Friday, August 15, 2014


Ever notice that it seems the grossest and most primitive amongst us always get the headlines and somehow seem to define, at least in part, who we are. It's the troglodytes and trolls living in the remotest hollows, darkest woods and scariest neighborhoods who somehow keep alive the idea that practitioners of evil and the dark arts roam freely among us.

Many think that if we could just educate everyone that the dark shadows in our world would disappear. Alas, there is no evil like smart evil. Education is surely needed but It's more than the basics that is needed. A strong dose of culture and exposure to the wider world would help. But that's also education. So how is that accomplished when most education dollars go where the dollars are to begin with. That happens not to be in the dark hollows and remote enclaves.

I often wonder what kind of generation would appear were education funds and resources distributed equally to all children no matter where they lived. Of course, that would mean that we cared for each other and were willing to be responsible for the education of children we might never know. It also might mean giving up a few sacred cows such as the local control of education in our various communities. Certainly, local people should be involved and have a direct input into the system but the fundamental curriculum and standards for students, teachers and the distribution of resources should be administered at a higher level than a local school board. This goes for funding as well.

That brings up a second sacred cow needing to be put out to pasture. That would be the obviously dead ended funding of schools by a regressive property tax. We get this idea from a time in Merry Old England when everything was owned by the rich and landed class. Of course their land was taxed. Owning land and wealth were synonymous.

In modern times owning property, as in a house or a small parcel of land is not synonymous with wealth. So the idea of making adjustments for those who do not have increasing incomes that make it possible to pay increased taxes seems appropriate. Seniors living on limited incomes should not be expected to pay the full value of their property. If they sell to someone else then that person can be assessed the full amount. Age considerations are appropriate but so should health and other factors be considered when assessing real property. A system that sees each tax payer equally without any consideration as to different situations, is unjust by default.

I am a simple man, incapable of complex thought but I can not see why public education can't be funded with the same abandonment as, say that new stretch destroyer up in the ways at Bath Iron Works. Or perhaps that grossly huge hidden budget of the spooky NSA and the CIA.

Well, if we can dream of the moon, mars and rebuilding the Afghanistan infrastructure at astronomical cost, then why not dream of an education system that can shine a little light on those wonderful minds living in the remotest hollow and darkest enclave - an education system that can think beyond a local tax base?

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