New Year? More of the same of last year I'm afraid...

In response to the announcement that education will be spared from budget cuts, and with much respect to our Governor and spokeswoman Richardson, I do not think that any of our school districts have additional "surplus" funds to draw upon for this next school year. Many are fiscally strained beyond the breaking point, relying on PTAs, PTOs and the community to offset costs. Far too many of our school districts are utilizing stimulus funds, which will eventually dry up. And who suffers as a result? The children of the commonwealth. When a headline reads "spares" it implies that it is a magnamous gesture, a repreve. Shouldn't education always be the last item cut? If you don't educate your students, then you won't have educated adults. I know that I am often told when we as a PTA go to Frankfort that the funding isn't there. Guess what. It has never been there. We want our children to be competitive in a global market, but we are unable and unwilling to make the needed sacrifices to ensure that they have a quality education at all levels. We want our students to stay in the Commonwealth for post secondary education, but we are a state that legally permits students to drop out of school at 16. We want our students to be the next generation of movers and shakers, but we do very little to stop the spread of juvenile diabetes and obesity, which impacts attendance at school (if you are too unhealthy to attend then you aren't getting an education). Finally, our Governor has said no cuts to education, then cut $20million. Literally the next day. I had wanted to resolve to be a kindler, gentler PTAPEEP this 2010, but this really whomps. My children will just have to endure another year of my "edurant" (what my family calls my rantings on the state of education in our state) and I will have to continue chewing on antacids to stop my ulcer from burning. So when I go to Frankfort next month and attend the annual KY Kids Day at the capital, I will be polite, but firm. I don't know how we as a state and as a nation can keep undercutting education. How we can keep saying that someone else will fund it? The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is not going to be the Fairy Godparents to every state and offset the escalating costs of educating our children. Our families, our teachers, who pull funds out of their pockets to help put paper, pencils, books in classrooms will not be able to do it. The Race to the Top funds, of which not every state will receive by the way, are only a small bandaid on a gaping wound. Education is broken. It is time we collectively stand up and say, my child counts and I want them to have the very best in education, whether they attend a home school, a public school or a private school. Every child deserves a chance, instead of just being spared.

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