Cedar Falls and other Iowa communities continue to reject school bond referendums. At the same time, we are witnessing a wave of popularity for the presidential campaign of Donald Trump. Is there a relationship?
Some may reply the voters are a bunch of knuckle-dragging troglodytes, and ignorance has won the day. It is a tempting response, but overly nasty and greatly simplified.
People are fed up with leadership in America all the way from the local to national level. Our “public servants” act more like public masters who avoid being downwind from the unwashed public and ignore majority wishes after being elected.
They obfuscate and they hide the deeper meaning of what they are doing as if the public would simply be confused by the truth.
What many Americans feel toward all levels of government can be summed up by an old saying comparing us to mushrooms: “They feed us bull and keep us in the dark.”
Locally, it looks like the education leaders will continue to call elections until they get what they want, then the public can take a rest from going to the polls, perhaps, as in the case of legal casino gambling, forever.
Educators don’t seem to grasp how they appear to the public. Education has become an immense and expensive bureaucracy. When it comes to money, it is an inverted pyramid. The more a person teaches, the less that person will be paid. It is almost a perfect negative correlation. When money is tight, and it will always be tight in this bureaucratic world, those closest to the students will be the first to suffer the consequences.
The bureaucrats who run the system are actually interested in process, not outcomes. They also have an interest in current bureaucratic fads and an unquenchable desire to create the latest programs being championed by political correctness and the sensitivity police.
The average voter would prefer outcomes related to student learning. The people who run the schools consider that to be an indicator of public ignorance. Many educators will refuse to even define “learning.”
Most voters would prefer to have their children taught by Socrates under a tree than by Bozo the Clown in the Taj Mahal. Fortunately, most teachers are not Bozos, but in the real world we will produce more like Socrates by paying teachers well, giving them some autonomy from bureaucratic nonsense and turning them loose to actually teach.
Instead, administrators keep coming back to the public for more money to build physical evidence of their leadership and to expand administrative kingdoms.
But people are fed up with taxes and lack of transparency. It is time for some hard choices. Would our school systems trade off a bus for a better-paid teacher? Would they fire the assistant to the associate vice-president of something or another so they could hire another teacher? Would they be willing to turn schools into learning centers rather than cafeterias? Would they sell administrative buildings and turn the money over for school maintenance?
Administrators always give the same reply to criticism. The critic is simply ignorant and doesn’t know all the facts. To a certain extent that’s true. The worst thing that could ever happen to education is to get politicians involved. They cannot leave education alone and are constantly adding layer upon layer of additional laws, regulations and in many cases flat out nonsense to the educational mix.
What does this have to do with Trump’s popularity? He should be nowhere in the polls, but he leads in many. His secret is no secret; he simply stands up and says what he thinks and tells his critics to go to hell. No one else is doing that, including the leaders of our education systems.
If educators want more money from the voters, get back to the basics, tell the sensitivity police and politicians to take a hike, make it loud and clear and actually do something.