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Re: Washington State Ed.

In a message dated 9/7/01 3:17:49 PM Pacific Daylight Time, aburke@VANSD.ORG

> ... "Fair" funding is tough in a world where everyone wants a bigger slice
> of the pie. I work for the Vancouver Public Schools.

Let's assume for a moment that there is plenty of money in public education.
I believe the actual number is 7% of the gross national product. Further,
let's imagine that the average teacher, parent and student has a desire to
teach, nurture and learn, as they should.

Now, let's take a look at educational administration and finance at the state
and local level in Washington. Common sense would dictate that facilities,
teaching and support services would be the first allocations. These are
indeed the largest portion of any district budget, but they certainly don't
seem to be the greatest concern to OSPI in this let them eat WASL age of
accountability. It's been estimated that a billion dollars has been expended
on this WASL monster and it's apendages. What has that bought for today's
students? Is it worth it to us all for the public to believe our schools are
failing miserably? (assuming this is the intended goal) Terry Bergeson says
it's a valid test and that $28 per child x 3 + mini WASL x 3 + science trial
x 2, etc....(now there's some WASL math fer ya) for its administration isn't
exorbitant, so I believe her. Yeah, uhu, I believe her, sure.......
Especially, when she sat at the dinner table with me one evening last spring
and told me that WASL has been given too much attention, but that she would
never say that to the A+ commission. (just between you and me and the rest
of cyberspace, I think the lady must spend quite a high percentage of that
triple digit state salary on makeup for all those faces she has)

Common sense would also suggest that the state of Washington understood and
made clear what services would be offered it's public school children. I
could be mistaken here, but the last I knew of, our state has failed to
define what it really considers it's "paramont duty" in any or all of this.
Our levy and bond, 60% required funding at the local level, matched by the
state at varying rates, at the whim of disfunctional legislators, spotted
owls and spawning salmon and initiative to the people con men, them that gots
will get, them that can't pass the #%$%&^ thing 8 years in a row shall lose,
is the biggest abuse of teachers and kids I've ever seen!

Of course in an ideal, Nirvana, Utopian, Paradisium society (or is that
paramesium -- I always get my science and creation mixed up), all schools
would communicate well with their communities, all parents would vote, all
citizens would support the education of children. In our me and mine never
have enough money to go around to all those credit card bills world, levies
and bonds fail, state education gurus enjoy the power of designated funding,
legislatures refuse to pass budgets until they force school districts to
break their own budget timelines and newspapers concentrate on the one
teacher who abuses special education children or has babies with a sixth
grader, rather than the thousands who come to work and give their best to
every child every day.

I don't believe everybody wants more than their share of the pie. I think
some people and educational entities need to be placed on a diet and told
they get no more dessert until everyone has been served a well balanced main
course. I believe that if reasonable legislation was in place and a large
percentage of the state and regional administration was eliminated, there
would be a livable resourse level in our buildings and districts, where the
kids live. I believe that there would be incentive to spend more wisely, if
some of the hoops and barrels were placed within jumping range. I believe
that because our education "leaders" believe their own tent preacher
salvation miracle message that we have gone straight from purgatory to
education hell! But whose sins are we paying for?

enough run on sentences and mixed metaphors for one email....

next time: The falacy of variable percentage state matching funds and the
reliance on real estate tax base for equitable local funding. Or did you
pick up those Penn state research papers at AERA too? Very interesting.