Saturday, February 10, 2007

CT - Gov. Rell's Budget or How To Throw More Money Down A Rat Hole

Poor M. Jodi Rell.. she just hasn't been keeping up on her reading, and is relying instead on her misguided advisers. She has bought into the fantasy that more money buys better education, or perhaps she has been shaken down by the union goons. According to the report in the Hartford Courant:
Gov. M. Jodi Rell, in her first budget address since being elected, will call today for pumping nearly $3.4 billion into state school funding over five years, including millions more for towns and cities and additional aid for everything from preschool classes to college scholarships.

In what the governor's office is calling "the most important increase in education funding in a generation," Rell will outline a wide-ranging plan that would immediately boost the state's share of school funding in virtually every municipality.
Apparently she desperately needs to read results of studies that prove these facts: Money spent on education has no correlation with educational results at the local, state, or even international level. Unless real reform comes, the U.S. will lose the economic advantages that currently allows its education establishment to exist.

Instead of calling on restraint in state and local school spending, we are seeing the education pie get much much bigger, and taxpayers asked to empty much more out of their pockets. They will not only be giving more to the state in income tax, but will most likely also see a rise in their local property taxes to boot!

We'll be increasing preschool initiatives and setting up the infrastructure to eventually subsume it into the public school system. Preschool teachers will now be employed by local schools and be added to the teacher union membership rolls. They'll have to be accredited and go through newly minted credentialing programs set up at colleges. It's a huge money maker for many people, and a joy to the ears of the teacher's union. Not only that, but many private preschools will eventually close their doors because "free public preschool" for 3-5 year olds will be available on the taxpayer's dime. Yeah it'll be free all right (wink wink nod nod). Parents will have to use this free public daycare because they will absolutely need two incomes to support their tax bills. Outsourcing parenthood will become the rule of the day. Despite the fact that other states have already proven that the millions of dollars they have spent on public/universal preschool has not closed the so-called "achievement gap", nor has it even made test scores rise, we still continue down this road. No one wants to acknowledge what has already been proven: no matter what gains are made early on, all kids normalize by third grade. The return on investment just has not materialized, and even our Education Chairman Thomas Gaffey wrote a letter to the State Board of Education Chairman, Allen B. Taylor, on July 10, 2006 to tell him so. But that's ok, because we all really know that it isn't really about the kids, the real goal is to increase union membership and grow the school budgets.

But anyone who lives and works here really can see things for what they are. Connecticut is owned and run by the unions, and any kind of binding arbitration reform is merely a dream. Binding arbitration, which rewards union members with all kinds of raises, bonuses and other perks at the taxpayer's expense, is choking towns and municipalities. And they are allowed to continue to do so. Giving more money to towns is not going to do anything to make them restrain their spending. Rather than mandate changes in the way in which schools budget and spend; rather than reform binding arbitration and unfunded mandates from the state; the answer is always to come back to the taxpayer and demand more money. Towns would rather complain and moan to the state to give them more money, which by the way still comes out of our pockets, then to put the brakes on spending. We tell our kids "Just Say No" to drugs.. why don't we say "Just say No" to school spending and more taxation. We can't, because the addiction to the public purse is already persistent, as are the threats made by highly paid educrats.

No one, and I mean no one, will bring up that nagging little fact that better education is not directly proportional to the amount of money spent on it.

The studies abound, like the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) reports, to prove it.. but the myth that more money is needed continues to live on robustly.
"Raising student achievement levels and improving our schools is not a matter of spending more money doing the same things as before but rather using the resources we have available in better and more innovative ways," said ALEC Education Task Force Chairman Rep. Jane Cunningham from Missouri.
These are the facts:
With over half the municipal budget going to education we have become a “hyper-taxed schoolocracy”. Yes, this is a new term my son shared with me, and it implies that we are over taxed and that the school boards have become the defacto governing body of each and every town. Because education places financial demands on us in the name of maintaining excellence, the school boards can now dictate how our towns spend money and what services the general population will receive in the end. When taxpayers balk at the continual rise of mill rates and taxes demanded by towns, and when they threaten referendum, the school then threatens loss of programs, making hurtful cuts and creates enormous division in town between the PTO moms and the elderly living on fixed incomes. It's shameful. The state of Connecticut and our Governor M. Jodi Rell is now officially supporting that kind of extortion.

The schools can never seem to cut anything quietly or responsibly, and one never ever hears of cutting staff. Hartford alone spends an ungodly $13,000 per year per student! Their results are abysmal to say the least. Unfortunately the problem is that hardly ever does the money poured into "education" actually translate into more money being put directly into the classroom. We are spending gobs of money on "education" and hear daily reports of music and art programs being cut. With all the money currently being spent on education we still hear the persistent stories of those poor unfortunate teachers who have to spend money out of their own pocketbooks to buy supplies for the classroom. Pardon me??? So where exactly IS all the money going? Take a look at costly school construction and new fangled programs that just do not work. Take a look at union member salaries, and the proliferation of staff in our schools. It's absolutely an outrage.

So thanks M. Jodi Rell... raise the income tax.. chase out business and make it more difficult for people to afford to live here in CT. Make it so that no kid who is receives a costly education in CT can actually graduate and make a living here and stay here. If anything, every other state in the nation is benefiting from our "world class" education system, because our kids are all moving to their state. Let's tax ourselves into oblivion. The report just came out about how we are losing population and the exodus no doubt will continue. The elderly and the poor who are forced to stay here because they can go no where else, will also no doubt be forced into dependence on the state and continue to vote in the people who make their dependence continue. Raise taxes, and grow government. Who would have thought that we'd see this mayhem from a Republican governor who had at one time promised to do the opposite. Third party anyone?