Saturday, July 19, 2008

Welcome To The Nation, Orleans Parish Voters!

You have just been scammed by the Orleans Parish School Board, once again. Todays' millage renewal vote, which is on track to pass with 80% of the vote, will continue to do absolutely nothing to educate your children. The $32 million renewal will supposedly give $18 million to teachers, (not a raise, but it stops a possible pay cut,) and $4 million for books and supplies. The rest of the money goes for vaguely defined programs such as "safety concerns" and "student retention."

The OPSB swears that this money is needed to finance school repairs, avoid teacher pay cuts and educate children. There are a few problems. There are less schools in Orleans now than there were Pre-Katrina. This means less teachers and less students, so why do they still need this much money? Whatever they were doing with this money before was obviously ineffective as evidenced by the state of the Orleans school system, so why continue the funding. Also, if the millages failed to pass, teacher pay would remain unaffected! It would be up to the House and Senate to decide on a pay cut and there is virtually no way they would dare to even suggest that after the recent SB 672 fiasco. And regarding the claim that the money will be used to fix our broken down school buildings...? They've been getting this money for twenty years and the buildings just get worse.

Now before you start pelting me with rotten apples, I agree that we need to fund our schools, but this vote was based on misdirection and scare tactics. The Katrina damage is covered by federal and state money. Whether this money is sitting in banks waiting to be spent or tied up in red tape, I don't know, but we don't need the millage for this. As for the threat of teacher pay cuts, why not take the millions of dollars being given out as school vouchers and use that? The more children pulled out of public schools, the less effective they become. Next year, the voucher program will be pointed to as a great success, it will be expanded, more children will leave public schools and the remaining children will be pointed to as examples of an anemic, broken educational system in need of more funding, which you will of course run to the polls to vote for. It's a scam, people. Open your eyes.

By the way, this post is only directed toward the less than 10% of you who bothered to vote. I won't even acknowledge the 90% of you who were too busy sleeping in to get off your fat, lazy asses to vote.

1 comment:

dsb said...

These millage renewals were essential. Without them, schools would've lost $1,000 or more per pupil--right out of classrooms. Aside from that, I'm totally with you, I just don't think the millages were worthy of a fight. You're exactly right about the scam that is the vouchers. I would also note the absurd mish-mash of school systems and now a million and one charters. (There's a role for charters to play, btw, but they shouldn't dominate the landscape; they should serve as incubation centers to develop new teaching practices).

Check out the Rising Tide III Conference education panel next month. Leigh Dingerson with the Center for Community Change in D.C. will be on it, as well as some great local voices. She's written extensively about the Nola public schools. Subject her to the Google.