Yesterday I asked to see what the CEA’s reaction would be to the “First Class Education for Colorado” proposal that would put 65 cents of every dollar of current education expenditures into the classroom. Well, the Rocky Mountain News got the scoop on that one this morning:
“The Colorado Education Association, the union of teachers, views the proposal as more political than educational, spokeswoman Deb Fallin said.
“What is valuable for kids is a lot bigger than what Rep. Stengel is proposing,” Fallin said. “It includes counselors, school nurses, teacher training and curricular development.
“School counselors are very key to student achievement and success and to reducing the dropout level.”
Interesting analysis. Ask the average parent on the street if they think funds for counselors, teacher training, and curricular development could fit somewhere into the 35 percent of the substantial K-12 education budgets? A swift and clever dodge by a teachers’ union that doesn’t want to address the essentials of this reform plan. CEA wants to remain the “sugar daddy” for teachers in the state – if somebody else comes up with a creative plan to hire more teachers and pay them more, a plan that could engender public support without raising taxes or spending, then the union has to be against it. Plain and simple. Their members might not “need” them any more.
So, as this issue unfolds, look at CEA to try to paint the plan as part of a vast “Too Extreme for Colorado” right-wing conspiracy, even though as Michael has pointed out, there is nothing essentially conservative about the plan.
One other thing: the Rocky writer, like the Post writer yesterday, neglected to point out that building and construction costs are calculated separate from current expenditures, and so the 65-percent plan would have no effect on them.
And three cheers to the state legislator leading the charge:
House Minority Leader Joe Stengel, R-Littleton, said the state can do better.
“We want taxpayers to know how little of their education dollars go to the classroom,” he said at a state Capitol news conference. “When they find that out, they’re going to be very unhappy.”
The citizens of Colorado have a common sense, widely supportable plan they can rally around – one to tell the educrats in the establishment that they can and will find more efficient ways to spend taxpayer money, that they can and will focus more of public funds into the classroom.