San Diego – it was so nice to get back into photography topics for a moment, especially about such beautiful places as Yosemite. But once again. against my better judgement, I read the weekly, sometimes daily political male bovine excrement from our AFT guy even though I keep promising myself to just delete it from the mailbox to keep my blood pressure in some sort of survivable range. This time they want us to march on the local state senator to “send him a message” to extend tax increases and to add tax hikes on the wealthy. At least here they are targeting those making over $500K and only asking for 1% increase which I could probably support. Then they go on to talk about other taxes that need to be installled in the system.
The problem is simple math… I mean REALLY simple math. The measures proposed would decrease (using the Union’s own figures) the state deficit by about $10 billion. This is, of course, assuming there were no unintended consequences… like driving more businesses out of the state. Last year wee lost over 600 good sized businesses to Texas, Florida and other states where they do not see business success as something somehow evil. And with those businesses went the corporate jobs, the corporate taxes, the home ownership and property taxes, the sales taxes, the gas taxes, the othere state “fees,” etc. We are already considered to tie New York as being the most hostile to business states.
But let’s assume for a moment that the additional taxes would not drive away any more businesses and end up losing any more state tribute…uh… revenue. The math problem remains: we have a $25+ Billion deficit so these measures do not even address half of it. And, there was not a single proposal coming from this bastion of Marxist economics to cut ANYthing, nor even to prioritize the spending. And if suddenly we were only $15 Billion in the hole, how does that help education? How typical.
In a previous post on “Scorn for Teachers” (you can use the search field in the right hand column to find it) I said we needed to clean our own house if the educational system were to be even WORTH saving, much less saved. We have a top heavy system in which, at this college, over 99% of the budget (Yes, that is right, OVER 99%!) is for personnel. The remaining less than 1% is for EVERYTHING else that goes into providing an educational experience for the students. Meantime, new blood with new ideas and enthusiasm (which would be lower on the pay scale) is blocked from entree by a tenure system designed to protect the tired old dead wood from moving on or even having to perform well.
Don’t get me wrong. I think good teachers should be protected and utilized until they are ready to retire or drop dead behind the podium. It is not about the age, it is about the teaching skills. Meantime, those that are not good teachers should be fired the next day whether they have been teaching ten days or ten years or a lifetime. Education is simply too important. As a teacher, if I am not doing my job well then I need to be seeking another line of work rather than to continue to inflict my sorry rear on one more student.
So where does the educational community get the gall to ask for more money when we have so disastrously allocated what we have? Without systemic changes, more money simply goes to perpetuate and facilitate the broken system. And who suffers? Not the deadwood, but many of the adjuncts who, in direct contradiction to state rules, make up nearly 3/4 of the teaching force. Many of these adjunct professors are enthusiastic, young exciting new teachers who are savaged by the cuts while those entrenched in their positions are secure and could not be dynamited out. Until evaluations are based on objective measurements of merit and ability and not the good-old-boy network that will never be solved.
And the State has to get off of the equally Marxian ideal that higher education should be free. Our State students pay the lowest tuition fees in the country by a huge margin. That would be fine if the State had it or would prioritize education financially to match the rhetoric, but neither of those is true. We protect the prison guards but not the educators; we protect the Snail Darters and Delta Smelt but not the students, we prohibit drilling or any resource gathering and by protecting the dead wood also inhibit education gathering by our population. if the state prefers to spend its money on other things it should at least let the schools raise enough money to come closer to pulling their own weight or making up the difference between what the state has left over after protecting aliens and what it costs to run the schools. That way they could at least stay open. of course now with ridiculously low tuition and ridiculously low standings as schools go, one could argue that the students are getting what they are paying for. And when you give something away for free, you have told everyone what its worth.
But in the liberal mind, “leveling the playing field” is done by bringing down the top rather than raising the bottom, so they would rather see schools cut classes or even close down, than to for all them to raise tuition so that at least the enthusiastic and interested had a shot. My folks could not afford my tuition though my mom helped when she could. So I worked as a mechanic and truck driver, and it was damned hard to juggle all of that but i knew first hand the value of that education and worked hard there too. I earned my education and did not have it given to me and to be honest I think that is how it should be. if you want it bad enough then you will find a way; if not, if you are not willing to sacrifice to get it then, in my opinion, you do not deserve it because you probably also will not be willing to put in the effort it takes to succeed at whatever it was you were studying. I do not want class seats that should go to the serious dedicated students being warmed by the fannies of those using school as a financial aid revenue source or a baby sitter to keep them from the horrors of the real world.
Then, ss if the idiocy from the union were not enough for one day, we also just got a memo from the legal department reminding admin and faculty that we are mandated by “new federal regulations” to provide our services to any and all regardless of citizenship status. Most also need financial aid so they not only go for free they pay virtually nothing back into the system or the economy in the form of buying educational needs or paying even the taxes on them.
One of the things i do know a bit about is the Constitution. I studied it in Law School, chaired a group who for some time studied and delved deeply into it, Have copies of it at home, in my office and on my PDA. I can tell you categorically there is not one word or mention of a “Right” to education and there is sure as Hell no mention of a Right of foreign nationals to our educational system especially at the expense of citizens when competing for seats. That is just wrong. Here, you can sneak across the border and if you are here long enough to establish “residency” then you can go to our schools for in-state tuition. What?
So where does the anointed one get the cojones to stand up in Texas and sarcastically mouth the words that he is protecting the border and American jobs as never before (you need to listen to the speech not just read it). The words are right out of a conservative playbook but to hear it, to hear the inflections, tells you a very, very different story. Plus it was mostly an outright lie… but we should expect little else at this point…
Meantime local Border Patrol officers are so disgruntled they are increasingly going public with their orders to not detain aliens but to “TBS” (Turn (them) Back South) or let them go in order to change the statistics to look like the administrations “efforts” are succeeding. It is astonishing that anyone is fooled by this but the disciples of the Messiah seem to be completely entranced and are buying it all. And anyone who does not think that the immigration problem does not feed the economic problem is simply spending too much time at one of the new clinics smoking some newly legalized substance.
We have an incredibly huge problem, but we have let it go so far out of kilter that any workable remedy will have to be painful for many. But it can never be solved in the environment that lets us continue to overspend. Ask any addict what the odds are of slowly weaning yourself from the drug of choice and in the state and this country the drug of choice is money. Rather the “treatment” ought to be prioritized so that it is more painful for those feeding off the public trough that do not contribute to the betterment of the society than for those who are critical to it. When the government “shut down” was nearing there was talk of letting go all “non-essential” personnel. I want to know why we, the taxpayers, should EVER pay for a single non-essential government employee!
Now, of course, it is the other way around. It is as if those legislators were the incapable-of-thinking products of the very educational system they are now working hard to destroy. Who else would think you can spend your way out of a debt crisis or solve it by borrowing more money? Maybe that’s the answer… they are not TRYING to solve it. Maybe they are so angry at the failed system they are willing to tear it down completely and they are learning from their Lord, King Barrack I, that before you can transform a system in your own image you must first tear it down pretty completely. What other rationales make logical sense?