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AdLib On May - 16 - 2011

Last Friday, there were State of Emergency rallies at most Los Angeles schools to protest the looming cuts to education in the city which will bring class sizes up to 29 for grades 1st-3rd and 38 children per classroom for 4th and 5th.

I attended one of these rallies and shot the following video:

California is a terribly dysfunctional state. With the passage of Proposition 13 and handcuffing the legislature with the requirement of a 2/3 vote on any tax increases, in a devastating recession like this there is little recourse to be able to add revenues so all that’s left is to cut.

There may be fat our there to be cut but historically, it has been difficult to find and in any case would only address a small portion of the state’s budget gap. As with most states, education is the primary expense of a state so that’s what has to bear the brunt of cuts.

There comes a point, whether in a state or country, where the budget surgery performed could be a success but the patient dies. States have to balance their budgets, they can’t run deficits or print money.

If the only way one can fit in a car is by lopping one’s own head off, it kind of defeats the purpose of going out for nachos. Just as is being discussed with the federal budget, there is only so far that cutting can go to address budget shortfalls without causing more profound harm, so there comes a time where revenues must also be increased.

The right wing, as Grover Norquist famously said, wants to shrink government  “down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub.”

All is going according to plan for them. Even though the majority of Americans WANT higher taxes on the wealthy and corporations, the RW just repeats the mantra of “We won’t raise taxes!” and they have so far been successful in thwarting the will of the people, spiting it for that matter.

Instead of the outrage of making Exxon pay more than the $0 they paid in taxes last year, the Repubs happily vote near-unanimously to kill Medicare.

The Repubs, serving their corporate masters, have the same approach to government, health care, education and democracy…shrink it until it’s small enough to drown in a bathtub. That’s the “pro-life” party, for ya.

One ray of light in today’s news, the state has had an unexpected spike of $6.6 billion in revenues which mitigate close to half of CA’s budget shortfall, much of that statutorily has to go to education.

We’re keeping our fingers crossed here in Cali and hope that a solid recovery will lift all boats.

Written by AdLib

My motto is, "It is better to have blogged and lost hours of your day, than never to have blogged at all."

9 Responses so far.

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  1. PatsyT says:

    AdLib,
    I know this issue all too well.
    Supporting Education should be like supporting the troops,
    the most patriotic thing you can do.

    These budget issues have been going on for years in our district.
    At the end of the school year, it can be heartbreaking
    to say goodbye to the wonderful
    teacher that your child has had all year.
    Then it so much worse when you and your child
    see that teacher getting a pink slip.
    The kids don’t get it.
    They wonder, why is that fantastic teacher getting fired?
    Boy, we have had lots of tears at the end of the school year because of this.
    No teacher or student deserves that.

    Have you seen this group?
    http://www.rescueeducationcalifornia.org/#!

  2. bito says:

    AdLib, What is this assault on public education? I am at a loss and no, it’s not just a bumper sticker slogan, education is the future. I’m selfish, I want every child to get an education, get a good paying job and pay taxes to cover me in my old age.
    Seriously, I would like to see anyone tell me of a country that is not trying to improve their education system. Yesterday during the speech given by the President, he said the graduates are not just competing against their neighbor for a quality paying job, but they are competing against students in China, India, Europe….world wide. Are any of them cutting their education systems? Are they the only ones that have some foresight?
    If one were to write a plan for the decline of the standard of living in the US, I’m sure one of the major elements would be to reduce education funding.

    Great job on the post and excellent that you participated and the last two ‘graphs can give us all some hope.

    Kudos.

    • choicelady says:

      You named it: “I want every child to get an education…” That’s the problem. When you come at every problem with a notion that the Constitution embeds INEQUALITY in every word, that elites should rule -- especially Christians -- then you do NOT want every child to get an education. They will not tolerate the 60s occurring again.

      Look at the pattern: spend 30 years building income inequality so massive as to be irreparable. Find ways to demonize the working families of America, especially the unemployed. Make sure they do not get educated so they will turn on one another rather than on the elites who’ve screwed them collectively. Make it harder to register and vote. Then the elites will predominate. Especially WHITE elites. Especially white, filthy RICH elites. Mostly male.

      I have a friend whose two sons are downwardly mobile. The family pattern is: Grandparents college educated professionals. Kids middling fair, one with a college degree that never got used, the father with no degree and a grifter. Grandkids both HS drop outs and unskilled. Why? They saw no advantage in education because public schools saw no use in them. So the kids are either in dead end jobs or jail. That pattern has repeated itself more times than I can enumerate.

      Education is MEANT to be boring, useless, and stupifying. We do not want working class people to be smart, we do not want people to question authority, we do not want people to challenge the status quo.

      So, because the grandkids are smart, they have become like Glenn Beck -- “thinkers” -- led by people such as Michael Savage. They BELIEVE the lies and fury of furious people who hate equality and, truth be known, hate THEM. But they think they’re superior because they are white. Period. So they’re pissed they don’t have all the money, material goods, and luxuries they want. They hate upwardly mobile minorities. It never occurs to them that they are not qualified to do ANYTHING but minority kids who work their butts off are.

      So it has succeeded, this divide and conquer world. Education has done its job -- it has made kids bored,stupid, and angry. That is the goal because bored, stupid, angry people do NOT question the massive hold the rich have on every aspect of our lives. Nope. They turn on one another and leave the real enemies in peace.

      So that’s where you went wrong. You believed in the system that no longer exists. Silly you, silly me, silly us.

  3. kesmarn says:

    AdLib-- props first--what a very well done, well-edited video that was. Planetary Emmy goes to you!

    One in eight students in America is educated in California. Wow… a sobering fact.

    The RW fundies in my family are all about “schools being run like businesses,” which scares the daylights out of me. We all can see how well health care for profit has worked out in the past. Why would we want to do that to our kids?

    Poorly educated people locked into permanent poverty tend not to create revolutions. They just work hard, eat little and die young.

  4. oldpol2 says:

    This entire situation breaks my heart. I was a graduate of the California school system, many years ago. It was then the best in the country and it was a thing of pride to have that on a resume. Today I see the public school system in California as the first real victim of the right wing push to privatize EVERYTHING. I didn’t start yesterday, It has been a concerted effort since Reagan and prop 13.I believe the plan all along was to continually reduce revenue by preying on peoples hatred of paying taxes. Handicapping the legislatures, slowly, all across the country. The hope is that people will turn to corporations to save us. they are rewriting history even as we speak. the Koch brothers are now choosing professors in Florida. This is a concerted effort to dumb down the constituency. Our only hope is to educate anyone with the power of the vote. We need a clean sweep of the SCOTUS, the congress on all levels and anyone who supposedly serves this country.The people, not the damn multinationals, are the USA. We cannot hope to change anything until enough people understand what is at stake.

  5. choicelady says:

    Thank you for going to the rally, AdLib. I was with some of the teachers at the Capitol last week, too, and they were making good points. Many of them -- every evening, every day -- got themselves arrested for refusing to leave at 6:00 pm when the Capitol formally closes. They were very brave.

    What you note about Norquist raises a HUGE issue about democracy. The GOP is determined to use its minority power -- a power decried by Federalist Paper #58 as being in opposition to democracy -- to block the will of their own constituents. Most of the GOP legislators signed a pledge circulated by Norquist, putting that pledge above the will of the people.

    I fear the $6.6 billion is over TWO years, so today’s “May Revise” of the budget will not restore all that. Education funding is now increased, but it’s not to the full level voters demanded under Prop. 98. It will help prevent some layoffs, but it will not be enough.

    I’m still wading through the cuts to social programs, and I am not yet sure what all damage will be done with a “cuts only” budget, but what IS clear is that like Wisconsin, Iowa, Ohio, Michigan Californians are fed up with Republican barriers to solving problems. I know three of the new Commissioners handling redistricting, and what little I hear (they are not allowed to talk to me since I’m a lobbyist) is that simple demographics are shifting the boundaries of districts that will become more Democrat than Republican. However, should the Dems take a 2/3 majority in both houses, it still won’t be for another year, and in the meantime, kids will lose a lot of their advantages of voter mandated smaller classes and good teachers.

    Other problems lie in a decline of health care coverage for kids under S-CHIP, the State Children’s Insurance Program, since the state portion is being reduced. CalWORKs, our TANF welfare-to-work program, may also take a huge hit. The income level has been scaled back to that of 1987. Yes -- 1987. PRICES for rent, utilities, school clothes, books have not gone down, but the income will. Good luck to not having massive numbers of homeless families.

    The GOP war on the poor is working -- but it is having a massive rebound. We lost one GOP district in 2010 to a very smart Dem. More will fall. Oh, they’ll probably keep some seats, but even without redistricting, voters have simply HAD it with rock-ribbed GOP pledges to out of state bozos. People finally are beginning to realize that they have to pay for basics and not vote in things for which they do not pay. It is TIME for oil severance tax, for restoring the Wilson-Reagan tax levels on the rich. It’s time to stop throwing money at corporations that have NO accountability to the voters for doing what was promised for those cuts and incentives. It’s time for corporate America to answer to the people.

    At least they must answer to our kids.

  6. Chernynkaya says:

    Thanks, AdLib! The only thing that has been so uplifting is the support of so many students and parents--the rallies have been wonderful! The situation is DIRE!

    • AdLib says:

      There really is unity out there against this undermining of our public schools. If our public schools become a wasteland, with 50 or more students per classroom and no openings for new teachers, it will be the final cementing of classism in America.

      There will be those who can afford to send their children to private school and those who can’t. Children will be born into a class depending on their parents’ income and their futures will likely take a very different trajectory than those born to parents with greater income.

      That’s not the America the majority here want and we have to fight against it.


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