“Next in importance to freedom and justice is popular education, without which neither freedom nor justice can be permanently maintained.”
—James A. Garfield, 20th President of the United States

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The sounds of silence

Much to our disappointment and dismay, a pivotal week in Pierre is wrapping up quietly and with little, if any, movement toward salvaging current levels of state aid to education. Here is the latest and not-so-greatest roundup of what's happening in the state Legislature:
• Committee endorses bill to allow special election in November on tax hike (Munsterman's Plan B)
• Governor determined to veto bill that would allow special election
• Bureau of Finance and Management estimates on state revenue
• The problem with HB 1230 and corporate handouts
At the Education First forum last weekend in Brookings, Democratic state Rep. Spence Hawley commiserated with the crowd on the devastating budget cuts spearheaded by Gov. Dennis Daugaard, but conceded that the minority party held little, if any, sway.
Sen. Larry Tidemann and Rep. Scott Munsterman, both Republicans, insisted they were sympathetic to the plight of public education in the state and were working hard behind the scenes to do something, but didn't offer any specifics.
Tidemann defended his vote to approve the governor's budget, with the Senate amendment tacked on to make it apply only to 12th graders. The strategy, he said, was like a basketball game — you want your teammate to pass the ball back to you so you can score a basket. He also said lawmakers couldn't divulge exactly what they were working on; that that would be like the Packers giving the Steelers their playbook before the Super Bowl.
Taking Tidemann's cue and going along with the sports metaphors, as the week comes to a close without even the slightest hint of action, vision or leadership, we're thinking it's time to start booing the home team off the court.

1 comment:

  1. can't reveal the game plan? What happened to transparency and government of.by.for the people? Since when is a budget a big secret that we can't talk about in the open? Ugh, the arrogance of these legislators! Folks, it's time for some hard campaigns in 2012 to replace these Tidemann and the rest of the ruling party with legislators who will listen, work in the opne, and take real action.