Saturday, February 19, 2011

Politicians Love to Blame Education

Imagine if you will, the challenge of running IBM or GE or some similar blue chip organization and having to explain that you no longer have the funds to pay for employees that contribute their talents for the good of the business. That's what is happening in school districts across the US, as dedicated school superintendents are attempting to wrestle with huge deficits and the mandate to provide a 21st Century education....Good luck!

In the throes of the days of the Vietnam War, there was a popular aphorism that went like this: wouldn't it be great when schools get all the money they need, and the Air Force has to run a bake sale to buy a B-52 Bomber?

Unfortunately, history is replete with many examples how education is an afterthought when it comes to money. But, when the TIMMS and PIMS reports come due, political leaders like to say there is a crisis in education. Shall we ever forget Senator Al D'Amato barking that charge to teacher unions back in the late '80's complaining they are overpaid, incompetent, and hustling the public? The same thing is happening today.

A scandal in the mortgage industry creates a major economic recession/depression, and the schools of this country have inherited the fault of this debacle by being accused of incompetence, overpaid teachers and administrators, and closings. But, what of the bankers and legislators that created the debacle? They received more federal and state money to continue their rampage, and the legislators got re-elected to continue their incompetent decision making.

Where is the justice? Well, despite any educator advocating to children that the system works, the reality is, it does not. The funding has been reduced, property tax caps have been created, and thousands of talented, dedicated teachers, working for less than equitable pay are being laid off, as the scape goats. Programs and opportunities for children have been eliminated, and the funding mechanism that runs the public schools has imploded.

The purpose of this continuing blog is to air the obvious concerns that seem to be evident to me, a school superintendent. I would love to hear from others.