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Kimon
04-22-2015, 08:18 PM
Apparently attacking the AP Exam was just Round 1, and now schools and universities themselves are being sacrificed on the Altar of Tax-Cuts...

This insanity out of Kansas has been ongoing for a while, if still embarrassing, and underscoring the price of electing completely corrupt and incompetent schmucks like Brownback, but at some point one can't help but wish that sanity would prevail and the people of Kansas would recognize that there is a point to paying taxes, and a price when you don't...

Six school districts in Kansas will close early this year, following budget cuts signed in March by Republican Gov. Sam Brownback.

Two school districts, Concordia Unified School District and Twin Valley Unified School District, announced earlier this month that they would end the year early because they lacked the funds to keep the schools open. This week, four more districts confirmed they would also shorten their calendars, according to the Topeka Capital-Journal.

The four newly reported closings are in the unified school districts of Smoky Valley, Haven, Skyline and Shawnee Heights. The Capital-Journal reports that most Kansas schools already exceed the required minimum number of school days, so they can afford to cut a few days without violating state law.

Still, the decision to cut days was a painful one for school districts, judging from an announcement posted by the Twin Valley school board in late March, just days after Brownback signed a bill cutting $51 million in school funding for the current year. "The Twin Valley Board of Education made a difficult decision and has approved a change in the last day of school," the board wrote. "This decision was based on the financial plight of the district. The district has few fiscal reserves to endure the present mid year unplanned financial cuts recently signed into law."

Brownback has championed tax and spending cuts since he was elected in 2010. The governor's school funding reform this spring came less than a year after the Kansas Supreme Court ruled in 2014 that some of the state's spending cuts to education were unconstitutional.

This all seems insanely irresponsible, but apparently Bobby Jindal took it as a dare on what state could be more derelict...

LSU and many other public colleges in Louisiana might be forced to file for financial exigency, essentially academic bankruptcy, if state higher education funding doesn't soon take a turn for the better.

Louisiana's flagship university began putting together the paperwork for declaring financial exigency this week, when the Legislature appeared to make little progress on finding a state budget solution, according to King Alexander, president and chancellor of LSU.

"We don't say that to scare people" he said. "Basically, it is how we are going to survive.

Here's the full article on Kansas...

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/04/22/kansas-schools-funding_n_7112702.html

LSU/Louisiana Shenanigans

http://www.nola.com/politics/index.ssf/2015/04/lsu_academic_bankruptcy.html

The LSU case is especially alarming. That public school districts could fall prey to financial negligence at the state level is far more understandable, but a university being in such potentially dire circumstances due to lack of state funding is much more shocking, an quite an indictment of their financial viability. Not that I ever had a particularly high opinion of LSU as a university, but this is still quite surprising.

eht slat meit
04-22-2015, 08:25 PM
I don't understand what the alarm is about. The schools are closing early, not closing down, and apparently according to this site, most of the schools in the state run on an extended schedule anyway, so that it's not that big a deal.

http://www.kmbc.com/news/6-kansas-school-districts-to-close-early-cite-budget-cuts/32486018

What's the issue here?

Kimon
04-22-2015, 08:27 PM
I don't understand what the alarm is about. The schools are closing early, not closing down, and apparently according to this site, most of the schools in the state run on an extended schedule anyway, so that it's not that big a deal.

http://www.kmbc.com/news/6-kansas-school-districts-to-close-early-cite-budget-cuts/32486018

What's the issue here?

I hope this was just sarcasm.

eht slat meit
04-22-2015, 08:30 PM
Why would you hope it's sarcasm? That would indicate that not only don't I know, but that I'm being an asshole about being ignorant.

Please, explain this to me. I don't get it why closing school some days early constitutes a "war on education".

Kimon
04-22-2015, 08:36 PM
Why would you hope it's sarcasm? That would indicate that not only don't I know, but that I'm being an asshole about being ignorant.

Please, explain this to me. I don't get it why closing school some days early constitutes a "war on education".

The extra days that allow them to close early are common. All school districts have them so that they can account for school closings for things like snow and excessive cold closures without violating state laws on numbers of days in school. Schools do not however if they have extra days left over just take snow days in June for the fun of it. These schools are closing because they don't have enough money to stay open, and are using the fact that they had unused snow days left over as an excuse for why this shouldn't be as alarming, but if they don't have enough money to stay open until the scheduled end of the year, they won't have enough money to operate under their normal schedule next year either. That last means that either the law will need to be re-written to lessen the number of days in school, a bad option, or lay off teachers and increase class sizes, a bad option, or close schools and consolidate which will also dramatically increase class sizes, also bad, nay? Or you raise taxes. Which option do you think they will pursue?

eht slat meit
04-22-2015, 08:44 PM
also bad, nay? Or you raise taxes. Which option do you think they will pursue?

Bad options sure, but again, "war on education"? This sounds like some of the crap I come across on the nut-wing sites like Blaze or Salon.

Understand that I'm not only not justifying the situation, but that I don't consider it a good one. What I don't understand is attempting to elevate it to alarm-ringing levels. Budget cuts always suck, and who it sucks for typically depends on which pack of scum is running the show.

To put it in terms of relativity - I would consider Jindal's signing of a law to promote religion in the educational system far more alarming than this as the repercussions are orders of magnitude more destructive.

Kimon
04-22-2015, 09:02 PM
Bad options sure, but again, "war on education"? This sounds like some of the crap I come across on the nut-wing sites like Blaze or Salon.

Understand that I'm not only not justifying the situation, but that I don't consider it a good one. What I don't understand is attempting to elevate it to alarm-ringing levels. Budget cuts always suck, and who it sucks for typically depends on which pack of scum is running the show.

To put it in terms of relativity - I would consider Jindal's signing of a law to promote religion in the educational system far more alarming than this as the repercussions are orders of magnitude more destructive.

School prayer should be (and still is, as far as I'm aware) unconstitutional in public schools, but on a scale of negligence, neglecting ethics vis-a-vis the sponsoring of religion compared to negligence of education itself by drastically cutting the education budget in your state so as to maintain tax cuts, the latter is far worse than the former.

Specifically about his school prayer bill, he seems to have walked a fine line - assuming that this article from 2013 is still accurate and up-to-date...

The governor gave final approved to state Rep. Katrina Jackson's House Bill 724, which would allow students to gather before and after school and during "non-instructional" times of the day. It also allows attendance by school employees, parents and community members.

I don't have much of a problem with this, so long as it stays before or after school, not during, and is voluntary, not required or encouraged. This seems little more controversial than renting out school space to a church for use on Sunday, something which is not uncommon.

Here's the full article from January of 2013.

http://www.nola.com/politics/index.ssf/2013/06/bobby_jindal_signs_school_pray.html

eht slat meit
04-22-2015, 10:52 PM
I'm not talking about school prayer, which I consider one of the larger wastes of activists time. I'm talking about the bill he signed off on that allows teachers to instruct on the religious "theories" of intelligent design on equal class room time with scientific theories like evolutionary theory.

https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/bobby-jindal-signs-law-allowing-intelligent-design-in-louisiana-schools

A few students throwing gang crosses, headthumping the pavement or humming a few bars of omm at their holy whatsit during school is the metaphorical raindrop in the ocean of failure that is this.

And that's what I'm talking about when I talk about relativity.

GonzoTheGreat
04-23-2015, 03:14 AM
Understand that I'm not only not justifying the situation, but that I don't consider it a good one. What I don't understand is attempting to elevate it to alarm-ringing levels. Budget cuts always suck, and who it sucks for typically depends on which pack of scum is running the show.
This year, there were apparently not many snow days, so that there was some slack. If next year that is different, the school buses don't drive because the snow on the roads would make it too dangerous, yet the schools don't close because they don't have the flexibility to do so any more, will a couple of hundred thousand parents then be arrested for "illegally keeping their children from school"?

A proper law and order person would answer that one with "yes", and if it is put like that, I would guess that this (undoubtedly Republican) governor of Kansas is a proper L&O type person.

What, specifically, is to happen the very next time there is a bad winter?

Davian93
04-23-2015, 07:07 AM
The good people of Kansas reelected Mr. Brownback. They get the government they deserve.

Ozymandias
04-23-2015, 08:32 AM
School prayer should be (and still is, as far as I'm aware) unconstitutional in public schools, but on a scale of negligence, neglecting ethics vis-a-vis the sponsoring of religion compared to negligence of education itself by drastically cutting the education budget in your state so as to maintain tax cuts, the latter is far worse than the former.

Specifically about his school prayer bill, he seems to have walked a fine line - assuming that this article from 2013 is still accurate and up-to-date...



I don't have much of a problem with this, so long as it stays before or after school, not during, and is voluntary, not required or encouraged. This seems little more controversial than renting out school space to a church for use on Sunday, something which is not uncommon.

Here's the full article from January of 2013.

http://www.nola.com/politics/index.ssf/2013/06/bobby_jindal_signs_school_pray.html

In a general sense, why should we care, as long as federal tax dollars don't go to plugging a Kansas or Louisiana education-related budget hole?

This is the point of a federal system of government. The people of Kansas have decided that education is unimportant as compared to saving a hundred bucks on their taxes. That is their decision to make. Parents who dislike the fact that their kids will be less prepared to enter the workplace or function as a modern human being are welcome to leave and go to a state or district where education is prioritized. I guarantee you the State government changes its tune quickly enough when faced with net emigration.

yks 6nnetu hing
04-23-2015, 09:10 AM
In a general sense, why should we care, as long as federal tax dollars don't go to plugging a Kansas or Louisiana education-related budget hole?

This is the point of a federal system of government. The people of Kansas have decided that education is unimportant as compared to saving a hundred bucks on their taxes. That is their decision to make. Parents who dislike the fact that their kids will be less prepared to enter the workplace or function as a modern human being are welcome to leave and go to a state or district where education is prioritized. I guarantee you the State government changes its tune quickly enough when faced with net emigration.

it will be too late. It's na´ve to think that the moment people are faced with a slow slide of diminishing value of something (in this case education), they'll immediately protest. Most likely they won't even notice. So the kids stay off school a few days more per year, so what? the kids like it, where's the problem? right?

The problem arrives a few decades later when the undereducated young people suddenly can't find a job and the companies can't find suitable workers. However! the problem will *then* be solved by getting immigrants - either from within US or outside it - to do the job, which obviously will piss off the idiots who didn't go to school not because they were lazy but because the schools weren't funded.

But, being uneducated, they'll not realize that and instead will go protesting against "all dem immigrants", and come elections, they'll vote for the party that's against immigration, the party that will pump money into the fight against immigration, which obvs needs to come from *somewhere*.... aaaand we're back at reducing the funding for schools.

At the same time, even if somehow "the electorate" did realize where the problem was and funding for schools was increased, the people who missed out will not get their education back, somehow. For them the train will already have passed. So you'd be stuck with a whole generation (or more) worth of numnuts who aren't really good enough for the job market through no fault of their own.

Nazbaque
04-23-2015, 10:08 AM
it will be too late. It's na´ve to think that the moment people are faced with a slow slide of diminishing value of something (in this case education), they'll immediately protest. Most likely they won't even notice. So the kids stay off school a few days more per year, so what? the kids like it, where's the problem? right?

The problem arrives a few decades later when the undereducated young people suddenly can't find a job and the companies can't find suitable workers. However! the problem will *then* be solved by getting immigrants - either from within US or outside it - to do the job, which obviously will piss off the idiots who didn't go to school not because they were lazy but because the schools weren't funded.

But, being uneducated, they'll not realize that and instead will go protesting against "all dem immigrants", and come elections, they'll vote for the party that's against immigration, the party that will pump money into the fight against immigration, which obvs needs to come from *somewhere*.... aaaand we're back at reducing the funding for schools.

At the same time, even if somehow "the electorate" did realize where the problem was and funding for schools was increased, the people who missed out will not get their education back, somehow. For them the train will already have passed. So you'd be stuck with a whole generation (or more) worth of numnuts who aren't really good enough for the job market through no fault of their own.

So it really will be the parents' fault? In that they voted the wrong guy.

GonzoTheGreat
04-23-2015, 10:18 AM
So it really will be the parents' fault? In that they voted the wrong guy.
And then stayed to inflict the results on their snowflakes of children.

If they had voted the guy in and then left when he started doing his damage, they wouldn't be to blame. Obviously.

Davian93
04-23-2015, 10:51 AM
Kansas deserves everything it gets at this point. They saw the writing on the wall last year and still reelected him. Let them burn.

GonzoTheGreat
04-23-2015, 11:19 AM
You do seem to assume that the education levels in Kansas were good enough in the past that the current parents would have been able to actually read the writing on the wall.

eht slat meit
04-23-2015, 11:43 AM
A proper law and order person would answer that one with "yes", and if it is put like that, I would guess that this (undoubtedly Republican) governor of Kansas is a proper L&O type person.

Proper law and order people don't stay in politics. That's like the very first principle that goes in the trash.

What, specifically, is to happen the very next time there is a bad winter?

My guess? Parents keep their kids home, some bureaucratic gets his pants in a wad because politicians are (usually) too crafty to say something, and then gets fired after parents demand his head for being a stupid idiot and insisting they endanger their kids.

Nazbaque
04-23-2015, 11:44 AM
Kansas deserves everything it gets at this point. They saw the writing on the wall last year and still reelected him. Let them burn.

Now would it be tactful to replace "Kansas" with "America" and apply this to the president of your choice?

Kimon
04-23-2015, 03:56 PM
In a general sense, why should we care, as long as federal tax dollars don't go to plugging a Kansas or Louisiana education-related budget hole?

This is the point of a federal system of government. The people of Kansas have decided that education is unimportant as compared to saving a hundred bucks on their taxes. That is their decision to make. Parents who dislike the fact that their kids will be less prepared to enter the workplace or function as a modern human being are welcome to leave and go to a state or district where education is prioritized. I guarantee you the State government changes its tune quickly enough when faced with net emigration.

Perhaps this sort of issue then best encapsulates the differences in how the two of us think tax dollars should be spent. In foreign policy threads we have differed in opinion on American involvement overseas, where you have displayed far more desire to have us intervene to overthrow tyrants and thugs, to sponsor and plant democracies, to stop brutal regimes, whereas I have tended to argue that while at times doing such was necessary, or at least less avoidable, that on the whole, those world policing activities were oft counter-productive or at least inefficient expenditures based upon their chances of success and their connectivity to our own interests. On the other hand, you seem not to see these circumstances as worthy of federal expenditures even though the citizens of Louisiana and Kansas are Americans. Should not they be far more deserving of our largess than the denizens of far away and hostile lands? Mind you, our own citizens, often due to ignorance and brainwashing by interloping plutocrats, also are less than welcoming of our largess, even if these same states tend to nonetheless be the most frequent and abundant recipients of the dole. Notwithstanding, these are still are own people, even if our most misguided, and should we not have a obligation to at least attempt to offer them a proper education in hope that they might begin to see the lights of civilization and pull themselves out of the darkness of superstition and plutocracy?

On another note, how is it that no one but me seems bothered by the larger issue. Sure I included the Kansas bits too, so perhaps this is my fault (I was mostly trying to provide another example), but does no one else really see the LSU issue as far more disturbing? This is not some insignificant university. LSU is the flagship university in Louisiana. It has over 30,000 students. It paid its football coach, Les Miles, more than 4 million dollars last year, and apparently other than that football team (which might be swallowed in the wake with the rest of the tsunami if they have to cancel classes in the coming fall - no classes, no football games - that last, completely shutting down for the fall still at least seems unlikely, but the rest...), nothing is in sound financial shape. The university's credit rating has already been downgraded, which already will create lasting financial damage regardless of whether the legislature gets its act together, but if they actually file for exigency, then we are talking dramatic and dire problems. I realize I'm probably the only teacher in the discussion, and hence perhaps the only one that really cares, but this is not nothing.

Ozymandias
04-23-2015, 04:57 PM
Perhaps this sort of issue then best encapsulates the differences in how the two of us think tax dollars should be spent. In foreign policy threads we have differed in opinion on American involvement overseas, where you have displayed far more desire to have us intervene to overthrow tyrants and thugs, to sponsor and plant democracies, to stop brutal regimes, whereas I have tended to argue that while at times doing such was necessary, or at least less avoidable, that on the whole, those world policing activities were oft counter-productive or at least inefficient expenditures based upon their chances of success and their connectivity to our own interests. On the other hand, you seem not to see these circumstances as worthy of federal expenditures even though the citizens of Louisiana and Kansas are Americans. Should not they be far more deserving of our largess than the denizens of far away and hostile lands? Mind you, our own citizens, often due to ignorance and brainwashing by interloping plutocrats, also are less than welcoming of our largess, even if these same states tend to nonetheless be the most frequent and abundant recipients of the dole. Notwithstanding, these are still are own people, even if our most misguided, and should we not have a obligation to at least attempt to offer them a proper education in hope that they might begin to see the lights of civilization and pull themselves out of the darkness of superstition and plutocracy?

We have offered a proper education. Kansas is already (or was in 2012, and I don't care to search exhaustively) a net tax recipient, so the country as a whole does subsidize Kansas, and, likely, their education system.

The difference in my opinion here as opposed to Iraq is that Kansas residents have a choice, and can vote in fair and open elections. The good people of Kansas, or a majority of them, have decided that education is not something they care about. As long as they aren't violating any federal statutes, we should respect the decisions they, as the voting public, have made. If someone in Kansas thinks "I want my child to have a better future by getting the extra teaching days," they are free to (a) express that opinion in a public forum, (b) vote according to that opinion, and, failing those, (c) leave and go to a state which matches their values. Not one of those options was open for an Iraqi under Saddam.

As for the funding issue... my point is that red states in general tend to have a very entitled attitude towards money in general. With very few exceptions, they don't like being taxed but are almost wholly reliant on federal dollars to exist. Fine, part of federalism is sharing strengths; we give North Dakota the money for roads so we can access the oil fields which Californian drivers will use. But a message should be sent that the federal government (read: states that think taxes and funding government is important) won't step in to make up budget shortfalls every time some random Republican decides they want to be able to afford another dozen Big Macs a year.

On another note, how is it that no one but me seems bothered by the larger issue. Sure I included the Kansas bits too, so perhaps this is my fault (I was mostly trying to provide another example), but does no one else really see the LSU issue as far more disturbing? This is not some insignificant university. LSU is the flagship university in Louisiana. It has over 30,000 students. It paid its football coach, Les Miles, more than 4 million dollars last year, and apparently other than that football team (which might be swallowed in the wake with the rest of the tsunami if they have to cancel classes in the coming fall - no classes, no football games - that last, completely shutting down for the fall still at least seems unlikely, but the rest...), nothing is in sound financial shape. The university's credit rating has already been downgraded, which already will create lasting financial damage regardless of whether the legislature gets its act together, but if they actually file for exigency, then we are talking dramatic and dire problems. I realize I'm probably the only teacher in the discussion, and hence perhaps the only one that really cares, but this is not nothing.

Colleges and universities already are run, basically, as businesses. If LSU fails, then they are failing because they are doing a poor job of managing their finances. It really sucks, and will be a disaster for, the currently enrolled students... but why are we propping up an institution which is incapable of supporting itself?

Davian93
04-23-2015, 05:24 PM
Perhaps this sort of issue then best encapsulates the differences in how the two of us think tax dollars should be spent. In foreign policy threads we have differed in opinion on American involvement overseas, where you have displayed far more desire to have us intervene to overthrow tyrants and thugs, to sponsor and plant democracies, to stop brutal regimes, whereas I have tended to argue that while at times doing such was necessary, or at least less avoidable, that on the whole, those world policing activities were oft counter-productive or at least inefficient expenditures based upon their chances of success and their connectivity to our own interests. On the other hand, you seem not to see these circumstances as worthy of federal expenditures even though the citizens of Louisiana and Kansas are Americans. Should not they be far more deserving of our largess than the denizens of far away and hostile lands? Mind you, our own citizens, often due to ignorance and brainwashing by interloping plutocrats, also are less than welcoming of our largess, even if these same states tend to nonetheless be the most frequent and abundant recipients of the dole. Notwithstanding, these are still are own people, even if our most misguided, and should we not have a obligation to at least attempt to offer them a proper education in hope that they might begin to see the lights of civilization and pull themselves out of the darkness of superstition and plutocracy?

On another note, how is it that no one but me seems bothered by the larger issue. Sure I included the Kansas bits too, so perhaps this is my fault (I was mostly trying to provide another example), but does no one else really see the LSU issue as far more disturbing? This is not some insignificant university. LSU is the flagship university in Louisiana. It has over 30,000 students. It paid its football coach, Les Miles, more than 4 million dollars last year, and apparently other than that football team (which might be swallowed in the wake with the rest of the tsunami if they have to cancel classes in the coming fall - no classes, no football games - that last, completely shutting down for the fall still at least seems unlikely, but the rest...), nothing is in sound financial shape. The university's credit rating has already been downgraded, which already will create lasting financial damage regardless of whether the legislature gets its act together, but if they actually file for exigency, then we are talking dramatic and dire problems. I realize I'm probably the only teacher in the discussion, and hence perhaps the only one that really cares, but this is not nothing.

Yeah but football...

Kimon
04-23-2015, 05:37 PM
Colleges and universities already are run, basically, as businesses. If LSU fails, then they are failing because they are doing a poor job of managing their finances. It really sucks, and will be a disaster for, the currently enrolled students... but why are we propping up an institution which is incapable of supporting itself?

We should care because LSU, while an extreme example, is not a complete outlier. Tuition increases are in large part driven by decrease in funding. Usually these cuts would simply require that hike in tuition, and if LSU was in sounder financial shape, that would have happened here, but one should also account for just how greedy the Louisiana legislature is being. Their plan is to cut state funding from the present annual level of $3500 per undergraduate to $660 for next year. LSU, and seemingly every other public university in the state, is incapable of bearing such a shortfall.

While Louisiana again is an egregious example, it is not alone. If you don't care about them in isolation, perhaps you should when you consider the aggregate...

http://www.cbpp.org/research/states-are-still-funding-higher-education-below-pre-recession-levels

Davian93
04-23-2015, 05:47 PM
We should care because LSU, while an extreme example, is not a complete outlier. Tuition increases are in large part driven by decrease in funding. Usually these cuts would simply require that hike in tuition, and if LSU was in sounder financial shape, that would have happened here, but one should also account for just how greedy the Louisiana legislature is being. Their plan is to cut state funding from the present annual level of $3500 per undergraduate to $660 for next year. LSU, and seemingly every other public university in the state, is incapable of bearing such a shortfall.

While Louisiana again is an egregious example, it is not alone. If you don't care about them in isolation, perhaps you should when you consider the aggregate...

http://www.cbpp.org/research/states-are-still-funding-higher-education-below-pre-recession-levels

The GOP campaigns on the slogan that Government doesn't work...and when elected, they do everything in their power to prove it.

Take Kansas for example:

Step 1: Brownback slashes taxes on businesses and the wealthy to the bone.
Step 2: KS faces a massive budget shortfall
Step 3: Brownback slashes benefits for the poor and destitute because "we can't afford it anymore"
Step 4: FU, I got mine!

Kimon
04-23-2015, 05:56 PM
The GOP campaigns on the slogan that Government doesn't work...and when elected, they do everything in their power to prove it.

Take Kansas for example:

Step 1: Brownback slashes taxes on businesses and the wealthy to the bone.
Step 2: KS faces a massive budget shortfall
Step 3: Brownback slashes benefits for the poor and destitute because "we can't afford it anymore"
Step 4: FU, I got mine!

Republicans do however also often send their kids to public schools, and drive on the roads, and occasionally have need of other state services - like police, or fire, and other useful things that require money. But hey, I'm sure Jesus will float down and fix everything, or just kill everybody in a spectacular Armageddon, or something.

GonzoTheGreat
04-24-2015, 03:39 AM
Republicans do however also often send their kids to public schools, and drive on the roads, and occasionally have need of other state services - like police, or fire, and other useful things that require money. But hey, I'm sure Jesus will float down and fix everything, or just kill everybody in a spectacular Armageddon, or something.
Well, the question is: if Republicans mess things up in such a way that someone has to pay to fix it, then who should get the bill?
1. Democrats, since they are not quite stupid enough to make the mistakes that Republicans do.
2. The Republicans who made the decision and would have screamed their heads off if the Federal government had stepped in in time and prohibited the decision which the Republican led state government had made in a democratic way.

Why should the Republican wish to demolish government be rewarded by those who see the flaw in that policy?