Tuesday, March 08, 2005

How Much Is Enough?

Imagine having a debt that you could never pay off, that not only never went away but got larger every year regardless of the amount of money that you spent trying to pay it off. Imagine that the increases to the overall bill did not come from your purchases but because someone decided that you needed to pay more. Imagine having no recourse, no one that you can complain to, no court that will allow you to take action against those increasing your bill. This, my friends, is the state of education funding today: a vast sink hole that no matter how much money we dump into it, only gets deeper.

There comes a point where we taxpayers have to actually use our brains and not our emotions. We need to realize that asking if we are getting what we are paying for in education does not mean that we are anti-children or that we want the nation to produce nothing but brain dead mush heads. We have a right to have a full and honest disclosure of where the money is going and what any future funding is going to provide. We have a right to ask "when will enough be enough?"

A good place to start is to look at the teacher's unions. Face the fact that the unions are not primarily concerned about the education of the children; their main reason for existence to look out for the best interests of the teachers. That is what unions do. It is the same as the auto workers union, Teamsters union, government employee unions and construction unions. What gives the various teacher's unions such sway is that they know how to play to the emotions of parents by convincing them that tax increases are for the good of the children while the lion's share goes to the members of the teacher's unions.

Teachers are important people. In some cases, they spend more time with the kids then some parents. They are professionals doing a job for which they are paid fairly, especially considering that they work nine to ten months a year. That they work with our children is no reason to place teachers on a pedestal and not question their motives or the quality of their work. We need to remember that they are employees not demigods and that they should be held responsible for work efforts. And if cuts are needed to stay within a fiscally responsible budget, they should be expected to share in the cuts, including compensation.

The current system for funding public education does not provide any incentive for efficiency or improvement. The current system simply confiscates more money from taxpayers. When asked what we taxpayers are getting for the money, the only answer is to say "it is for the children".

What the children deserve is not the current overpriced, union controlled education system that best serves the objectives of teachers, administrators and politicians pandering for votes. For the money that we pay, our kids should be the best educated rugrats in the world, but they aren't. Until we wake up and realize the "it's for the children" really means "it's for the teacher's unions", this system will continue to crumble under it's own weight.

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