Thursday, February 03, 2005

Village mentality

I endured another multi-hour legislative hearing this week, during which a steady stream of bleeding hearts spoke about the need to repeal the constitutional provision that requires a sixty percent majority to pass a school levy in our state.

Young students were trotted in to give the "we are the future" speech; teachers' union representatives decried the "unfairness" of it all; school administrators sobbed about heart-wrenching layoffs and leaky roofs; and one absurd education professional stated with certainty that levy committees knew how to assess a local economy and would never ask for more than their local taxpayers could pony up comfortably. (Why fret? Our benevolent leaders know what we can afford.)

The cake-taker was a PTA member who said her "darkest moment" came sometime last year when she was rushing out the door to attend a levy campaign meeting. Her son stopped her and said, "Mom, I need help with my homework tonight." She was torn. The question, she said, came down to: Should I help this one child, or the 26,000 who will benefit if we can get more money for our schools?

"Sorry," she told her son, "you're going to have to figure it out yourself. And tell your dad there's a pot pie in the freezer."

Frankly, I was a little shocked to hear her say it (I know, I shouldn't be shocked anymore), as if "this one child" wasn't her own son who should be far more precious to her than any number of other children. Her village mentality -- along with the fallacy that money is more important to student achievement than loving parental involvement -- is a big part of the problem in our public schools today.

On a good note: A lone but quintessential citizen named Myrtle (whose elderly husband accompanied her and sat in the audience) took the microphone on behalf of the invisible man in the levy debate: the property owner who will be paying the bills. She also cited the fact that less than half of the dollars we currently spend for education [an average of $9,439 per pupil per year] make it to the classroom where instruction happens. Perhaps, she suggested, we should figure out where that money is going before we demand more.

Yes, perhaps.


At 3:07 PM, Blogger Josef said...

Okay, Marsha - this RARE time, I'm against ya until: You can make the case that taking away the supermajority DIRECTLY equals a tax increase.

More information and more light rather than heat from your side would be appreciated. Maybe the simple majority won't make that much of a difference, in the end.

SO this is my position: Because the pro-education forces are right on this one (being the rightful cry of tyranny of the minority), maybe we just need more "Freedom Voters" who will demand "accountability with money" (the last one's from Gov'r-ELECT Rossi). Then what will they do then??? Maybe listen to us when they lose because we have the majority, period. Or we also win school board elections and take the reins - which would be a whole darned lot smarter.

However, as always, I am open to you convincing me otherwise.

Josef of Josef's Public Journal

At 8:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Props to Josef for putting it right.
Choosing to tax one's self is small-d democratic. It's the kind of right people in Iraq have waited decades for. Those who won't uphold the ideal of democracy should move along to the nearest totalitarian plutocracy.
This bill lets voters have the final say whether to amend the state Constitution (as they did in 1944) should the bill get a 2/3 majority in both chambers. Then, it lets voters in each district decide if they want to increase the tax rate. And most levies have direct accountability every two years.
Only those who hate democracy would be opposed to letting the people decide if the Constitution should be amended for this.
What did thousands die in Iraq for? Democracy and future determined by their own free will? Or making sure they could complain about the tax rate.
You owe an apology to readers for framing your argument in such a dishonest manner.

At 6:55 AM, Blogger Josef said...

At 8:08 PM, Anonymous said...

I agree w/ just about everything you said - but the apology part, I don't. She is somewhat right - the invisible man, in waaaayyyy too many educrat boardrooms IS the taxpayer. I know from painful experience arguing against retreats at ritzy restaurants at a community college board of trustees.

I really can't wait for her to respond :-). More light, less heat please.

At 9:19 AM, Blogger Josef said...

Dearest Marsha;

I wish you all the best today on Republican Radio and I have added another post that I hope you can make the time to get back to me on HERE.

Again, best wishes;


At 6:59 PM, Blogger Josef said...

Marsha, I'm done blogging about this until you opine. HERE is my last post on it. I am rather. . . gracious.

At 8:02 PM, Blogger Josef said...

At 6:59 PM, Josef K said...

Nice Education Reformer today. I'm about to blog big-time in the morning about the levy situation. Hope you chime in, please.




Post a Comment

<< Home