03.14.11 Montgomery Schools vs. the Rest of Us

This is cross-posted with the Washington Post’s All Opinions Are Local.

Across the country, the GOP has declared war on education, slashing budgets willy-nilly as if producing responsible, capable citizens had nothing to do with a safe and prosperous future for all of us.

Here are home, the tables are turned. For the second year in a row, Montgomery County education administrators and teachers have declared war on the rest of us. How else can we interpret the legal action taken by educators against the county?

I grew up in a school district whose funding was totally dependent on voter-backed tax levies. By the time I graduated high school in 1978, not a single levy had been defeated in 45 years. I owe an enormous amount to the farsighted taxpayers of my hometown and am an avid supporter of providing whatever it takes to produce quality education for children.

But there has to be a limit, and it comes when — at a time of fiscal crisis, as all public services are being cut to the bone — a school system burns precious capital by essentially suing a bunch of pro-education legislators and declaring themselves sacrosanct from the budget axe. C’mon folks, it’s not like MCPS is on the edge, with poor teachers, underperforming students and crumbling infrastructure. This is a rich county, with a well-funded school system.

Surely, the schools need to work with us, not against us, as we grapple with a budget nightmare none of us wanted.

©2011 Keith Berner


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