Friday, April 8, 2011

I'm REALLY Angry!

I'm really angry, and the anger has been simmering in me for a long time. I'm tired, really tired about hearing how my state (California) is broke and has no money for education. For the past couple of years, our beloved teachers have had to put up with lay-offs, transfers, and furlough days. They have to teach larger classes and less support is being provided to kids with special needs. This can impact everybody in the classroom. This problem is not just in California either. It is nationwide.

What's even worse is that there's a culture that pins the states' budget crises on the public employees whose salaries are paid from tax dollars. Teachers, police, and firemen are being stripped of their bargaining powers. Can we really afford to cut these vital positions? I think teaching a class of kids has to be one of the hardest jobs in the world. Teachers have enormous amount of responsibility, and we pay them squat for the work they do. Quite frankly, we should be providing a lot more resources to give them better pay and training. I think our kids deserve to be taught by well-qualified teachers who have adequate support in classrooms that are not too big.

Considering that states are broke, where would these funds come from? How about from revenue sources such as taxes. Last week, news broke that General Electric made $14.2 billion. Of this, $5.1 billion came from its operations in the United States. General Electric's tax bill for 2010: NOTHING! Actually, that's not entirely true. General Electric claimed a tax benefit of $3.2 billion. General Electric, while certainly one of the lowest "paying" corporations in the United States is not totally alone in this. According to the New York Times article that broke this story, the changes in tax laws "have pushed down the corporate share of the nation’s tax receipts — from 30 percent of all federal revenue in the mid-1950s to 6.6 percent in 2009."

I think this is beyond appalling! And yes, I'm very well aware that education is mostly funded through state tax revenue while this information is on federal tax revenue. Nevertheless, I'm sure corporations are not paying their share of state taxes either.

I also understand that corporations exist to earn profits. But where is the sense of social responsibility? The lack of it is disgusting. Another recent news story is that the BP rig operator responsible for that horrendous spill last year is giving out their biggest bonuses EVER! The reason? The company, Transocean, declared 2010 the "best year in safety performance in our company's history," and offered president and CEO Steven L. Newman a $200,000 raise and more than $374,000 in bonuses. I guess creating the biggest oil spill in history that cost taxpayers about $10 billion to clean up--not to mention the 11 employees who die--only counted as one incident.

Don't even get me started on the Wall Street firms that put our country into this huge recession that are giving out big bonuses. According to The Economist, "The state comptroller of New York reckons that Wall Street firms paid $20.8 billion in cash bonuses to their employees in the state in 2010." This is a decreased amount from past years, but it still sickens me. Teachers are supposed to give up their bargaining rights while people in private industry are reaping large bonuses for bad performance? Really? This is okay? At our school alone, 3 teachers are going to get RIFed. Our school has extremely seasoned teachers who are outstanding! I think the newest ones (who probably got the pink slips) have been teaching for over 8 years and doing outstanding jobs. This is the thanks they get? Where are their big bonuses?

The fact that the teachers are getting hit hard from the recession and are unfairly losing their jobs is only have of the story. The other half is that our kids will be in larger classes with much fewer resources and a shorter school year. If you think that this won't affect the quality of their education, you're sadly mistaken. How could it not? This lack of investing in our children is not going to yield good results for our economic future. It's going to put us even further behind other countries.

I'm REALLY angry! And you should be too!

19 comments:

  1. AMEN. As a former teacher, teacher's wife, and mommy to a little boy with autism, I'll say it again: AMEN.

    Thanks for the support you're giving teachers and special needs kids everywhere.

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  2. You really see as a nation where are our priorities! It is very sad!

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  3. While I agree with everything you said about our teachers, I also happen to know some really bad ones who aren't being fired due to the unions. I think it is appalling that we don't take education seriously in this country. Every single budget cut takes more and more money away from the schools. Our classes are underfunded, overcrowded and our kids are the ones suffering. Good teachers are fired, kids can't get extra help when needed, supplies are low or nonexistant and the strain is really showing on the teachers and staff. Makes for a miserable school experience for students AND parents.

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  4. But don't you know? The business of America is business. LOL: I wonder where they think the next crop of "business" folks is going to come from, and who is going to foster the so-called "entrepreneurial spirit" that has made America what it is. Certainly not our schools, if, between under-budgeting and over-testing, they make our schools veritably doomed to fail in their mission to teach anything.

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  5. Bravo! There's a threat of huge education cuts in my state, too. It really angers me. People say our country needs to compete with other countries when it comes to education. Others are so much more advanced than we are. How can that happen when we don't have to funds to educate our children?

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  6. Yes! I was nodding my head in complete agreement with everything you said. Arizona is at the very bottom of the pack in education, and every budget cut the state faces cuts more and more for education. My boys are suffering in the lack of services available to them and...well, I could go on and on and on. Excellent post, Cheryl!

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  7. As a former teacher and a current Gulf Coast resident (ARGH BP!), my blood pressure is officially through the roof.

    I will echo Christy and say "AMEN!"

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  8. Tell it, girl! You know I'm with you on this one. I think I've heard in the meantime that Transocean has reneged on those bonuses under public pressure. But overall, it just shows where are priorities are at and exactly wide that gulf between the richest and the poorest in our country keeps widening.

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  9. Right there with ya, sister!

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  10. Well said. I think every family needs to be concerned about these things.

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  11. We should be angry aboutball of these things! And though I don't believe corporations are responsible for the problems in our educational system, they do need to step up and pay their taxes. (Though some would argue that without those tax breaks, even more jobs will go overseas.)

    There is a lot more to this story. A friend of mine who just retired from his job as a principal in the LAUSD, said there was so much waste and mismanagement he never voted in favor of bond measures. And here, after the dot com boom and resulting housing bubble, the schools should have been paved with gold with all the increased property tax revenue. What happened to all that money?

    It is such a complicated problem but we are clearly on the wrong path. And don't get me started on no child left behind...

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  12. I really agree with you about the sad state of our education system and how we seem to put it on the back burner.

    Teachers are SO vital and important to our children...we should treat them as such.

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  13. I agree with some of what you say but I wonder why the majority of people don't come down on our congress people for cutting funding to education, police, and fire. Why aren't cuts being made FIRST to other areas ... we all know how much waste is in the budgets ... both local and federal. I'm really surprised that people aren't more angry about being so totally manipulated by their government about these spending cuts.

    Now having said that ... I know I risk the rath of everyone by saying that I also think that education does need a major shake up ... the unions are out of control and I don't think it is unreasonable to expect EVERYONE to be sharing equally in getting our economy under control.

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  14. Awesome post...could not agree more!!! I have several friends that are fantastic teachers that have been given notice or warning of notice. It is such crap!!! I am so grateful for my DD's teachers...they make ALL the difference in her success. This is going on ny FB right now ...

    Bravo!!

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  15. Right there with you here in AZ! My son has been to ELEVEN preschools (kicked out, of course... or we'd still be there) and a diagnosis of SPD and Aspergers and still can't get sped preschool here! Plus DDD denies him, and many services that are offered through DDD are being cut.
    Not to mention, I'm graduating next month in Special Education and can I find a teaching job!? probably not. My school that I'm student teaching at has a case load of FORTY-TWO students needing Resource next year and they have to cut one of the three teachers! FOURTY-TWO sped students to TWO teachers!?! and of course, no Aids/Paras. Absolutely ridiculous! I'm pissed, too!!! =(
    We were actually talking about moving back to CA for services. I guess it's not much better there!?
    I'm a new follower, come say hi @ ModernMomRedefined.blogspot.com

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  16. It's so sad how little children are valued in our society. We talk big and act small.

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  17. Oh gosh, you have no idea how relevant this is to me...I was a teacher in California and now I live where the BP oil spill is! Can you believe it? The fishing industry was destroyed down here--really heartbreaking for people who make their livings from it.

    I hope you've had a good weekend...and I hope that the weather is nice there...it's been in the 80s here--yay!
    XO

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  18. If it can comfort you in Europe it's not better !

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  19. In FL, our legislature has done away with teacher tenure under the *justification* that they will now base merit pay on student test scores (FCAT and NCLB are another argument for another day).

    But guess what?? There is no money appropriated in the budget for ANY kind of pay increase, merit-based or otherwise. As a matter of fact, all public employees (including teachers) in Florida are staring at a 3-5% income tax for this year after six years of no raises whatsoever, regardless of whether you were employee of the year or slacker of the year.

    So easy to do when you have a gullible and easily distracted electorate who willingly believe everything they see on TV.

    Word to the wise- the politicians who are in bed with the companies whose taxes are nil do not give a whit about my kid with special needs nor anyone else's for that matter. They are laughing all the way to their kid's private schools and then all the way to the bank...

    If my kid succeeds in school or life in general, it will be IN SPITE of the Florida legislature's greedy, short-sighted, amoral decisions, not because of it!

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