Headlining the Local Section of Yesterday's Observer-Dispatch was this AP story: "N. Y. Senate coalition vows to reject school aid cuts." A "new coalition" of upstate and suburban Democrat senators (including local Senator Valesky) are going to join Republican senators to refuse Gov. Paterson's proposed mid-year 4.5% cut in school aid. Assemblyman Townsend struck a similar note in last week's Utica Daily News.
Last week we also saw this school-related headline: Stacking cups toward world record.
Providing education, undoubtedly, is one of the more important functions of government. Parents want their children to be knowledgeable about the world around them, to be able to make sound decisions, to be able to cope with daily life, and to be able to earn a living. Society requires a citizenry that is sufficiently educated to lead and run its many institutions -- which maintain order, which supply everyday needs, and which maintain security. Education is so important that, for some, it is worth whatever price is placed upon it. . . . But is it worth the price that we are actually paying? And is what we are getting what we think we are paying for?
The cup-stacking story suggests NO on both counts. . . . as did the Pinwheels for Peace, "Pajamas, Pep Rallies and Posters", Yoga, volunteer celebration, and Kernan Kidz at Kollege stories of the recent past (among others). Schools are not the places of learning that they once were.
As noted last month ("Knowledge Is (Still) Power") teaching methodologies and objectives have been drastically changed, necessitating ever increasing levels of staff while producing lower returns.
Let's not forget the huge "stimulus" package by former Gov. Patacki for massive school construction all across the state that will put $300 million into Utica schools alone. Imagine the cost of this program as it is replicated all across the state.
The importance of "education" has been co-opted by special interests, including the Teachers Union, Construction Workers Union, publishers, contractors, and architects, to enrich some while advancing the political interests of others.
Midyear cuts to education can and should be made. We can do without a few cups to stack. In fact, Midyear is the BEST time to do it because school districts will not be able to ask for money from their local taxpayers for months. Needed cuts in staff and nonsense programs will have to be made. . . .and maybe the idea will sink in that one can accomplish more with less IF the right choices are made.
The education "sacred cow" has run roughshod over the taxpayers for years. It is time that it is gored.