Articles appearing in the Dispatch on Mar. 13 and 14, submitted by a New York AP service and detailing the sorry state of affairs surrounding the resignation of New York Democrat Gov. Eliot Spitzer, fail to identify him as a Democrat. Never let it be said that media bias exists, but high level politicians belonging to other political parties who have been caught in unsavory situations are always labeled by their party affiliation, no matter how short the article or how trivial the offense. (Do the names Foley and Craig ring a bell?) Not so with Democrat Gov. Eliot Spitzer, who also is a Democrat super delegate, and was elected to the New York governorship on the Democrat ticket. Mr. Spitzer, as he is now being called, has a record of slash and burn public tactics that is coming back to haunt him. Since the press is ignoring the fact, I just thought it appropriate to point out that Democrat Gov. Eliot Spitzer, now among the worst examples of public failing, is a Democrat.
Schools need common sense
In the past few days there has been a flurry of school district activity in the form of a pep rally reported in the Brainerd Dispatch. The people interested in saving the wide array of sports offered by the school district are good if they want to pay for this extra curriculum.
The superintendent of school district 181 is now making headlines in the guise of saving the sports. Sounds like a real pep rally to me.
Rep. John Ward in his guest column is telling us education isn't free and is blaming the governor for the problem. I think the problem the school district is having with the shortage of finances is deeper than funding. it is a disregard for common sense. They knew the finances were a problem and went ahead and hired more teachers with the idea that the referendums rarely fail in Brainerd.
This pep rally sounds to me like this could be something big like a new referendum.
Citizens Concerned About School Taxation
Don't accept every statistic
Let me give Marv Begin and education reporters everywhere a lesson in average teacher salaries.
Teachers climb a salary ladder. New teachers are paid less than experienced teachers who have been in the profession more years.
If a district has a large number of experienced teachers, either because they like their jobs and have stuck with it, or because the district has had to cut teachers (last hired, first fired) or not hire new teachers, that district will have a high average salary. Seasoned teachers are higher on the pay scale, raising the average. A growing suburban district that has to hire many new teachers every year will have a lower average.
The state average is computed by totaling all teacher salaries and dividing by the number of teachers. Studies show that over half of teachers leave the profession within five years, so about half the salaries in the state average fall on the bottom five rungs of the salary ladder. Brainerd has more senior teachers because untenured teachers have been cut first, thus a higher average. Fifty 10-year teachers cost a district more than 50 first-year teachers. Averages mean nothing unless you are comparing matched groups.
It is valid to compare the pay at specific intervals. What does Brainerd pay a first-year teacher? A fifth-year? A tenth-year? A twenty-year? How do those numbers compare to other districts' pay scale at those same data points? How many teachers have master's or other advanced degrees? Again, not averages. Specific data points.
There are a lot of numbers to throw around in Brainerd's current situation. Don't just nod and accept whatever statistic is tossed out. Think about what is really being compared or proposed.
Get the unions out of schools
In a recent letter tirade Rep. John Ward takes the governor to task for failure to fund schools. Rep. Ward criticizes everything from allowing non-educators to teach to job losses in Minnesota.
Former President Ronald Reagan stated a truth that should not be forgotten, "...that time spent working extra jobs to pay taxes is time spent away from the family, time robbed from children, time that can never be repaid once a child has outgrown the formative years. The crushing tax burden inflicted on us by our government forces parents to work two or three jobs and literally translates to children who are not read to, listened to, prayed with, hugged, or cuddled as much as they need. ..."
That is what Rep. Ward wants to do: tax, tax, tax so you can hand over more of your hard-earned money to schools.
This year and every year, Districts across the state are asking for increases. 3 percent was not enough, 4 percent would not be enough, 5 percent would not be enough. The question needs to be asked - how much is enough? Our population isn't growing at that rate. Our incomes are not growing at that rate. We need to rethink education and do things smarter not just throw money at education and think it will solve the problem.
There are many things that can be done to improve education without spending one dime. Creating more choices, vouchers for poor parents, deregulating home schooling, having funding travel with student like in college. Get real curricula - specific curricula back into our schools.
Rep. Ward's column just shows that he and the education establishment are out of touch with education in Minnesota. You want to make our kids a priority you get the unions out of schools and make kids not money priorities.
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