Politics & Prejudices
Screwing the future
In Michigan, slouching toward the Third World
Published: March 23, 2011
He could cut the programs that keep parents in the district, like music and art, athletics and physical education. He could lay off 41 of Berkley's 253 teachers, increasing class size. Either way the district would be terribly damaged.
Parents would flee, creating a downward spiral. Years ago, he could have asked residents to vote more millage. But Proposal A outlawed that as an option. Years ago, there were legislators who had been on the job for years and understood education funding.
Now, thanks to term limits, they are mostly ignorant too. When Simeck went to Lansing recently to reason with the lawmakers, he encountered some so ignorant they'd never heard of either Title I or Proposal A.
Today's world is full of the ignorant, and of right-wing kooks clutching copies of Ayn Rand, people who think teachers don't deserve a decent living, and that money spent on anything in the public sector is mostly wasted.
Years ago, I myself spent time in places where their policies had been put into effect. They were called the Third World then, and nobody thought Michigan was likely to join it.
In fact, we would have thought part of our leaders' jobs were to keep that from being even a remote possibility.
Evidently, things are different now.
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