"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power." - Thomas Jefferson 1820

"There is a growing technology of testing that permits us now to do in nanoseconds things that we shouldn't be doing at all." - Dr. Gerald Bracey author of Rotten Apples in Education

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Saturday, July 24, 2010

School Boards Gone Wild!

I'm sure many of you are aware of the videos of "Girls Gone Wild". These are videos of young women on spring breaks, who after drinking voluminous amounts of alcohol, release their inhibitions and exhibit behavior which their parents most certainly disapprove. When the girls sober up, see the videos, many of them are aghast and remorseful. I'm wondering if many of the school districts around the country are in a financial drunken stupor.

I read an American Thinker posting today and realized poor spending decisions are being made by school boards across the nation, not just here in Missouri. We blogged a couple of days ago about the two bond proposals the Kirkwood School District will place before voters in November and you can find here:


The basic arguments against these proposals are: we don't need them (especially in a time of a severe recession and high unemployment) and the Board should have exercised its duty to protect the financial health of the district, not bow to special interests. If you watched the video with the original blog, you probably will have noted the members believed these proposals will provide educational importance.

Let's read what's happening in the LA school system:


This school district looks like the Kirkwood School District on steroids. Three newly constructed schools are facing cost overruns for a total cost of $578,000,000.00. For three schools with a population of just less than Kirkwood District, it is no wonder citizens may not be pleased with the fiduciary decisions of this Board.

The Kirkwood School District does not have the same problems as the LA district, which has a high poverty rate and high teacher turnover. The question germane to both districts is "what is the wise use of taxpayer funds"? The argument raised by the author is the money in LA should be spent on teachers:

"So what is most important in the education of our children? The LA times writes: ...a building doesn't drive academic progress. New campuses are sprouting like weeds in parts of Los Angeles where student test scores are still stuck in the mud. It's no secret that the most important factor in student success is an excellent teacher."

Even the LA Times doesn't buy the argument students need the finest physical environment for optimum learning. The author continues:

"And talk to the kids who beat the odds, who rise from tough circumstances and head to college. They won't thank the skylights or the curving stair walls or the pricey garage. They'll tell you about the teachers who turned them on to poetry, demystified geometry, made history come alive."

I agree. In Kirkwood District's case, the students won't care about an aquatic center, astroturfed sports fields, or the fact they may not have attended kindergarten at their home elementary school. They will thank their teachers, who, according to our district, are some of the finest in the area. They are highly paid, as they received 4.5% raises each year over the last two years in this recession. I expect the district will ask for a higher operating levy to raise their salaries again this year. Combine that with the need to also raise taxes to pay for the maintenance and staffing for the new additions, and we'll be in a financial nightmare. This is occurring in the era of approximately 10% unemployment, with financial experts believing the real unemployment numbers are closer to 17%.

Don't spend of millions of taxpayer dollars that will not impact the test scores of our students. We don't need to be a miniature version of the LA school debacle. Watch your own district to be sure it doesn't follow LA's lead. Steer your district away from the drinking parties and tell them to sober up.

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