Tuesday, March 13, 2012

This Budget Blows: But We Can Do Something About it

Having served a couple of years a while back as the McKinley Elementary PTA president was a rewarding and eye opening experience. While the fund raising skills of the McKinley community remain strong and lever forward every year toward new heights, unfortunately, the budget malady affecting our wonderful school metastasizes across the SFUSD and our State in what seems to me to be a clear message from the good people of California: public schools don't matter & are no longer worth funding. 

If you look at the Governor's proposed budget, Mr. Brown is effectively holding a shotgun to the heads of our children in the form of a tax increasing ballot measure. If Mr. Brown's measure doesn't pass in November, the trigger means even more drastic cuts to the already threadbare budget from which they are asking our Principal and School Site Council to eek out whatever quality they can.  To get a feel for why this is a problem, just ask yourself one short question: How likely is it that in this politically charged climate that the people of California will vote to increases their taxes in November?

Although our State used to be at the top of the rankings, by many measures about a rough thirty years ago, we are now at or near the bottom and lowering the bar for what would be considered a dismal and declining set of priorities that put us on a pace to beat Mississipi and other low ranking States to even lower rankings (and sinking) in a number of areas.  This is not a partisan issue.  This is an issue that, should we demand it, could be solved in very short order by making some very difficult budgetary decisions that restore the necessary funding that, lo so many years ago, brought us to the top of the educational heap to put us back in the spotlight as a role model for how a State can educate its children.  It's a matter of making our priorities known and demanding better from our government "leaders."

While the rest of the country is distracted by endless debates about what's wrong with government, we the people of the Great State of California, the good city of San Francisco, and humble members of a wonderful McKinley school community must stand up and lead those who claim to lead our government before they blow it for our children and the children that come thereafter. On Thursday morning, 15 March, before school starts, many of us will brave whatever weather comes our way, and blow bubbles on the corner of 14th and Castro (starting at 7:30 AM), as a symbol of our grave and serious dissatisfaction of the fiscal calamity facing our school.  With no irony and complete intent, this action is taking place on a day when many of our great teachers may be issued pink slips, effectively firing them for yet another year in a row, and in solidarity with schools across the State, we are standing up for children, for public education, and for what used to be a shining example for the world of what was right with public schooling and shouting as loudly as possible in the hopes that some legislative Horton hear's our voices, loudly, clearly, and with irrevocable courage, comes to the aid our our children and the other fiscally foundering schools across this state and rectifies the intractable mess that our current budgetary malaise is. 

Our message is simple - "this budget blows!" We demand better. The Future of California depends on it.

If not us, who? If not now, when?

Come join us, Thursday morning, on the corner of 14th and Castro, at 7:30 AM before the opening bell. This may well be twenty minutes that change the tide and the invert the damage done.  

Regards, and I hope to see you all on Thursday Morning.