There are trillions from the Feds for corporate oligarchs, but what about the kiddies right here in Washington state?
Gov. Christine Gregoire’s office is considering vast cuts in state spending that Democratic leaders once would have considered unthinkable, including more than $1 billion in funding for public schools.
“If we were to cut every single dime that we give to higher education — all the money to the community colleges, all the money to the universities, everything we spend on financial aid — we still have a $2 billion problem,” said state Sen. Craig Pridemore, D-Vancouver, vice-chairman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee.
“The kinds of things we’ll talk about cutting are going to shock a lot of people,” he said.
Um, yes, we will be shocked.
Just to be flippant and hysterical, we didn’t freaking vote for a Democratic President, a Democratic Congress, a Democratic Legislature and a Democratic governor to watch the K-12 and higher education system get demolished. Good lord. To be clear, I realize Pridemore is simply trying to offer perspective here, but Crikey!
It is true that things are quite serious, and that multiple constituent groups will be trying to avoid the meat axe. That’s politics, and it’s not clear at this point what relief will be coming from the federal government. So it looks to be a wild and woolly session.
Everything else being equal, a quality education system is the foundation of a healthy economy and a civilized society. Conservatives often don’t want to understand this and start prattling on about “waste,” of which there is undoubtedly some, but in the end quality teachers on the front line is the key ingredient that makes for success. And quality teachers have to be paid a salary that is higher than “you’re kidding, right?”
Interestingly, tax increases are in fact contraindicated by the economic situation, not to mention a campaign pledge made by Governor Chris Gregoire, so the broad possibilities seem to be federal assistance or a dramatic dismantling of the K-12 and higher education systems.
Not sure what exactly the latter would mean; most likely much larger classes, severe cutbacks in things like extra-curricular and transportation, and far fewer FTE’s for colleges and universities. Not a way to grow the economy. Plus when you start messing with people’s kids they can get a wee bit crabby.
For instance, if the Legislature axes a bunch of K-12 funding, I think we all know what they can do with their WASL test.