Every time there’s a budget problem the weasels come out of the woodwork, each with a plan to gut a program they never thought should be funded in the first place. That’s how, step by step, we’ve gotten to the point where the arts in the public schools, not to mention physical education, has largely been eliminated.
You’ll never hear a top administrator say, “Wait. Drawing and music is too important to loose. All of us in the top 25% of the district salary range will take a pay cut for the next two years.” The current crisis is no exception. At least one Representative, though, David R. Obey, is going against the grain.
Obey wants to use almost a billion dollars to prevent what many feel might grow into massive teacher layoffs in the next fiscal year (Lawmaker wants to shift some ‘Race to the Top’ funds to prevent teacher layoffs). “When a ship is sinking,” Obey says with rare common sense, “you don’t worry about redesigning a room.”
Obey has yet to be successful; in part becuase his idea might delay the “Race to the Top” program designed to re-tool “No Child Left Behind.” Who wants large scale lay offs in the public schools? Perhaps a demoralized union would accept some of the uglier changes, like merit pay, proposed in the so-called reforms…