Thursday, February 09, 2012

Barbarians at the School House Door!

Greetings citizens
and friends of the Burlington Area School District, the barbarians are again at
our gates! Our public schools are under a second round of attack by the Tea
Party (TP) group WeVoteBurlington. Four TP candidates are challenging the
incumbents John Anderson and Susan Kessler in the primary election for school
board on Tuesday February 21st.

These candidates are intent
on inflicting the TP agenda on our schools, an agenda crafted by the corporately
run feudal American Legislative Exchange Council (fALEC) with their local
vassal Robin of Vos who is tasked with enacting the agenda of his corporate
lords in their province of Wisconsin. It is an agenda disseminated to the TPs by
Americans for Plutocracy (they say “Prosperity”, but we know better than that).
The agenda of these special interests includes defunding, dismantling and
privatizing our public schools to make them profit centers and turn our
children and grandchildren into perpetual revenue streams for educational profiteers.
For information about fALEC’s private designs on public education go here:

These TP candidates
think of themselves as “taxpayers” and they want you to think of yourself as a
taxpayer too. Personally, I find the term “taxpayer” to be an insulting
epithet. Taxpayers are passive, hapless victims from whom money is extracted. I
am not a “Taxpayer”, I am not a victim, I am a citizen. And as a citizen, one
of the things I do is to pay my dues for living in a civilized society, taxes.
I am very fortunate to have done well enough so that I can and do pay taxes. By
virtue of the public school education that was provided for me by my forbearers,
I have succeeded and therefore pay taxes. By virtue of the people of goodwill
who built this country and established public institutions, public roads,
courts and a system of laws that facilitate an organized and prosperous society,
I have succeeded and therefore, proudly pay my dues. My story is by no means
unique, none of us succeeds on our own, we all benefit from the achievements of
those that came and built before us. It seems that those who gave us so much
would have but one requirement of us, pass it on!

Adams said, “Laws for the liberal education of the youth, especially of the
lower class of the people, are so extremely wise and useful, that, to a humane
and generous mind, no expense for this purpose would be thought extravagant”.

Thomas Jefferson said, "I have indeed two great
measures at heart, without which no republic can maintain itself in strength:
1. That of general education, to enable every man to judge for himself what
will secure or endanger his freedom. 2. To divide every county into hundreds,
of such size that all the children of each will be within reach of a central
school in it."

James Madison wrote,
"The liberal appropriations made by the Legislature of Kentucky for a
general system of Education cannot be too much applauded. A popular Government,
without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to
a Farce or a Tragedy; or, perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern
ignorance: And a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves
with the power which knowledge gives."

But a vibrant and
interdependent society, buoyed by public institutions and progressing over time
is not the TP vision. They believe in a country of everyman for himself. To
them “public” and “taxes” are dirty words. They want to sack these public institutions
because they don’t want to pay for them. These TP candidates for the Board are
focused on only one aspect of our schools, taxes, money and the “greedy
teachers” who victimize them by taking their beloved money. One of them even
believes that it is appropriate to compare the compensation of educators with
advanced degrees to that of average Wisconsinites with high school diplomas.
These self-centered values and myopic outlook are not what is needed on our
school board. We need rationalism and balance, not extremism and selfishness.

Ask yourself, are you
a citizen or a taxpayer? Do you believe in local control and self-governance or
would you act as a feudal serf and help advance an agenda that comes from your
corporatist lords far beyond Burlington, far beyond Wisconsin? Citizens I
implore you, behave in a manner becoming of humble freemen on February 21st,
vote and repulse the barbarians at our gates!