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A campaign is underway in my school district to pass a parcel tax (a fee per parcel of property owned in the district) to provide supplemental funding to public schools. There is no organized opposition to the proposed tax, but there is heated debate on the discussion forum for the local weekly newspaper. (It is anonymous, which seems to be fanning the flames, unfortunately.)

I've been trying to understand the opposition points of view. What I'm struggling with is whether it is worth my time to try to rebut their various arguments. Where is the third quartile here? Where are the people who are leaning against the tax, but could be convinced to support it?

Which opposition should I just write off as wingnuts?

Below the fold, read my summary of the true, the sad, the ignorant, and the insulting reasons for the opposition to this tax. Tell me, am I wrong to support it? If I'm right, how can I make the best case possible?

So, here's what I hear the opponents saying:

Everyone needs to do some belt-tightening.

True. these are tough times. The district is facing $9 million in cuts, and the proposed parcel tax will only raise about half that much. $2 million was cut last year. Belt-tightening is already underway.

I can't afford more taxes.

Sad, but certainly true for some. The average income in our community is over $100k, but there are layoffs here just like in other places. Home prices are high (California high) and so expenses can get out of control quickly when people find themselves without income.

I already pay too much in taxes -- also stated as, this school district already gets too much money per student.

This is just a values difference, isn't it? The district spends under $10,000 per student. More than the average California district, less than the average per pupil spending in the US. About the same as other districts in the area with high performance on standardized tests.

I'm suffering, so teachers should too.

Not an argument -- just an emotional gut reaction.

Teachers are unionized and therefore selfish.

Ignorant. We're all selfish -- and we can also make decisions that favor the common good.

There's also a values difference here. I start from the assumption that unions exist to protect their members from unfair actions by administrators. Others in the debate seem to start from the assumption that unions exist because people are greedy.

Teachers get three months off, and don't deserve raises.


First, there's the fact that summer vacation is only 8 weeks in our district. Then, there's the discounting of the work that gets done when students are not in class (setting up the classroom, preparing new teaching materials, attending graduate school classes or participating in continuing education...) Finally, there's the sense that anyone could do what a teacher does, since we've all been students for at least 13 years.

Infuriating, really. I could use some advice about calm ways to counter these arguments.

The administrators are crooks and I don't want them to get any more of my money.

This is the one I'm really struggling with. There seem to be people convinced that the superintendent is overpaid (he makes about $225k) and that administrators get reimbursed for lunch too often. No one seems to be acknowledging that the administrative staff is about to be cut by 25% -- they are calling for salary cuts for those who stay, even though they will all be doing more work than they are now.

I'd really like to refocus people on the fact that shooting down the tax proposal is not going to solve the problem of ineffective administrators (even if it really exists) and the program cuts that will occur if the tax is not passed will hurt children's learning.

Is it even worth trying? How would you approach the persuasive task of winning over people who are currently opposed to the parcel tax?

Originally posted to Ms Citizen on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 07:00 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  local newspaper websites... (8+ / 0-)

    attract the dregs of the internet.  There is no use in engaging anyone there.  If you can get some budget facts together and post them in a comment do that. Don't engage replies except with more cold facts unless you enjoy stirring up a bee hive of crazy.

    It would be better to write a letter to the editor, talk to friends and family, that kind of thing.

    We would never shoot nuclear weapons at Decepticons.

    by gooners on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 07:06:56 AM PDT

    •  Exactly (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      k9disc, Heiuan, gooners

      The clowns on our local paper's site are too absurd to be believed. These righties love to throw flames at teachers, claiming they are selfish and overpaid. One flame to throw back is to question if they value children at all. Teachers work so much overtime during the school year — no way do they work 40-hour weeks — and in many districts are already forced to spend thousands of their own dollars on supplies the districts can't afford — that they absolutely deserve the summers off, which many do not take, because their incomes dictate their working summer school or else they must take advanced courses to qualify for promotions or pay raises. "The administrators are crooks" is a cheap argument. Ask for specifics with proof. I can accuse you of being a child molester but I'd better have proof.

      The "I can't afford it" argument is harder. I'll confess that after years of automatically voting for school levies, I voted against the last one partly on this grounds. But my objection was more complex. Our town has been giving lavish abatements for new townhouse developments that cost many times what my modest 100-year-old condo is worth. I could not even dream of affording these. So when they send around the wide-eyed kids or beg you to do it "for the children," my response is "When you come back with a signed legal document  that the folks in the $400,000 luxury townhouses have volunteered to give up their abatements 'for the children', then I will do it." I just think the burden, which is onerous in my particular city, should be shared. Until they think of a way to end those abatements, I don't think it's fair to ask the poorest people in the smallest homes to shoulder most of the burden.

      Rob Portman: He sent your job to China.

      by anastasia p on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 07:32:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yeah, the abatements for BIG money is really (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Heiuan, gooners


        The Chamber of Commerce has destroyed Main Street America.

        I totally agree with your position, and with the idea that it is hard to articulate.

        There is a time when each of us has had enough and decide not to play anymore.

        I want Democrats to win, but can't vote for them all the time for much the same reason you did not vote for the levy.

        Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

        by k9disc on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 07:49:20 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  they have us held hostage... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          "give us what we want or your economy gets it"

          Local politicians are often unequipped to deal with business people and developers, or they are business people or developers.  I hear "give them what they want or they will locate in [insert neighboring county, township, etc.] instead of here".   And there always is a place that will give whatever developers and corporations want, and feel nothing about slogging the burden back onto the middle class.

          We would never shoot nuclear weapons at Decepticons.

          by gooners on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 08:03:06 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Totally agree! (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Heiuan, gooners

            We are slaves to the economy now.

            Do you notice that the more we save the economy the more we euthanize our community?

            It's fucking sad, man.

            It's us or them, and nobody, I mean nobody of any political consequence says it or acts against it.

            We are not powerless - it's our money that fuels their profits, our labor, our infrastructure, our laws.

            We emasculate ourselves by playing their game under their rules.

            We should just be happy to get a couple scraps.

            Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

            by k9disc on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 08:10:04 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I definitely have noticed... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              k9disc, Heiuan

              to save our economy, we have to spend millions of public dollars expanding this country road to a four-lane highway to serve that monstrosity of a shopping center on that prime agricultural land which will be called 'Ye Olde Towne Centre', will receive tax incentives, and will be replacing the actual old town center and all the jobs it once held.  

              We would never shoot nuclear weapons at Decepticons.

              by gooners on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 08:27:31 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Well, pretty soon we got to get together. (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Heiuan, gooners

                I have seen a marked increase in people interested in taking on the Corporate Agenda here and on the tubes in general.

                Real live breathing people are open in face to face conversations as well.

                I'd put us at a solid 10% of the populace with another 30-40% being capable of sloughing off the big lie with good info and articulation.

                People like us have to get together and develop a megaphone to challenge and combat the corporate media.

                I've thought of putting together a Human Agenda caucus here, but I've got little clout or pull here. I'm a bit off the reservation when it comes to the confines of Corporate Debate.


                Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

                by k9disc on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 09:11:17 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Flesh out your ideas, write a cohesive (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  k9disc, gooners

                  People like us have to get together and develop a megaphone to challenge and combat the corporate media.

                  I've thought of putting together a Human Agenda caucus here, but I've got little clout or pull here. I'm a bit off the reservation when it comes to the confines of Corporate Debate

                  introductory diary, and ask folks if they're interested in setting up something like this. Make sure to mention to folks to hotlist the diary so that they get notice when you post another one on the same topic.  Remember to set your diary tags so that they accurately cover what you are discussing.

                  Sometimes the hardest part of organizing is just taking the first steps to try to corral enough people in one place to even talk about the concept of an idea.  But it can be done.  Witness the several successful diary series that have sprung up on this site.

                  The apocalypse will require substantial revision of all zoning ordinances. - Zashvill Political compass -7.88 -7.03.

                  by Heiuan on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 09:26:39 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Yeah, but the time required to put something (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Heiuan, gooners

                    really good together, something compelling and emotive is not there.

                    It's also very hard work.

                    I don't think I'm up to it solo.

                    I'm tired of working on big lofty projects solo it's not very effective.

                    Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

                    by k9disc on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 09:37:50 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  ::nods:: (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      k9disc, Ms Citizen, gooners

                      Yep.  Labors of love are incredibly time intensive.  One way you could get around that limitation is to do what many of the serial diary folks do:  share the writing/research burden with several authors taking a turn.

                      Heh...though the saying "herding cats" is running through my head as I type this.

                      The apocalypse will require substantial revision of all zoning ordinances. - Zashvill Political compass -7.88 -7.03.

                      by Heiuan on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 09:52:56 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

  •  Agreed (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Heiuan, Massconfusion

    There is usually a core of support from the group/individual who proposed this additional parcel tax. That group will have some sort of organized way to support the inititiative.  Otherwise, keep it simple and you'll avoid a lot irritation and frustration.

    •  Oh, yes, there is... (0+ / 0-)

      ... a formal group taking action to support the proposal. And I will be volunteering with them. We went to the first rally this past weekend, and we will be walking the neighborhoods to encourage neighbors to support the tax.

      My strategy so far has been to provide facts when posters to the forum provide misinformation. I'm not engaging the infuriating stuff.

  •  I think you should wade in and hack the shit down (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bustacap, Heiuan, Ms Citizen

    just as you did in this piece, perhaps with a little more fleshing out - not much though, or you'll be a blowhard.

    If you really have guts, call out the anonymity of the site and post with your real name (be careful though - crazy nutters and all...). This gives you heightened credibility and puts them on the hot seat of courage.

    I destroyed a CATO guy on my local news forum - DE. Stroyed him. He was the editor of one of their mags, and I tore him down quickly and efficiently.

    Of course, the wingnuts never bought it, but the regular people there did.

    Just know that you are not arguing with the wingnut, you are speaking to the jury.

    I'll take a look at the specifics of your questions and see if I can help out.


    Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

    by k9disc on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 07:18:23 AM PDT

    •  thanks, Ron. (0+ / 0-)

      I have been posting facts. Like when someone wrote that the superintendent actually made $500,000 per year, I disputed that!

      I think I'm going to switch my efforts to letters to the editor, though. More widespread readership.

      •  Can't argue with that. (0+ / 0-)

        The CATO guy was a regular LTE writer, and surely got more play than I did in the forum.

        good luck, but remember that facts are weaker than emotion. Identify the values elicited with the phrase then turn them your way and talk to the jury.


        Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

        by k9disc on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 10:40:24 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  facts are weaker than emotion (0+ / 0-)

          Can you write more about that?

          I get really fed up with the opponents who are pushing suspicion, distrust, and nonsense about teachers, so I try to avoid emotions and stay fact-based. Am I making a bad call?

          •  You should read some George Lakoff. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Ms Citizen

            It's not the facts, it's how they're framed.

            Tax Relief -

            Taxes are an affliction.
            He who adds taxes is bad.
            He who decreases taxes is good.

            So when you go in with your facts, they're viewed through that frame.

            Your facts that exist within that frame will be taken into account, but any of your facts that do not exist within that frame will bounce off, and have no effect.

            Tax Relief

            The frame 'Tax Relief' is based on on several different values: Fairness, Liberty, Freedom, Opportunity, Security etc.

            These values are all being trampled on by taxes.

            It is unfair to take my money and give it to others.

            He who takes taxes from me takes away my liberty and freedom.

            I am losing opportunity because of high taxes and they are making me not secure.

            Progressive Taxation
            There are values for our side, for Progressive taxation too:
            Fairness - It is only fair for the wealthy to pay more, they have more to give.

            Responsibility - It is your responsibility to pay taxes for the common good.

            Opportunity - Taxes give us the opportunities of a 1st world society.

            Security - Taxes protect us.

            These are two totally different frames of reference and the facts are processed entirely differently within each frame.

            So in the Conservative Frame, Taxing the wealthy is horrible, as you are punishing them for their success.

            It is unfair to tax the rich, successful players by the rules, than it is to tax them more than lazy poor folk. (fairness)

            They played by the rules and you are robbing them of their liberty. (liberty)

            What kind of future do i have to look forward to if you are going to tax me like that. (opportunity)

            As soon as you mention taxes, that's the frame most people have. So immediately your facts are perceived through that lens.

            "It's only 2 million and the school needs $9mil."

            "So, that's 2 million of my money. It's not my responsibility. It's not fair."

            "It is your responsibility because you live in America and Americans provide public schooling to our children. Public schooling has been a huge part of our country's success! What is not fair is that we are underfunding our kids by 80%. The schools might have to close, man!"

            Bang! Frame change. Facts resonate. They mean something.  

            All of it flipped on it's head!

            Progressive Frame
            The progressive taxation frame is entirely different:

            In the Progressive Taxation frame, taxes are a duty, your responsibility to your fellow citizens to help us all live in a 1st world society. (responsibility)

            It is only fair to have the rich pay more, they have more to give and have used the most of our common resources to get there - they have the most benefits.

            If nobody pays taxes, we won't have anything as a country -  no roads, no protection from fraud and abuse, no justice, no public safety, no education. (opportunity + security)

            This is a hard sell pretty frequently largely because the Democrats abandoned this stance with McGovern. It took a while for them to finally give it up, probably the late 80s, and then Clinton came in and fucked it all up.

            "The Era of Big Government is Over!"
            "It's the economy, Stupid!"
            "Tax Relief"

            He essentially ratified and codified the Tax Relief frame, and abandoned the Progressive Taxation Frame.

            blah, blah, blah... It's too long already, but read some George Lakoff, get the books - don't listen to anyone that shits on this post or on Lakoff.

            You are already doing a very good job of this. With some more direction, you'll mop up the floor with the nutters.


            Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

            by k9disc on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 03:15:25 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Great primer... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Ms Citizen

            Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

            by k9disc on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 03:18:29 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Middle-Class is Already Overtaxed (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Heiuan, HappyTexan

    Let's not forget what President Obama said during the campaign.  Our working and middle-class HHs have experienced stagnant wages during the last eight years.  That's why he promised them (all HouseHolds earning less than US$ 250K a year) a tax break.

    So, how can states and municipalities come back and raise taxes on those same households?

    If the school district wants more money, fine.  But just don't increase taxes on any household earning less than US$ 250K.

    As for the superintendent making about 225K, I'm sorry, but he/she is overpaid.  My company (investment bank) just laid off many analysts making a base half that amount, and given my experience with superintendents, any one of them would do a MUCH better job.

    Why can't people realize that working for the government, any government, is akin to public service.  Robert Rubin left Goldman making tens of millions of dollars, and worked for President Clinton for only US$ 150K a year.  

    You ask for advice.

    I'll give you some.

    You want more support?  Have the superintendent agree to a PERMANENT salary of no more than US$ 100K a year.  

    Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project.

    by PatriciaVa on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 07:21:37 AM PDT

    •  This is a serious issue (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Heiuan, debedb, whaddaya

      Every single penny of "tax cut" or "stimulus check" I got during the Bush years was eaten up in skyrocketing property taxes, mostly for our schools — and thensome. My balance was negative. This is what I think people don't understand about those Bush tax cuts, and where they really did damage. Everything is interrelated, and it's like dominos. If the federal government has less money to give to the states, they cut funding to the local districts and then they have to come to you for a tax increase. I left the Bush years paying way more in taxes than I started — and I have a very modest income. This is how they shift the burden to those of us at the bottom. I got NO tax cut at all from the Bush years, none, ada, zip.

      Rob Portman: He sent your job to China.

      by anastasia p on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 07:35:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It goes further than that, anastasia... (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Heiuan, debedb, Ms Citizen, feeny, whaddaya

        How much is your healthcare monthly?
        $500, $700, $1000?

        I wouldn't know, don't have any, can't afford it.

        $6-10K per year for healthcare on a $50k salary is an extra 8.3-20% worth of taxation, that gets you rising premiums, co-pays and threats of losing coverage.

        If federal cuts support of local, then the local people have to do it themselves - it's called Conservatism, and it's nothing but failed policies for large interconnected societies.

        The whole goal is to make each man an island, to make each small municipality an island, so they are easier to exploit. That is conservative 'liberty'.

        How does one man stand against Aetna insurance?

        How does a municipality stand up to Exxon (who's quarterly profits are more than the yearly budget of the State of Michigan... I'd read that again if I were you...)

        So, that's the goal, anastasia - take away our protection, make us pay the private cartels, and allow us to be gobbled up for profit.

        God Bless America!

        Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

        by k9disc on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 07:57:01 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Why should the superintendent... (0+ / 0-)

      who has a PhD, have to accept a salary below the average for this community?

  •  I have a long term suggestion, not helpful for (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ms Citizen, whaddaya

    the immediate initiative vote, but good for promoting future support of schools and additional property taxation for them.

    I come from a community that regularly votes to support property tax levies for the public school system.  We have some of the highest property taxes in Ohio and also one of the best school systems.  Apparently there is a direct correlation between parental involvement in schools and support of local school tax increases.  This is even broken down by neighborhood in our community.  The neighborhoods where parents live close enough to walk their kids to elementary school are the same neighborhoods that get the most parental participation in the school and, in turn, that have the highest voter support for school levies.  So one way to get your community to support future property taxes for schools is to work to get parents more involved in volunteering in the local schools.  This is, of course, a win/win situation as the schools benefit from the participation as well as the additional revenue.

    Nothing amuses me more than the easy manner with which everybody settles the abundance of those who have a great deal less than themselves. --Jane Austen

    by feeny on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 07:29:33 AM PDT

    •  I think you are right (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      k9disc, whaddaya

      My Ohio community has the second highest property taxes in our county, after Shaker Heights, and I think community activism is key. I didn't vote for the last levy, but that's only because I have fairness issues, not because I think it's not a valuable allocation of our money.

      Rob Portman: He sent your job to China.

      by anastasia p on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 07:36:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Administrators (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Sorry, but I have to accept the argument that schools are top-heavy with overpaid, underworked administrators.

    $225K seems a lot of money for a superintendent, but I don't even think that's the problem.

    How many assistant superintendents, deputy superintendents, and coordinators of this-and-that are there?  If a third of them disappeared tomorrow, what would be the actual consequences for quality of instruction?

    •  Not as many as you think (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Heiuan, Ms Citizen, whaddaya

      This may be a problem with some school districts, but it's another cheap myth argument that isn't as true as school-system detractors would have you believe.

      Rob Portman: He sent your job to China.

      by anastasia p on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 07:37:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Administrators are first on the cut list (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Over 25 percent of administrators will no longer have jobs by the end of June. Since the parcel tax will only yield enough revenue to counter half of the cuts from the state budget, none of those folks will be hired back.

      California has one of the biggest ratios of students per administrator when compared with other states -- that means districts are already working very lean in terms of administration.

  •  In my former district (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    k9disc, Ms Citizen, whaddaya

    When I was teaching, an outside group came and did some consulting and assisted with the passage of a levy.  They did so because the district I worked for had been targeted as a district with a very tiny population of people who were successfully preventing the passage of funding measures in the district.  

    It turned out that there were about 15 people who had resources and access to small local press who.  These people were basically single-handedly preventing levies from passing.  

    It might be useful to find out exactly who has paid for ad buys and look into those individuals.  

    "Most of them arrived via public transit."

    by otto on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 07:42:07 AM PDT

  •  From a different perspective (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    k9disc, Heiuan

    A few years ago, our school district held a bond issue election.  The money was to be used to tear down 6 elementary schools, and only rebuild 3 mega schools.  Many of us disliked the mega school idea, yet few were willing to put their names on a list against it.

    There was also money for an indoor football practice field.  Indoor football practice?  It would not be available for any other sports, and would sit unused most of the year.

    Anyway, with quite a bit of work, three of us fought the bond, and we won.  By a resounding margin, the bond issue was defeated.

    The next year a more reasonable package was put together.  Six schools were replaced with six schools.  No indoor football field.  More computers in classrooms, etc.

    My point is, anyone can affect how an election is decided.  Just be prepared for a LOT of work.

    If you want to know the real answer: Just ask a Mom.

    by tacklelady on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 07:45:13 AM PDT

  •   Values, values values... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Everyone needs to do some belt-tightening.

    Fairness - Responsibility

    Belt tightening, yes, this will only raise a couple million and the belt will tighten. We'll go 15% of the way to making sure the schools stay running.

    There will be belt tightening.

    There's a difference between belt tightening and abandonment, though.

    Our children shouldn't have to pay for the mistakes of selfish adults.

    Fairness - responsibilty

    I can't afford more taxes.


    Yes, it is tough these days, but we can't afford to have our schools shut down.

    Can you afford more child care?

    Can our community afford thousands of out of school and parents throwing their money and their children's futures away to have them babysat?

    With no schools, Childcare is going to be very expensive.

    Opportunity - Responsibility

    I already pay too much in taxes -- also stated as, this school district already gets too much money per student.


    Everybody thinks they pay too much in taxes.

    But we are living in a time of low taxation. When you went to school taxes were higher.

    Your schools were better funded because your parents did the responsible thing for their children and our country and supported public education.

    Did you pay for your football helmet? Did you pay for your schoolbooks (not sure about your situation)?

    Times have changed.

    I'm suffering, so teachers should too.
    Shared Sacrifice

    And kids? Our future leaders?

    Because you're suffering we should all suffer too? Maybe we should all just quit and suffer?

    Don't be a hater, it's unbecoming.

       Teachers are unionized and therefore selfish.


       Teachers get three months off, and don't deserve raises.

    Teachers work hard. They deal with 30 kids per hour 8 hours a day - kids that don't really want to be there.

    It's not an easy job.

    And teachers are unionized because it is easy to take advantage of them and so they can protect themselves from overzealous parents who believe their child is above reproach.

    Without the union, do you think that Administration would stand up for a teacher that disciplined or punished a child?

    Teachers are kind of like judges. Sometimes they do things that piss a few people off - it's part of the job. They need to feel secure, as if someone has their back to do their job.

    The administrators are crooks and I don't want them to get any more of my money.

    Well there's a lot of that going on these days.

    Have you been to a school board meeting?

    Perhaps you'd like to run for office?

    Did you stop banking because you don't want to give the crooks anymore money?

    Stop driving?

    How about eating?

    Of course not.

    The difference is that you have a say in the way our education is run - all of us do.

    If there is fraud going on, guess what? It's your fault for not stopping it.

    We have the power to control education, just as Conservatives have always asked for, but with that power comes responsibility.

    If you're not willing to be responsible, perhaps we should just let the national Government take over.

    Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

    by k9disc on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 07:46:33 AM PDT

    •  I have been encouraging those who oppose (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      to run for school board. Of course, they won't even reveal their names!

      One citizen spoke in opposition at the school board meeting, and the audience applauded politely -- even the teachers who are receiving preliminary notices of layoff. Yet those who post on the anonymous forums say they're afraid to express opposition publically, because teachers might retaliate against their kids.

  •  As a Democrat I see the value in every dollar (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    spent on education as a positive thing in the abstract.

    As the caregiver and homework czar of a third grader, I see the reality of outsourced, teach to the test expensive standardized insanity and criminally stupid teachers and administrators.

    I want desperately to support public schools over charter and private schools but the rage engendered by dealing with teachers who can't spell, leave critical info off of homework assignments, promise family letters and support documentation the district is already paying for and then never sending it, drives me damn near to revolt.

    My property tax assessment has doubled in the last 6 years due to the backyard condos and extensive redevelopment in my neighborhood. The condo owners have very few school age children and since their 400 to 600k condos and townhouses are on very tiny lots (2 standard lots subdivided into 6), they pay a fraction of the tax burden I pay.


    The biggest threat to America is not communism, it's moving America toward a fascist theocracy... -- Frank Zappa

    by NCrefugee on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 07:52:57 AM PDT

    •  In California the opposite is true (0+ / 0-)

      anyone who has owned a home longer than their neighbor has a cap on how much their property tax could be raised per year (I forget if it's one percent or two percent.) Even if the assessed value of your home doubles, your property tax cannot excalate out of control.

      As a new homebuyer in this area, I pay more than double in property taxes what my next-door neighbors pay for comparable homes.

  •  Superintendent salaries (0+ / 0-)

    $225K struck me as a little high, so I did a little research. The superintendent of my town (a suburb of Boston, probably in the median of the wealth scale, with 2400 students in the school system) receives $161,000. He is leaving to go to a nearby town with a larger system (about 8,000 students) that pays about $200,000. So I guess $225,000 is not out of line if it's a larger school system in an expensive area of the country.

    I guess my advice would be to recast the additional funding not as a benefit to the teachers but as a benefit to the students. If the teachers aren't paid enough, they will leave, and it's the students who will suffer. If there isn't money for books and other teaching materials, again, it's the students who will suffer.

    "I was actually born on Krypton and sent here by my father Jor-El to save the Planet Earth."

    by lesliet on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 08:43:27 AM PDT

  •  I wrote about our School bond election (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ms Citizen

    A few days ago in my diary.

    We are experiencing similar opposition.

    What was finally effective for me was to post around pictures of the schools (this is a building bond).  They are difficult to argue about (in fact, no one has tried) and hit home on an emotional level.

    If this is a tax increase for funding teachers and educational programs it could get a bit trickier.  But I do recommend you get out of the cycle of trying to respond to the details of what the opposition is saying.  Step forward with an emotional story or picture about what this money will do and why it is needed.  Do you have an overcrowded classroom, or a program that is going without a teacher?  Try to find an emotional way to connect with the voters.

    Once I started doing that, the middle of the road people came out of the woodwork and said they supported the bond.  Of course, results start coming in today so we'll see how well that worked.

    by jenyum on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 06:01:20 PM PDT

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