January 31, 2011

Reigning in the Rhetoric

With Governor Cuomo slated to present his executive budget on Tuesday, virtually everyone agrees that it's not going to be pretty. A $10 billion budget deficit will do that. The public sector unions have been ramping up their rhetoric, attempting to discredit the intentions of the man they all supported just a couple short months ago.

The teacher's union, NYSUT, has been leading the charge. With Cuomo openly discussing the implementation of a property tax cap and the layoff of thousands of state workers, the union is not going to sit idly and allow its gravy train to come to a halt without a fight.

Take, for instance, this quote from yesterday's Buffalo News by Timothy Kremer, executive director of the New York State School Boards Association: "School districts already are talking about ending full-day kindergarten classes, shutting down programs like music education and scrubbing all extracurricular offerings". Kremer goes on to say, "I’m seeing a sense of inevitability of a very dramatic cut in public education and a tax cap".

Now, we've talked about the fact that New York State spends more per pupil per student, $17,000, than every other state in the union. Still, the state continuously ranks outside of the top 10 in terms of performance. Throwing more money at education is absolutely not the answer.

Nonetheless, we have people like Kremer spreading their warped propaganda to the media. He talks about the spending cap killing kindergarten, music and sports programs. A property tax cap will devastate the children, according to Kremer. When does it stop? What will it take for people like Kremer to understand that we as taxpayers cannot continue to subsidize the most lavish public sector benefits packages on the planet?

Even more sickening is their insistence on repeatedly using children as the reason they must continue to rape the taxpayers. It's been awhile since I was a kid, but I have more faith in children than those opposed to the tax cap. I believe that the children will endure having five more kids in their classroom. People like Kremer don't. They believe that the the lives of the children will fall apart.

Then again, why, when someone talks about controlling school spending, is it only the children who must make the sacrifices? How come no one ever talks about the teachers or the administrations doing more with less? Because that doesn't invoke emotion. It doesn't scare people. Sadly, that's what makes people like Kremer tick.

As a Republican, I didn't vote for Cuomo. That being said, I am more than happy with his first weeks in office. He's shown himself to be a no bullshit governor who understands the magnitude of the fiscal crisis plaguing the state and is willing to address it head on, even if it means taking action that no governor, Republican or Democrat, has had the balls to do. His battle to reign in the massive overspending that has sent the state's finances spiraling out of control won't be easy - especially when you have people like Kremer ready to wreak havoc on anyone who'd dare to challenge the status quo.


The Avenger said...

Hobbes I think you're completely wrong on this one unless something is done to lift mandates on special education. Your dollar per pupil supports the old adage the figures lie and liars figure....and no, I'm not calling you a liar.

But those numbers seems staggering until you realize how out of control and costly special education has become. That is a big difference from today's education system and the time you and I were in school.

The special ed bureaucracy is staggering and the results are mixed at best. There has to be a better, less costly way.

I credit Wilson and Barker for looking at sharing a special ed administrator. That's a start. But much more needs to be done to ring efficiencies out of this system.

Dark Knight said...

You couldn't be more right on the special education front. I'm all for providing additional resources but the way these districts have staffed up to meet the needs of a few while reducing other gen ed areas is terrible. And I'm not talking students with severe disabilities. This is about reading, math, etc. and how little work these teachers do with two or three students compared to others who are killing themselves.

Lewport said...

When I think of the mess that the educational budget has become in New York State, I think of a favorite quote from Bill Cosby:

"I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody."

Our lawmakers can't be afraid to make tough decisions...