Tuesday, December 01, 2009

EPIC Education Poll: Solid Majority Believe School Funding Too Low

Hey Legislature. You suck.

No, seriously, you really suck. I know you have heard that a lot lately from me and you've probably stopped listening, and you've heard it from the "angry mobs" (karma, Senator Bishop) who have descended on Lansing to yell at you, but now we have some actual numbers on how people feel about public education in this state.

Are you listening now?

A new poll shows a solid majority of Michigan residents believe their local public school district has too little state and local funding to provide a quality education.

The poll, conducted for WOOD TV8 and our broadcast partners by EPIC-MRA, sampled 600 residents between November 22-24, 2009.

Of those, 60% said there is too little funding for their local schools, 36% said "much too little" while only 5% said there was too much funding for education.

When asked if state funding for local public schools should be cut in the future or if state education funding shouldn't be cut, 79% said education funding should not be cut.

Oh, and by the way? About teacher pay and benefits? Hey, Nolan Finley, and all you Republican union busters - you suck too.

Most responders -- 83% -- feel Michigan teacher wages and benefits are about right or too low.

In a statement that accompanied the release of the poll, EPIC-MRA President Bernie Porn said, “Politicians and pundits who attack teachers based on their pay and benefits are out of touch with the opinions of Michigan voters."

No kidding. But then again, you would be hard pressed to find an example lately where the politicians have been in touch with the opinions of the people who pay their salaries.

Link to the complete poll here. They ask questions as to taxes and future cuts (79% say teachers should not be laid off) and what extra- curricular activities parents might be willing to pay for. Check it out.

Right now, the legiscritters are working on bills that will allow us to compete for the Obama Administration’s "Race to the Top" funding. Up to $400 million or so on the table for states to make some reforms and compete for this money. This can't be used to fill budget holes, but anything at this point will benefit schools that are starving for funding.

Amazingly enough, it looks like this legislation may pass. Why? It creates more charters, and has some other stuff that bugs the MEA, so naturally the Republicans are suddenly all for grabbing at all the federal taxpayer money they can. Funny how stimulus = socialism, but if we can upset the unions, then government spending is all good, yes indeed. And, since Bishop has his eye on the calendar and is looking at his next vacation that might start as early as next week, it should fly right through the Senate.

"It is an opportunity we cannot afford to pass up, but the due date is quickly approaching," Republican Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop said in a statement.

Really. Too bad the Republicans don't feel the same about hundreds of millions of dollars in Medicaid funding that they threw away, or the hundreds of millions of dollars in federal road funding that they left laying there on the ground. Thousands of Michigan jobs are tied to those two funding sources, but apparently Bishop believes those are opportunities that we can afford to "pass up".

Get this "Race to the Top" done, lawmakers - and then get to work on funding both K-12 education, and returning college scholarships as well. Make more cuts to education next year, and the next poll you see might be the one where you lose your job.

If there is any justice in this world, that is.