Friday, November 04, 2011

Political Nervousness

I don't talk much about politics, mostly because I can usually see pros and cons of both sides of things and don't necessarily know the best answer. The political unrest in this country makes me very nervous right now. People are becoming so polarized and I fear that it is going to do great harm to our nation.

This week I am nervous about Tuesday's election. There are 2 local/state issues in particular that have me all worked up. For the first time in my life I've considered putting a sign in my yard.

The first is a school levy. It's a big one. The reason it's a big one is that the state has cut so much funding that they are going to be $20 million+ short if they don't get the levy. A LOT of people are against it. Which I understand: times are tight and they are asking for a significant amount of money. But we have strong schools. Not the best in the state, but strong. I want to keep it that way.

Second is this state issue that would severely decrease the power of the unions for teachers, police officers, fire fighters, etc. I do not think that the plan they have is perfect. But the unions have too much power. I worked for the public schools for 5 years and was considered a teacher in my contract. I was paid well - I made more money than my husband and I worked 9 months a year. Also, it was impossible to fire bad teachers. One woman would no-call-no-show on a regular basis and it took 2 years to fire her. She was making a good wage for that two years.

Honestly, I don't know the perfect answer: I want the levy to pass but I know some people literally cannot afford it. I think the unions have too much power now, but I'm not sure if the bill that is currently proposed is the right answer either.

But here's the worst case scenario in my mind, for our community: the levy fails and the senate bill is repealed. Then the school board has no money, yet cannot bargain for the cuts that it needs to make because the union is too strong. So they will have no choice but to cut extracurriculars, sports, art, music, bussing, and anything beyond the basics. Our kids will suffer, our home values will go down, and our community will pay the price.

That's what I fear.


Pam said...

Yikes Emily - be warned you may stir up some comments! Being a "forner" I cannot vote. I would vote for the levy if I could. Issue 2 has me equally stumped for all the reasons you said. Good luck!

Mom said...

Being a different kind of "forner" from Pam, I am not familiar with the issues. It sounds like you are concerned for good reasons; but don't be afraid of the outcome. (Mostly because it won't do any good to worry.)

If the political system works as it should, things swing one way until the pain is too great; then people react and things swing the other way. Put the sign in your yard and don't forget to pray . . . .

Kate said...

Hi Emily-- I know what you mean. We have a school levy and Issue 2 really puzzled me, too.

I am really proud of our school and want to see it run as well as it does now. They've lost a lot of state funds. But we moved here specifically for the schools. I voted for previous levies when I didn't have kids and hope that people will dig a little and help my son now that he's there.

Issue 2 was harder for me. I think you are right that there is a LOT of room for improvement with union power,etc. But I don't think this issue addresses it well, and so I'll vote no. This time.

1-- Fifty percent of teacher salaries will be based on the standardized tests kids take. I want my son to learn more than what's just going to be on a test. Also,I would want the best teachers teaching the kids that really need help. But who would want the challenge if their salary relied on it?

2-- Issue 2 has been sold as a way to save money. As written, it will not. Salaries will just be bumped up to cover the portion of health and retirement that is currently being picked up, and most teacher already pay a portion of both.

(see my question to folks on Facebook)

And like your mom says-- politics are a pendulum. But like you, I worry that the moderate majority is being ignored. More moderates need to vote in primaries to weed out the crazies on both sides!

bluedaisy said...

I often feel the same way you do when it comes to political issues- change needs to happen but none of the proposed ideas seem to fit just right. All the more reason that we get out and vote. Even with an imperfect system, it's better to have a voice. I hope it all turns out for the best on election day!

Anonymous said...

Gotcha covered, Emily. I voted early and I voted YES for Issue 2 and Issue 3 (also very important). If I could have voted for your school levy, I would have voted yes for it too.