Saturday, February 26, 2011

Pink slip reality check-Falling short of the "Sputnik Moment"

Chicago Sun Times reports:
The government announced last week that Boeing was the winner of a $35 billion project to build a new aerial refueling tanker. The Air Force has awarded Boeing an initial contract of $3.5 billion to engineer and manufacture the first four tankers, a design based on its 767. That is the first installment in the $35 billion program to build 179 tankers. The deal could potentially be worth $100 billion if the Air Force decides to build more. 


Other headlines:
Business Week reports:

The school board of Rhode Island's financially troubled capital city, Providence, voted Thursday to notify every one of its nearly 2,000 teachers that they were subject to being terminated at the end of the school year.
City officials said the action would give them the ability to make budget cuts. A recent audit showed Providence, which has about 175,000 residents, had nearly depleted its rainy-day fund and overspent its nearly $620 million city budget last year by more than $57 million. Next year's $308 million school budget is projected to have a gap of $40 million or more. The termination notices do not mean that all teachers will be out of a job, just that they might. Under Rhode Island law, teachers must be notified by March 1 if they will not have a job the following academic year.
Locally:
108 teachers were given notice of anticipated layoffs, and 5 schools are going to close at the end of the school year to cover a  budget shortage of $22-$28 million, 15-20% of the district's operating budget. 
The Eugene Register Guard reports:
As expected, the Eugene School District on Friday handed out letters labeled “Notice of Anticipated Layoff” to 108 teachers and other licensed staff with the least seniority as part of an estimated $24 million in cost-saving measures for the 2011-12 school year. The staffing cuts cover $8.6-$11 million, the rest is recovered by closing 5 schools. The district had 39 schools, and one reason for the closures is falling enrollment numbers. 
The President said in his 2011 State of the Union Address:
"Think about it. Over the next ten years, nearly half of all new jobs will require education that goes beyond a high school degree. And yet, as many as a quarter of our students aren't even finishing high school. The quality of our math and science education lags behind many other nations. America has fallen to 9th in the proportion of young people with a college degree. And so the question is whether all of us – as citizens, and as parents – are willing to do what's necessary to give every child a chance to succeed.
Our schools share this responsibility. When a child walks into a classroom, it should be a place of high expectations and high performance. But too many schools don't meet this test. That's why instead of just pouring money into a system that's not working, we launched a competition called Race to the Top. To all fifty states, we said, "If you show us the most innovative plans to improve teacher quality and student achievement, we'll show you the money."
Of course, the education race doesn't end with a high school diploma. To compete, higher education must be within reach of every American. That's why we've ended the unwarranted taxpayer subsidies that went to banks, and used the savings to make college affordable for millions of students. And this year, I ask Congress to go further, and make permanent our tuition tax credit – worth $10,000 for four years of college."
It all sounded so good, but locals who watched the district hold multiple, packed crowd school closure decision meetings, felt what he was saying & what was actually happening are two totally different realities. 
It seems like lip service.  We need school funding now, not pep talks. And when Boeing gets $35 billion, while schools face big time budget axes, you can't help but notice, the pep talk was hot air- the wealthy got tax cuts & the military still gets the lion's share of funding. 

3 comments:

Liberality said...

Same as it ever was. Aren't we going back to the Gilded Age? But when will our government truly lead our country for ALL of the people, not just the wealthy and powerful?

the wealthy got tax cuts & the military still gets the lion's share of funding

nonnie9999 said...

yeah, americans have their priorities straight. let the rich get richer, and let the kids get dumber.

Fran said...

Lib: Reminds me of the old bumper sticker "Wouldn't it be nice if schools were fully funded & the Military had to hold bake sales?"

Nonnie~ Most other countries have already figured this out-- give the kids an excellent education & they run the place well & contribute back.
I guess the US would rather fund jails?
That or keep the population dumb enough to think any time they use the catch phrase "freedom" or "less government", it's a good thing.
Freedom for the most wealthy to pay less taxes, so the rest can suffer.
Less Government, so they can slash budgets like Social Security. Thanks for paying in to the system your whole working life, suckers--
no money for you because less government is good.
The freedom to live in poverty without health care!!!