Sunday, March 19, 2006

CABE's Big Adventure - Republicans RAISE your local taxes

Representatives from the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education (CABE) recently went to Washington, D.C. Their newsletter says they attended the National School Boards Association's Federal Relations Network Conference and then met with Connecticut's Congressional delegation.

Cabe's newsletter lists the failures of the federal government to fund their chronic spending without paying habits. For the past thirty years (approximately how long the Republicans have controlled, um, government), the federal government has simply not paid the 40% of special education costs accrued for legislation initiatives they passed.

Fuel, transoportation, and lots of other pricey items needing financial relief were discussed as well.

So the Congressional "staff" went into action and on the last day tthat the school boards were in Washington they were rewarded with the fruits of their labor, the president's budget, "not only fails to meet these needs, but contains the largest cut to federal education funding in the 26 year history of the Department of Education: $2.1 Billion. If enacted, this would be a 3.8 percent cut from the FT06 level."!!!!!

Oh, the cuts don't stop there either, CABE lists another $28.95 BILLION in education shortfalls and cuts. The upside is a $225 Million increase in neo-con sinkholes.

So how much is a $30 BILLION ADDITIONAL SHORTFALL in federal education funding? Um, about 3 months of spending in Iraq. Come to think of it, read the article and the increase in military spending in Iraq is almost exactly the dollar amount being taken from education! Put that on Sesame Street, Count Dracula!

But it doesn't stop there - no sir - these are the Bush years - if the ship is sinking then it's time to start drilling holes to let the water out.

On page 2 of the CABE Journal, president Robert Hale offers a Commentary on the CABE Meetings in Washington. In it he tap dances around the uncomfortable fact that, well, "For the most part our senators and representatives are responsive"... but... "somewhere out there are local board memberswho know their individual senator and/or congressman. We need to know who you are..."

Let me translate this into English. About a year ago, a union representative told me a story about trying to meet a legislator in Washington. He said that after days of being treated like short shrift his delegation finally pin-pointed the representative. They approached the staff about getting the promised meeting because they knew the congressperson was in.

The staff relented, "Step right this way.", into a small conference room. My friend who trailed the union delegation had not yet turned the corner to join his group when he watched the legislatior slip out a side door and RUN down the hall away from the citizens. They wound up meeting with the Congressional Skippy's who serve coffee smile and treat you like a mentally ill patient looking for directions to the Lincoln Memorial.

Somehow CABE and all the other BOEs got snookered. Hale can put as much lipstick on Rob Simmons, Joe Lieberman and others as he likes but what these so-called representatives are doing ain't pretty.

At the local levels we struggle to pay for all this. If we continue to be dumb enough to empower these bastards in Washington we deserve what we get - higher taxes from Washington disguised as tax relief.

Rather than beg strangers for access to our officials I have a better idea. Let's ask Attorney General Blumenthal issue a warrant for their arrest for child neglect - that's right a class action warrant for neglecting the children of Connecticut. And the only bail that will spring them is a face-to-face meeting with every BOE in the State of CT. I want to tell them a few things using a bullhorn.

But it seems to me that every CT politician who even thinks about voting on education legislation needs to have the common sense of calling the President of CABE and the President of the Teachers Union well in advance of voting on anything that affects children. For CABE to be begging for spam access to government officials is a humiliating admission that government has gone wrong in a big way.

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