Save Hunter’s teacher – vote yes on Prop 100

Driving home from my student teaching practicum today, I saw this:

Kira Friedman, 7 and her best friend, Rachel Omiecinski, also 7, trying to encourage drivers at the Tangerine Road-Rancho Vistoso Boulevard intersection to vote in favor of Prop. 100
Kira Friedman, 7 and her best friend, Rachel Omiecinski, also 7, trying to encourage drivers at the Tangerine Road-Rancho Vistoso Boulevard intersection to vote in favor of Prop. 100

and this:

Austin Witt, 10, and Hunter Volturo, 8, dressed appropriately in '60s regalia for the Vote Yes on Prop 100 protest. Austin's teacher was one of many who received pink slips last week in the Amphitheater School District.
Austin Witt, 10, and Hunter Volturo, 8, dressed appropriately in '60s regalia for the Vote Yes on Prop 100 protest. Austin's teacher was one of many who received pink slips last week in the Amphitheater School District.

And I think the sign that said it best and said it all, was this:

prop 100 protest 006

This is a no-brainer, folks. Vote for the 1-cent sales tax increase on May 18. For once, please, help me have a reason to defend Arizona besides the great weather. And full disclosure here: I’ve got a horse in this race (see below for even more ranch metaphors!) Regular readers will recall that after being axed by Gannett with the closure of the Tucson Citizen newspaper, I fell into a three-month fantasy land of trying to make real money as a freelance writer before taking advantage of some career counseling and discovering the only other career that could hold my attention – and to which I might have something to offer – would be teaching.

Ergo, I entered a teacher-preparation program, and am currently in the final two classes and scheduled to began a teacher internship in the fall. If Prop. 100 fails, there will be at least 30 percent fewer teachers to mentor the hundreds (and I do mean hundreds) of student teachers scheduled to do their internships next fall. Without the internships, no teacher certification. And while I hold no fantasies about being employed in this state, the certification will help me get a job in another country until Arizona sees the light of day where education is concerned. (I actually wrote a story about this trend when I was the higher ed reporter at the Citizen: The college-educated leaving Arizona because there are no jobs. I’ve become my own statistic. Sigh.)

All that said, I’ve long wrote in favor of public education funding because I believe in the system (my entire family is a product of public education), and I’d be writing in favor of Prop. 100 even if I wasn’t in the teacher prep program. So, why should you vote for the temporary sales-tax increase? Well, as the dapperly-dressed Hunter said so eloquently, “If all the teachers are gone, who is going to teach us?” He then explained that not only had his teacher taught him all about the respiratory system this year, but also multiplication – which is normally not addressed until late third grade – “Because we are just doing so good in math!” He grin was so large when he said this it made my cheeks hurt. He had a can-you-believe-it look in his eye that was priceless.

So that’s reason #1- Kids don’t educate themselves and a classroom of 40 to 50 students is not one in which anyone is going to learn much of anything; we need the funding to keep the student-teacher ratio in legal limits. Otherwise, you have little more than paid babysitting.

Reason #2 is tied to that: We don’t need any more unemployed workers in this town than we already have. Trust me on this, all you commenters who HAVE jobs and want to hold on to your measly 1 extra penny-per-dollar instead of giving it to the increased sales tax: It is as hot as Hades out here in Laid-Off Land. Heck, you don’t even have to trust me on it; call up any of the 200+ workers Raytheon laid off yesterday.

Reason #3 is safety: If you think we’ve got problems with street-kids and gangs now, just wait until a whole new boatload of them are crammed into overcrowded classrooms. Ditto Reason #4: There’s a connection between a lack of education and criminal activity. You may think that you don’t want the government having any more of your money, but you want the criminal element having it instead? Pay for schools or pay for more prisons – either way, you’re going to pay. Don’t delude yourself into thinking that money will stay with you. Which leads us to …

Reason #5: The Greater Good. Public education is in the Greater Good; the higher a society’s educational attainment, the better off that society is. Sure there are those family-money rich folks who made it on ranches or by the sweat of their brow, but those days are over. Societies rise and fall with technology now and you don’t learn that on a horse surveying the Back Forty. You learn it in a classroom. But there’s no such thing as a free lunch. It amazes me how the public always cries for schools to produce more graduates, better educated graduates, deeper thinkers, inventors, etc., and yet the public doesn’t want to provide those classrooms with teachers, or technology or any kind of reasonable support. You want less crime? You want the U.S. to be competing with the rest of the world and kicking their collective fannies? Pony up some money for the public schools.

In the U.S., we ALL share the burden of improving society. You don’t just get to think about yourself here – we’re not the wild, wild West anymore. You need to think about what is the Greater Good. (And I can’t help but adding this since this is technically a God Blog: Don’t even think about wearing the mantle of Christian if you aren’t working for the Greater Good. You can’t pull it off and still read all the words in red. That’s my theory on why Glenn Beck cries so much: it’s hard to justify the nasty things he says with his argument that he’s Christian.)

TUSD recently lost its superintendent, a young woman with great vision and foresight where education – especially in urban areas – is concerned. Why? At least partially because Arizona’s Legislature is tight fisted and there are bunches of voters who seem to think being miserly is the Bright Road to Freedom (protected by your no-permit-needed concealed weapons) for this state. She left because she doesn’t want her children to be raised in an environment with so little regard for education. I’ve told people wanting to move to Arizona the same thing: If you’ve got kids, don’t come here unless you can afford private school. The public schools have lived on shoestrings for years, and the only people who don’t believe that are folks who have never spent any real time – by which I mean a week or more – in a classroom, e.g. some of the blog commenters, many of the right-wing radio hosts, and the majority of the Maricopa County representatives.

Voters have a chance to do something good for once here, and to stick it to the legislators who think that the only answer to hard times is to make them harder. Vote yes on Prop. 100 May 18. It’s one cent on the dollar – and yes, I know, I know, it seems sales tax is too much already – but it is desperately needed. Just ask Hunter Volturo.

Advertisements

16 comments

  1. Ah…Yes. And here they all come out of the woodwork from the left and the right. “Vote no, because voting yes will endorse what the legislature has done in the past.” Well, the real problem is that the state has an inappropriate funding model (as an aside, I think I prefer to say that the funding mix is inappropriate and not diverse enough). For the past 30 years, the Republicans have made it impossible to raise taxes without resorting to punting to the public to relieve them of the politically dangerous responsibility of having to actually, you know,  show leadership.
    The Feds won’t come to save the state. Which is fine, since I’ve grown tired of trying to save people from the consequences of their own hypocrisy.  (The irony, of course, is that it’s the success of social welfare programs that have made new ones so hard to defend – unemployment insurance and social security are perfect examples.)
    The cry of “don’t tax me – ever” is the latest politically correct expression of the baby boomers’ utter irresponsible self-centeredness.
    The one cent increase is a reasonable, politically pragmatic, response to the fiscal irresponsibility and cowardice of the current legislature.
    Though, I suppose those who are ideologically driven won’t be happy until the next great depression really occurs and the current order collapses…Since that, I guess they believe, is the only way that they will be allowed to actually have any influence over anything.
    It must blow to be on the wrong side of history (or at least caught on the wrong side in a time when dominance shifts from one view to another). On the other hand, I do think we genuinely need to address the reasons that so many people feel as alienated as they do. Sadly, this can’t be done at the moment, since anyone who asks will either be given the same tired answers I hear every evening on Fox news…Or will find that any of those so alienated don’t feel that they can believe anything anyone tells them…. Thus we’re subjected to all of the uninformed views of the Federal Government as “totalitarian,” the idea that Timothy McVeigh was a hero…that, somehow, if we can just stop the “loss” of “our culture” to the “flood” of illegal immigrants, all our social and fiscal problems will disappear (because, you know, white folk don’t commit crimes and poor uninsured white folk never show up in emergency rooms) and that President Obama is a foreign born Muslim fundamentalist terrorist who attends a radical Christian church.
    I used to find faith to be an admirable quality. I now find the credulity it engenders to be annoying.
    If I were you, Renee – considering the kick in the ass the Governor just gave to our retail and hospitality industries – I would get out of the state. (Yes, it is logical that Mexicans – you know, the rich ones who spend all their money in the malls up here in Arizona – would see SB  1070 for the big KEEP OUT message it is to them…Which means we’ll probably have to raise the sales tax again to make up for the revenues lost there).
    I hear Washington has nice summers. And Canada has a national health care system – that even Sarah Palin’s family used.

  2. What happened to Renee’s column? It’s no longer up there in the links under “Life.”

Comments are closed.