Published 12:00 am, Sunday, September 24, 2017
America is no longer in the “Guns ‘n’ Butter” Sixties when every entity, every group, was awarded a piece of the (ever-expanding) pie. Back then we took fistfuls of greenbacks and hurled it at every problem — real and imagined — in sight. Whatever villain our Great Society was “ warring” against — Vietnam, poverty, drugs, racism, what have you.
Today, competing factions have multiplied along with their membership, their “rights,” their demands. And the fat we happily relied on to grease the squeakiest of wheels is gone.
Desperate times call for deliberative measures. Thoughtful measures. New-model thinking. What academics call a “Paradigm Shift.” From now on just say “No!” to big ticket items that have traditionally been regarded as sacred, untouchable, protected, sensitive, political. Expenditures that have seemingly become automatic in our state and local school budgets.
Our Public Schools: Enrollment is either flat or declining in suburban schools. In city schools not so much due to steady influx of newcomers.
Consolidating smaller districts
Repurposing schools, scaling back rebuilds
Dialing back “tech,” bringing back books
Recruiting volunteers to fill academic/non-academic positions
Redefining “essential.” Student/cellphone recharging nooks, organic food, safe spaces, reflecting pools, door-to-door chauffeuring — really?
Underfunded, unfunded state and federal mandates. Why comply?
Special Education: Why so many kids? What’s working?
Physically/Mentally Challenged: How efficacious has mainstreaming proven to be?
Free-For-All Health Care/Public School Education: Supreme Law of the Land
Entitlements, Services, Programs: Enablers become “institutionalized” (Head Start) despite dismal track record.
Magnet Schools: Hands off? Then no hand-outs.
A Confusion of Community Colleges: Another Swamp?
Open Admissions: Students coming ‘n’ going costs us
Hiring/Firing/Underutilizing faculty costs us
A mishmash of “degrees,” certificates, majors, subjects, requirements, resources costs us
A campus-under-construction every few miles costs us
A minuscule number of June graduates costs us
Filling empty seats with “pay less” New Yorkers costs us
Teaching what high school “forgot” costs us
Too many “Chiefs” earning six-figure salaries costs us
The author is a Republican candidate for the Bethel Board of Education.