Finally, some common sense. And from the Opinion Page of one of the state’s most conservative Editorial Boards. Today’s Wisconsin State Journal cautions communities to stop beating each other up over school finance woes and focus on the real culprit: our Legislature’s failed public school finance system.
Recounting the mixed results from more than 70 referenda requests in 52 school districts that were on the ballot this past Tuesday alone, the editorial goes on to explain why the state formula makes it virtually impossible for Wisconsin’s 425 school districts to both balance their budgets and avoid program cuts. After 14 years of cuts, critical programs….even those with proven track records such as SAGE….are potentially on the chopping block.
And instead of ponting the finger at the State Capitol, too much energy has gone into local finger-pointing: at administrators who “can’t cut the inefficiencies,” at school boards who “aren’t willing to long-range plan,” and even at students themselves, particularly students with higher educational price tags, such as students living in poverty and students with disabilities. Recent letters to the editor and blogs have called students “bozos” and “slackers.” Some bloggers have suggested that we really need to assess whether we can educate “all” students these days, given limited resources.
Let’s see: 1. Blame school leadership and school boards in communities across the state for not being “efficient” or having “long range plans; 2. Blame children because, hey, it’s easy. They don’t vote and they usually don’t blog; or 3. Focus on policymakers who created a flawed system and refuse to roll up their sleeves to make changes.
I know where my energies will go in the next few weeks.