Now we understand that when Bush said he wanted to leave no child left behind, he really meant that he wanted no millionaire left behind from a large tax cut.
Today’s story in the Washington Post reveals the realities of what states are facing: a recession, declining tax base and guess what … schools are taking huge cuts, classroom sizes are increasing, training for teachers is being cut or abandoned altogether. Oregon citizens are so bent against tax increases that they will send their kids home for two extra weeks rather than pony up the money to give them a decent education. The same state is proposing increasing the class size next year to … this is NOT a misprint … 42 students!
This article should shock anyone.
The few little coins the federal government is throwing in the coffers of state budgets to implement its No Child Left Behind program doesn’t begin to pay for it. Voters unwilling to raise their taxes are making a very dramatic statement: all this talk about the importance of public education is just talk. We really don’t care that much, certainly not enough to raise taxes to ensure adequate public funding.
It is curious where the Bush Administrations priorities lie. It is certainly not out there lobbying the states to spend more money on education in spite of the recession. Gosh, that would demonstrate actual commitment to its principles. But there is plenty of money to fund a war against Iraq that will cost at least $100B, although the Bush Administration refuses to suggest how much the endeavor will cost. There is plenty of money for large tax cuts that will give the largest tax cuts to the upper class. There seems to be no limit to the money to give farmers and mega-agricultural businesses. There is always more money to give to Israel.
This administration is shamefully talking out both sides of its mouth. If it were sincere about ensuring no child is left behind, instead of cutting taxes for the rich it would allocate this money to subsidize education so that at the very least standards don’t slip.
This is a “no sacrifice” administration: no one who funds the Republican party’s coffers needs to worry about suffering in the least. Take your tax cuts. Drive your SUVs and your Lexuses. Send volunteers to fight our wars, certainly not your kids who will go to Ivy League schools as usual. Let’s wage a war that is inadvisable and unaffordable. Let’s shift the burden, as always, to the little people. Let them deal with declining schools and larger class sizes. Let them figure out how to afford unaffordable health insurance and pay for medications costing hundreds of dollars a month with no deductibles.
I guess the notion of public office as one of being a good steward and acting as a fiduciary is hopelessly outdated. Instead let’s pander to our base and let the rest flounder.
It is hard to think of a case where there is a bigger dichotomy between Bush’s words and his actions. But it is abundantly clear that Bush is no education president.