Sunday, April 5, 2009

Swimming in a Sea of Politics

Yesterday I swam a mile, I think. I lost count. It takes 64 lengths to reach a mile. I was swimming really hard and really fast but I lost count on account of my current count of the number of times I've been duped by countless, dirty, lowdown, no good, no count politicians.
It was a good thing to have that physical outlet. It put the latest insult to rest for the afternoon at least.
The spigot of money for schools has opened and is just as quickly being siphoned away by localities and for that I feel like, you know - duh - did you really think that anything would change?
It appears that all over a similar scenario is playing itself out.
Schools were asked to prepare budgets by their governing bodies which reflected huge cuts.
Said budgets were prepared, cutting out essential and non-essential personnel, supplies, transportation, summer school, etc. etc. All salaries were frozen (but not the health insurance premiums). Some teachers have even voluntarily taken pay cuts so that positions won't be lost. We're all in this together. Things are tough all over. Take one for the team. Play nice. Be fair.
Then the amounts for the local stimulus packages were announced.
Governing bodies returned to the schools to request more budget cuts beyond the first go-round, which in many cases, coincidentally - match the amount of funding about to be released.
Huh? Now who's playing fair?
Things were supposed to be different this time around.
This time we were going to put our money where our collective mouths are and make sure that kids don't pay for everybody else's mistakes.
Have you ever met a politician who didn't run on an education platform?
Have you ever met a politician willing to do the hard work and make sure that initiatives and the will of the people are funded, even if it means raising taxes?
Pfff! For those of us in Virginia who are old enough to remember, that's how we got our Lottery tickets. All the money would be for schools! Yeah! Who wouldn't want that?
All the money went in the General Fund and from every pet project but schools. AND - overwhelmingly it is the poor who buy those tickets and then send their kids to underfunded schools. Brilliant. Imagine buying a dream like that.
And now, stimulus money = general fund. Let the shell games begin!
I feel another 64 lengths coming on.

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