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!