Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Animals > Education?

Edited to add the disclaimer at the end of this post.

I know I said I wouldn't post until after Labor Day weekend...but I have a rant to get off my chest....

So here's my issue...

The Detroit Zoo is in a crisis. The Detroit Zoo threatened to close it's doors on the public if funding help was not found. There was a millage vote and the millage vote passed by a 3 to 1 margin. That's a huge margin ya'll. With this millage the average person (average = $200,000 house) will pay an extra $10.00 per year. Chump change. That extra $10/year/homeowner will generate approximately 13 million dollars for the Zoo. That's huge. A tiny contribution from everyone is helping to save the Detroit Zoo. That's fantastic. We visit the zoo every year. I've had family zoo passes for 3 years in a row. The Zoo has been saved .....Yeay!

Our Michigan schools are in a crisis. Programs are being shut down. Begindergarten (a pre kindergarten program for late fall birthdays or those kids who are not developmentally ready for kindergarten) has been stopped....and is no longer available. This makes me sad. We chose this route for my oldest because he is a late fall birthday and would have started kindergarten when he was 4 if we hadn't. We didn't feel he was ready and it turned out to be the best thing that we could have done for him.

My son had 35 kids in his 5th grade class last year and his teacher had no aide.

My almost 6 year old daughter will be starting kindergarten with MANY 4 year olds who can barely hold a pencil let alone write their name, identify their letters, or follow directions. We live in a VERY ethnic neighborhood where English is a second language to many of these kids. Out of 10 kids in my daughter's pre-school last year...5 of them were late fall birthdays, 5 of them spoke English as a second language, 5 of them couldn't hold a pencil, and 3 of them could not follow directions well. With begindergarten no longer being an option for these kids these are the kids that my daughter will be going to kindergarten with in a school that thinks 35 kids to a classroom (with no help) is acceptable.

Language classes are no longer being offered.

Music classes, sports programs, and the busing system are all in jeopardy.

And yet votes for millage increases for the schools are constantly being turned down.

Where are our priorities people!

Edited to add: It was brought to my attention that apparently I was talking out my ass on the millage votes for schools comment. Shows you how edumacated I am on school funding. Apparently Proposal A changed things here in Michigan years ago. Proposal A was a result of Govenor Engler's effort to reduce property taxes and help improve school funding inequities among local school districts. Our schools are no longer funded by property taxes but are now funded by State Taxes. So the state now provides schools with a per pupil allowance. Which eliminates the ability for school funding millage votes.


18 comments:

Mama Zen said...

I don't understand it, either. Honestly, we can a little more now for education, or pay a lot more later for social services.

Kate @ Life As I Live It said...

So frustrating. Why are people willing to pay for luxuries (like the zoo) but won't give a little extra to make sure the next generation is educated properly?

Jamie said...

Wow!!! I can't believe it!! You need to get on your soap box in your community and point this out to EVERYONE!! How could they argue it???

April said...

Ugh!! I feel like this country is just not getting it at all when it comes to educating our children, and it makes me crazy!! Sometimes, it doesn't even make a list of issues important to voters during election time, which really flips me out. It's one of the reasons I started the BlogBlast for Education. Another one is happening in Oct. I hope you'll participate!

Kori said...

Because too many people have the attitude that "Hey, I reasied my kids and they are gone, so why should I fund public education for someone else's kids? not MY job!" Also, people like to feel like they are "helping," but when it comes to bonds and such, they won't vote for it because they feel like they HAVE to, like they are being forced into something terrible and nefarious. I don't know, but I agree that the educational system is in crisis; please take part in Aprils' blogblast for education-this is important stuff.

common mom said...

I just don't get it. Really - it's ridiculous!!! Your concerns about the developmental level of the kids is one HUGE reason we kept K in private school for Kindergarten this year . . . kindergarten is not mandated in Colorado. In fact, JUST this year they mandated school for 6 year olds . . . previously, it was 7. There are so many kids here that never get out really, and then they're thrust into a structured environment where they have to listen and sit, etc. . . . ugh.

35 - WAAAYYYYYY too many . . . I can't believe that! My Dude has 26 in his 3rd grade class . . . they only allow 30, which I still think is too many.

Christy said...

Apparently, a day at the zoo is much more important than education. Very disturbing.

Breanne Vasquez said...

Oh wow. I can not believe that. That ia shorribel. I am glad teh zoo was saved but how cna they keep turning down thw help for the school. This was a great post maybe send it to the newspaper!

Domestic Accident said...

Whatever the politics, it's true that children in general are not a priority for all of America.

Dana said...

it isd sooo funny what people put a higher value on!!

Brooke said...

Doesnt that just piss ya off! Get out there and make yourself heard! People will listen!

Kellan said...

It is still ashame that programs have to be cut because we can't come up with the money to support them - it makes not sense and happens here too!

Take care - Kellan

EatPlayLove said...

All I can say is, but we have BILLIONS of dollars to waste on a war that no one can possibly win.

If only we had our priorities straight.

Colleen said...

Unlike Jamie, I *do* believe it. It seems to happen everywhere. Recently, our Art Museum (which is great, don't get me wrong) was "saved" from a huge budget deficiet. But our schools? Still horrendous. I would NEVER send my kids to a Milwaukee Public School. EVER. The suburbs' schools are a bit better, but still suffer from cuts due to funding.

Leslie said...

I hate to hear about schools getting their programs cut, especially the much needed ones. I wish that people everywhere could get priorities straight and help fix the problem. No matter who pays for it, there needs to be a solution.

Happy2bme said...

Its a shame. I know Teachers around here also have to use their own money to make up for what the County, State and Parents lack on giving. I couldn't believe how many supplies I had on my sons class list from the teacher. Paper included. It doesn't seem like the government provides much of anything for our children in the classroom except for keeping the lights on for them to see the paper and pencils given by the parents. Don't get me wrong, I think the zoo is important but is it really more important than our children? The answer is NO! Sure save the monkey but what about our little monkies at home?! They seem to be the ones forgotten.

Happy2bme said...

oh and one last thing...haha.. At my sons school which is newer (built in 1992) they don't have drinking fountains so its requested to bring an extra bottle of water each day for your child. I was completely AMAZED!!!! I had never heard of such a thing. Especially when this is FLORIDA people!! Its HOT!!

Jo said...

First time at your blog and I love it!! So glad I stopped in....definately will be back.

Hugs!
Jo