"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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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Chris Christie and the Missouri Legislature Discover the Bad News--There is No Money.

Chris Christie understands economic reality. Speaking about the rail project he had to cancel:

“We don’t have the money,” Christie explains, “we literally don’t have the money.”

Our state legislators may have realized we financially can't afford the goals set forth in the new educational plan "Educated Citizenry 2020". According to the Missourian, there is recognition from the committee these goals may be financially unattainable at this time:

On Friday, the Missouri Senate's Educated Citizenry 2020 Committee produced a report setting forth some ambitious goals to improve the quality of public education offered to Missouri residents. But the committee chairman acknowledged there probably is no money to carry out some of the initiatives — at least not in the next few years.

Pay raises, new programs and expanded government services all have become a rarity in recent years — replaced by layoffs and spending cuts as state officials have patched together budgets with federal economic stimulus funds and falling state sales and income taxes collections.

That federal stimulus money is about to run out. And tax revenues, though finally showing signs of growth, remain far below the levels of just a few years ago. Gov. Jay Nixon's administration is projecting a $500 million to $700 million shortfall for the fiscal year that begins July 1 — a gap equal to almost 10 percent of the state's general revenues.

As we wrote about in our previous piece about these new proposals, citizens should be asking the following questions to the legislators:

  • What is the total cost of the program?
  • If there are unfunded/underfunded mandates in this program, how will these be addressed in this climate of budget cutting in the state?
  • How does this plan promote smaller government?
  • How does this plan promote more local control?
  • Does this plan promote more parental rights and involvement?
  • How are charter schools considered a viable alternative as they will operate under the same mandates as traditional public schools?
If the goals are determined to be financially impossible at this time, perhaps the discussion should center around the validity of the goals themselves.

1 comment:

  1. It was recently revealed that a $48B "earmark" on Emanuel Cleaver's web site was a request by a constituent for an urban reclamation project that would make Disney look like Potterville. Who wouldn't want an instant reality make-over like that? It sounds like the EC2020 project is a similar overreaching request and should be rejected like Cleaver's earmark. All govermment projects must be tempered by fiscal reality. And massive change is better accepted and retained when introduced slowly and allowed modification as unintended consequences are discovered. I believe we will see little change in student performance over the next few years, even though local school districts have had to make drastic reductions in their budgets, because good education is rarely about the money.


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