I don't usually get irritated by the comment threads on my own posts. I enjoy a healthy dialectic. And an unhealthy one can be even more fun.
But the comments on my post about the controversial sale of MLK Elementary to the First AME Church kinda piss me off. Not because folks disagree with me, or because they absolutely insist on maliciously reading things into my words that just aren't there. That's pretty much standard procedure in the blogosphere. I'm desensitized to that. No, what's really got my undies in a knot is the way everybody seems so willing and eager to let petty, bullshit, maybe-maybe-not-scandals like this distract them from the way K-12 and higher education funding has been systematically raped over the past decade or so.
That's pretty much the level of discourse we've been having over education funding in Washington state, the kind that's designed to keep our eyes off the ball by assuming that voters have an attention span shorter than that of the average dog. Another $1.4 billion slashed from K-12 education, about $1,400 per student? Squirrel! 3,700 fewer teachers funded in WA's public schools? Squirrel! A more than 50 percent reduction in higher education spending over the past two budgets? Squirrel!
No, don't look at the cruel and shortsighted all-cuts budget the editorial boards relentlessly championed. Don't bother your little canine brains about the fact that Washington state is amongst the worst in the nation in class size, teacher pay, and per student spending, or that we're saddled with a highly regressive and unsustainable tax structure that assures further cuts in education spending as far as the eye can see. No, the real cause of all our education woes, the Seattle Times' editors pontificate, is a questionable real estate deal and $162,228 in accounting errors. "The school district is developing a grim reputation for sloppy stewardship of tax dollars," the editors solemnly inform us. "A legacy with consequences."
And like the dogs that we are, we stiffen up, drop everything, and look.