test centric) and not so much real educators.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Poor children do have different problems then children that live in comfortable upper middle class two-parent homes…. but how do we single out and how do we determine “poor children” is “poor” because your parents don’t make $150,000 a year….??? is poor something that means you don’t eat 3 meals a day or is poor not buying a$300 pocketbook and having $600 cell phones
    what is classifying poor? because there’s a lot of poor middle-class children whose parents work two jobs to make sure that their kids are not poor and but are poor in parental connection and parental time ..because their parents don’t want to be poor
    so they work …get up and leave at 5..6 am and don’t come home for 12. ..15 hours…
    So what is poor???? And do other school children who are not labeled as poor get treated the same way ??who judges what child should go to school year-round because they are poor ?
    what is poor I don’t believe it’s just lacking money.. and I don’t want my children to be judged as poor because some nights we eat pancakes for dinner

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Absolutely, and union leaders hoping for the scraps and assignment/appointments…or maybe that’ll be a TFA “tour of duty” type thing.


  4. After 300 years of forced ‘boarding schools’ on the native community… Do you thing this really is the way to go? It has not done any good in the past. Not do will it do good in the future. It tears the community apart. It better to instill family values. Keep them together. However, I highly doubt this is the objective goal. History has shown us that tearing families apart only weakens the community. Why would a woman who claims to be family oriented suggest such a thing?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Frankly, I cannot imagine anyone not being mortified by how detached Ms. Clinton is to reality! We have hundreds of thousands Indigenous people, still trying desperately to heal from boarding schools. We have the Clinton Welfare to Work, Privatized prisons…how many more ways can Clinton assault poor people here in the US and abroad???? Experiment???? Seriously, EXPERIMENT with boarding schools for poor kids???? How about we just start bringing back JOBS…so there are NO poor kids???? And while we are at it, get the LEAD out of the water…causing brain damage to our most vulnerable kids!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The problem is Clinton is a closet neo-con that only half-advocates for progressive-ish positions up to the point that it will keep her tight with the money. Warehousing the poor in school-to labor residential facilities is the Bill Gates wet-dream of tomorrow, and Wall St will line up investors to cover everything from uniforms, to institutional food services (soylent?), to urinal cakes, and the bonus is that residents will work to earn their own keep.


  6. I saw a lot of valid criticism, but I didn’t see any suggestions for solutions. We have a huge problem – and very complicated. Environment, both inside the home and in the neighborhoods, does play a roll – and by the way, an affluent environment can also affect how well a child learns to “work and play well with others.” I’m thinking specifically about the teen drunk driver who said he was not responsible fo4 his actions because of “affluenza.”
    Criticize all you want, but for God’s sake, suggest a solution, too!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jamie, great question!

      Please see my “Peek Inside a Classroom” series (same blog), as a start, especially “Jasmine” and “Failing Schools”. “Childhood Trauma vs. Public Education” is another, at same blog.

      Overall, there is no easy, quick solution. That was my point about unqualified politicians simplistic views.


  7. So Hillary wants to open up residential schools again??? In this day and age??? Have we not learned the outcomes of this???? Smh I hope this is a joke!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sadly, no joke, “Anonymous”.

      Yes, It is sad and shocking, but true. The link is in paragraph one of the blogpost. I had to read the transcript from Newsday 4 or 5 times myself to believe it. They are her words. Unsolicited words from a politician trained to speak guardedly. Her quote is below and in the LINK section labelled “Opt Out”. Scroll down the transcript to “Opt Out”.

      Then also check out minute 49:45 in the Video to see her speak the words and then pause to make big eyes…

      Hillary: “ I had to fight to get the Department of Education to let us go forward with that, to support charter schools that were public charter schools but wanted to try this. So I’m really evidence-based. I think there are some, we need to experiment even with, if we can do it right, with boarding schools for poor kids. There’s just a lot I’m excited about, if we actually get back to looking at what works.”


  8. Boarding schools in Australia are for rich kids, it’s an elitist space that today’s leaders of the corporate and political world were schooled. Our society accepts without much question this born to rule equation.
    The reality isn’t so rosey, bullied, abused, removed from home and family, boarding school students need to learn coping skills quickly, they leave these overrated factories of emotional impoverishment without the skills necessary to sustain relationships and are trapped in a juvenile combative mindset.
    Hilary’s dedication to embrace boarding schools for “poor kids” is at first mis guided but on reflection she is siding with a system that favors the current elite model while giving lip service to the public system

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Disturbing but spot-on article. How I long for those in power to listen to those of us actually working in schools to find out what we really need. On a side note, I disagree with the statement about students with IEPs and ELL needs being funded and accommodated. While they are to a degree, it is special education and ELL programs and related services that are often cut or minimalized in order to save funds in a district. Children with IEP are frequently forced to fit into available programs whether they are appropriate or not as opposed to having a district create the programs that are necessary. For years, possibly even decades now, IDEA has never been fully funded. Overall, children in America are not a priority unless they can generate profit for somebody at the top. Until our mindset shifts, we won’t have the funding necessary to support ALL children, with or without disabilities, trauma, poverty and so on. Grass roots organization can help to effect change but more people need to speak out in order to make a difference.


  10. Oh God this is a recipe for disaster look what her husband did to damage children in 1997 with his experiment. The choices he made back then are still damaging children today some are even paying for his mistake with their lives.


  11. COMPOUNDED FAILURE: It’s 1984 folks, you can watch the news, but you won’t get the news. NCLB from the very beginning was promoted by fake newscasts, literally propaganda paid by the Bush White House. Then, Senator Hillary Clinton had a CAP revolving-door aide by her side and CAP alums are running her current campaign, planning cradle-to-grave experiments.

    Testing caused a huge backlash which Hillary and Bernie are both ignoring. But now Hillary has designs on the teaching profession, from recruitment to certification to mentoring, she thinks federalization and privatization will somehow yield a race of super teachers who love Common Core and testing and are flocking to inner city schools.

    The boarding school idea is bending over backwards to avoid the problem of basic inequity and poor job prospects…by breaking up families??


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