29 September 2010: 3A Mil Levy Vote

Our kids deserve vote for 3-A

If there’s one word used today ad nauseam by pundits and politicians, it is anger. But then, there does seem to be a lot of attack-mode coursing through the bloodstream of the American body politic. It’s true: Collectively, we’re an unhappy people.

A recent study suggests money can buy happiness, although only up to $75,000 in annual income, which personally is good news in that I have potential to become happier, if only I would apply myself. However, one wonders if happiness is like perfection in that once achieved, it cannot be improved upon despite our founders’ desire “to form a more perfect union.”

Perhaps James Madison and the boys should’ve aimed for a more achievable goal, like “to form a more grumpy union.” If they had, the Preamble might read something like this:

“We the people, in order to form a more grumpy union, establish injustice, insure domestic hostility, provide for permanent war against real or perceived enemies in order for the MIC—military-industrial complex—to make obscene profits, promote the specific welfare of the wealthy and corporate elite, and secure the blessings of serfdom for regular schmucks, do ordain yadda yadda…”

OK, so what does this have to do with 3A, the mill levy CCSD Board of Education President Peter Monson made the case for in last week’s Courant? Nothing, other than as a grabber, to exhort you to support it.

Talk about Bob Seger’s song “Against the Wind,” which we’re not, but, boy, if there could be a worse time for the district to come calling for money, I can’t imagine. But, hey, if the port is up wind, even in a Katrina-like economic storm, one has no choice but to row — hard.

It’s easy to cut taxes and easier to promise to do that, and yahoo politicians promising such are legion. They argue castrating government is really what’s best for everyone — “everyone” being the Haves. National debt can soar, state highways deteriorate and local schools for everyday people — public schools— shutter, but then, hey, what’s really important? “Proving that money can buy happiness,” they aver.

I spent some time talking with Peter and Trish Kintzele, chair of the Strong Schools, Strong Communities Committee that is working 24/7 — Trish has sworn off sleep for the duration — to get 3A passed, and basically told them, “On the merits and needs, I hear you. But after SB 191, the law tying teacher evaluations to student performance, I’m having a real problem with the direction of public education in Colorado.

“If learning is reduced to the equivalent of sound bites like our political discourse, what’s the point?”

I relayed as well other concerns, primarily about administrative decisions, which had been voiced to me.

Peter and Trish listened empathetically, then raised excellent points as to why, despite mine and others’ frustrations, we need first to save the Clear Creek schools because if you aren’t happy with cuts and moves already made, you’ll be more than unhappy when you see the world of hurt the CCSD will be in if we fail to fund it adequately.

Rather than explaining how the BOE has over the past years cut the budget to the bone, which I knew having once been part of that surgical team, Peter and Trish could’ve saved time had they simply quoted 16th-century satirist Thomas Murner.

“Das Kind mit dem bad vß schitten,” he warned, which led to the myth that our European ancestors needed to be careful about not tossing their infants and toddlers out with bath water that got disgustingly dirty due to males bathing first.

Instead, Trish stated, “As a community, it is time for us to ask ourselves, ‘Is this really the way we want to educate our children?’ Overcrowded classrooms, fewer extracurricular/sports programs, outdated textbooks in buildings in need of repair — don’t our kids deserve the best we can offer?

“There has been much talk recently of American students falling behind globally. How do we hope to catch up if we are unwilling to fund education? Where does this shift begin? How do our kids get ready for college or to enter the job market if we won’t teach them the skills they need?”

Yeah, that might be true, Trish, and, geez, so logical and thoughtful and right on, but doing the right thing by supporting 3A since it will only be like less than $36 a year for most homeowners might make me feel good and that if that happens, what will happen to my grumpy state of mind?

Wolfgang Mieder, who researched the history of the aphorism “don’t throw the baby out with the bath water,” holds it’s “a treatise on fools who by trying to rid themselves of a bad thing succeed in destroying whatever good there was as well.”

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