Monday, July 6, 2009

Editorial: Every agency needs scrutiny

As might be expected, the unnamed Courier editor is all over the idea of knocking over the Department of Education. Public schools have been a bugbear of the right since they began, and eliminating any chunk of the bureaucracy is attractive to the anti-tax and anti-government crusaders. Notice that he paraphrases (read: misquotes, adding grammatical error) the representative as saying, "diminishing if not eliminating the Department of Education could save a substantial amount of money as well as enhancing local control of schools," both consistent right-wing memes.

But as Rep Mason has laid out directly on The People's Business, her ideas are not as simplistic as either extreme will paint them. It's not really about saving money so much as spending less on administration and more on teachers and classrooms. It's not so much about enhancing local control, but rather about giving teachers more freedom to teach.

I think it's entirely possible, even likely, that there is a lot of redundancy and essentially useless activity going on in the DofE building. Rooting that out, eliminating it and moving the money into classrooms in a safe and useful way will be a massive legislative undertaking. I can confirm that Lucy's got the energy for it, but she'll be pretty much alone against an impressive bulwark of entrenched interests. In any case, the entire discussion is premature, as was the Courier's query to Superintendent Horne, because nothing will even begin to happen on this before next session, and then not without a great deal of work to gather allies and formulate some concrete proposals. Lucy isn't a hip-shooter.

I'm sure she'll thank the editor for his support, but it's looking like the Courier will be among her many fair-weather friends on the right trying to hijack her ideas for their regular agenda. With friends like these ....

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