April 26, 2011
That's why I'm so proud that we were instrumental in helping bring Dan Habib and his son, Samuel, to Charlotte. Dan is a documentary filmmaker who created the film, Including Samuel, an intimate look at inclusion in schools and the community at large.
The film, which has been on public TV and has had 300 screenings in 30 states, will be shown at 7 p.m. Wednesday at UNC Charlotte's Student Union Theater. Karen Garloch wrote about the event in her weekly column at The Charlotte Observer. Check it out here.
April 25, 2011
Why is it that the phrase “throw money at” seems to be applied only to school funding or education in general? I can’t imagine that anyone believes “throwing” money indiscriminately at anything will have much of an impact. The phrase is so dismissive — it’s a cop out to having a legitimate discussion or debate about education funding and priorities.
Clearly, our community (like so many others around the country) needs to have some difficult conversations about our priorities. There will be shortfalls in education funding, and that’s not likely to change any time soon. My request is that instead of, uh … throwing an empty phrase at the situation, everyone will take part in a constructive way.
Some fodder for discussion:
- As a society, we place much of our value on compensation/earnings. (Unfortunately, wishing it weren’t that way won’t do much to change that.) What does teacher compensation say about the real value (i.e., more than lip service) we place on teaching?
- So much of school funding comes from local property taxes. Do people equate their property tax bill with the quality of the school system? Is there political pressure to keep property taxes as low as possible?
- Companies that increase their capacity with major facility or equipment upgrades often finance those improvements through loans (including leasing equipment) — the rationale being that the improvements will increase profits such that the temporary debt is viewed as an investment. Colleges and nonprofits have capital campaigns and have employees who cultivate an ongoing donor base to provide financing that falls outside of operations. K – 12 schools are not designed to earn profits, nor do they launch capital campaigns and have Development Directors. Bonds typically finance major upgrades. PTAs often finance equipment upgrades. However, how much of the operating budget goes toward these types of capital expenses? Is bond-funding every five years or so the best way to do it?
- Are we still locked in a mindset from way-back-when when being a teacher was among the handful of choices for women and minorities – i.e., a time when we could underpay many teachers because they didn’t have many employment options?
- Do society’s values reflect opportunities to nurture and educate children before they start kindergarten? How does that correlate to the average pay of those who work at childcare & preschool facilities?
I can certainly get into the nuts and bolts of the budget (and plan to). Hopefully, this particular fodder for discussion will help frame the conversation. I also hope that it will make it harder to dismissively say that throwing more money at education won’t solve anything. It won’t, nor will throwing out an empty phrase.