Saturday, June 27, 2009

Boisterous education rally briefly shuts state House doors

Boisterous education rally briefly shuts state House doors

Click above and check out what happened in Phoenix today! I wish I could have been there...

Now if only we could keep the equalization tax and get rid of the sales tax increase, I think that would be real progress. There are a lot of bad compromises in this budget, but I am relieved to see "only" a 5% cut to education vs. the worst-case scenario 18% we heard about earlier this year. Right now I am not sure if that 5% is k-12 or K-university.

To all the Republican legislators out there who are using the budget crisis as an opportunity to continue to chip away at the entire public education system: Public Education definitely needs reform, but what alternative is there ready and waiting in the wings, people? Even vouchers, charters, etc. are publicly funded. Hello! Look at the corporate-sponsored charter schools. Sure, some are excellent, but the vast majority are mediocre, a factory approach from the school end, and a product chosen by consumers looking for a way to "get credits" for graduation. In the public schools in which I have taught, the vast majority of the teachers and administrators I have known have worked to get much more out of their students, and to provide more for them. I just don't see a business model working well in an area that requires mostly altruism, idealism, hard work in good faith, and the belief in the democratizing power of education.

We need to work toward a long-term, stable commitment to funding a successful public education system in Arizona, including the charter school system. And the funding needs to come not just from sales taxes, which are fickle, and which burden the already-stressed working class. Businesses need to shoulder more of the tax burden, and the state equalization property tax wouldn't hurt, either.

One more comment: The idea that teachers and those in education "feed from the trough" of state funding is f-ing sickening. So do the legislators! So does the Governor! So do Highway Patrol officers! So do Child Care Protective Services workers. Why do legislators beat up on school teachers and not land developers, payday loan sharks, etc., etc.? That is a load of crap. Forgive my little trip to the gutter of the English language. It will get worse if I go on, so I will stop now.

Just my two-cents based on the information I have.

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