Friday, April 17, 2009

Call Today! For the Children...

Earlier this week, I received another mailing from Public School Employees of Washington. They're still sounding the alarm on budget cuts coming out of Olympia. "School districts have been forced into layoffs," is warns. But the budget ax isn't done falling, as Washington State is still attempting to close a budget gap that runs to the billions of dollars. The flyer warns me that more cuts "could mean even deeper layoffs that hurt our schools and children." (I'm going to assume, for a moment, that some Public School Employees might also feel the pain is completely beside the point.) They even list a website for concerned people to go to, to Step Up For Schools.

Now, putting my own cynicism aside for a while, I understand why PSE is sounding the alarm. Self-interested or not, support staff are actually fairly important to running a school, just as they are to running any other sort of operation. What bugged me about this whole situation was the lack of a solution other than "help us flog the legislature into cutting somewhere other than schools." And of course, the tired battlecry of "think of the children!" Of course, the information one puts on a mailing has to be short and sweet, so I figured I check out their website, so see if they had suggestions for a comprehensive solution. No such luck.

While I understand the power of even a figurative gun to a child's head, simply pointing out the problem doesn't really help. The money that Public School Employees of Washington wants Olympia to restore to the schools is going to have to come from somewhere, and I'd really have a lot more respect for budgetary alarmists if they'd at least acknowledge that fact.

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