Friday, February 27, 2009

Is 50th Good Enough for Your Child?

“The right action of all of us is made up of the right action of each one of us. Unless each of us is determined to meet the duty that comes to us, we can have no right to expect that others will meet the duties that come to them.”

~ Calvin Coolidge

No one can deny that we are living in trying times. All around the country, our friends, relatives and acquaintances are suffering. On Monday, your friend was laid off. Last Friday, you heard about your relatives living without power and water as their homes are buried in ice. Two weeks ago, your neighbor left with his unit for a tour in Iraq. Your spouse is worried about their job security. Discount stores are advertising entire store clearance sales. We are all hurting in some way. If we are not yet hurting, we are just waiting for it to trickle down to our house, our job, our bank account. We know it is coming.

Your child’s school is not immune.

Duval County expects to suffer from a $150 million budget deficit for the 2009-2010 academic year. All the facts tell us there is NO WAY to “trim the fat” and balance this budget crisis without affecting the classroom. In short, your child's school will suffer.
Guidance and Media services could be reduced!
Valuable resources like Art, Music and PE may be cut!
Essential supplies and materials could disappear altogether!

It is important to understand that this problem, this CRISIS, is not limited to Duval County alone. This fiscal crisis is statewide. The state of Florida was ranked 47th out of 50 states in tax revenue prior to the passing of Amendment One, which served to further reduce our state taxes. Regarding the total amount of funds allocated and spent on education, the state of Florida is ranked 50th in the nation. I ask you, does this represent your priorities? I doubt it.

Article IX, Section I of the Florida Constitution guarantees that:

"The education of children is a fundamental value of the people of the State of Florida."

"It is, therefore, a paramount duty of the state to make adequate provision for … a uniform, efficient, safe, secure, and high quality system of free public schools that allows students to obtain a high quality education …."

Are our legislators upholding the requirements of our state constitution?

As voters, we share a heavy burden. It is our responsibility to educate ourselves with accurate facts. It is our responsibility to make our voices heard. It is our responsibility to act.
It is our responsibility to advocate for our children. It is our responsibility to fight for their rights, for today and for their future. If not us, then who? If we do not meet our duties, we cannot expect others to meet theirs.

I urge you. Educate yourselves. Research the facts. Go to the source. Ask questions. Speak out. Make demands. Do not accept it as fact because others believe it to be true.

Ask yourself, is 50th good enough for your child?

If the answer is NO - contact our state's legislative delegation and ask for immediate help from one of these short term solutions:

1. One cent increase to the sales tax of Florida for just 3 years. It generates ten billion dollars over 3 years to plug the education funding cuts!

2. Please give flexibility to the school districts in the areas of categoricals, (SAI, Class Size, Instruction Materials, Reading, Safe Schools).

3. Please suspend unfunded mandates on the districts. (Examples: Transportation, Testing & Curriculum Requirements, Safety Nets, and Staffing Requirements.)

4. Please give flexibility of capital funds—so they can be used for General Revenue.

Ask them to find long term solutions to the critical funding situation in Florida and urge them to make public education a priority so that even our children's children can benefit from a right guaranteed them by our state constitution!


Special thanks to coauthor Jenny Nash


Anonymous said...

In the late 18th century, Thomas Payne wrote Common Sense. Common Sense was a pamphlet that basically stated that if your governement has run out of good ideas, it is time to provide the same government with two options, create better ideas or find another job.

The ideas listed (sales tax increase...) make perfect "common sense", and they could fix the crisis that we are in. However, politicians may not respond unless they sense that we are ready to throw-off those that are not willing to create the needed change.

In short, be prepared to sit silently without complaining if you have not made your voice heard. This wheel needs to squeak loudly. It's only every aspect of all of our futures that is at stake. Write it, copy it, paste it, send it, and repeat.



Patricia Wallace said...

Your're right! It is our responsibility to voice our concerns and demand actions from our legislators. Our children's future depend on it because 50th is not good enough for any child.

Anonymous said...

If not me, then who? I've sent emails for two days to the entire contact list, and I will continue to do so.

We have a President that got elected in large part due to internet usage. So, why can't we get our State to do the right thing using the same strategy?

Not sitting idly by,


Anonymous said...

I have sent more e-mails to my legislators than I can count over the last 30 days. 50th will never be good enough for me or my child and I will continue to speak out on issues that affect me and my family. I am a product of Duval County Public Schools and our kids deserve better. I will be heading to Tallahassee this week to speak on behalf of your child and mine. Please stand up and be counted among those who care about our childrens' future. In my opinion, it's cheaper to educate than incarcerate! Mrs. Tamburrino, Music Educator, Duval County Public Schools.

Anonymous said...

50th is not good enough for my children or the many children that I love. These are the people who will be running the country in 20 years. How can we expect them to do so if we do not give them the tools that they need through education?