Mandates, philosophies drag on quality education
There are four unassailable facts about the sales tax referendum — a majority must vote in favor, increased revenues must be divided between schools and roads, the commission has no discretionary authority to divert funds, and Alcoa will keep all funds unless county voters check “yes.” For those who believe that debt is the greatest public challenge, an increase in taxes that won’t be spent directly in debt reduction is viewed suspiciously as a waste of more money. While the commission’s vote to move $625 thousand from roads to service debt reduction is encouraging, the public schools are ready to expand their budgets.
“It’s for our children’s future,” is their mantra. Appallingly fallacious ads from B-PACE, notwithstanding, voting “no” will not plunge our schools into dire consequences. The lion’s share of the county’s increase won’t be spent on desperately needed technology and materials, but on school plants, payroll, and those destructive regulations and social programs churned out by progressive “experts.”
A recent Heritage Foundation study confirms what numerous others have averred and what I know experientially from almost 50 years of teaching. There is no quantifiable relationship between educational achievement and increased budgets. Reforms that rid schools of unworkable mandates and social philosophies that are anathema to quality education will do far more to improve our schools than mere money. Those opposed to the sales tax are not against quality education, but they are for efficacious spending of limited resources for all our youth, whether educated in public, private and home school settings. Vote “no” to raise the sales tax, at least this election. Educational reforms first — then more money for the classrooms.
Douglas Fidler, Ph.D.
4033 Cave Mill Road
Maryville, TN 37804