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Md. Teachers Push to Preserve Funding

With a session of budget cuts coming in the Maryland General Assembly, the state's leading teachers lobby sought last week to fire a preemptive strike through a blitz of television and Web ads.

In messages targeted at lawmakers, the Maryland State Teachers Association argued that the state "can't turn the clock back" on education funding.

Daniel Kaufman, a spokesman for the association, said the group spent "hundreds of thousands" of dollars on the week-long ad run and might put others on the air.

"Our No. 1 goal was to be heard," Kaufman said. "We really wanted to get the message out there that we're concerned about the budget situation. We don't want to damage the long-term growth of student achievement to deal with a short-term crisis."

State funding of public schools has swelled in recent years after the landmark 2002 Thornton law, which sought to ensure adequate funding for all Maryland jurisdictions regardless of wealth. Planned increases were curtailed somewhat during a special legislative session last year.

The teachers association is seeking to stave off further reductions, as well as other proposals that have been floated, including shifting teacher pension costs to the counties.

Web ads, which were placed on washingtonpost.com, among other sites, direct visitors to another site from which they can e-mail to their legislators.

Gov. Martin O'Malley (D), who will propose a funding level for education in January, before lawmakers can alter the budget, has not been a target of the campaign.
Kaufman said his group has had conversations with the governor's office.

By Anne Bartlett  |  November 24, 2008; 9:46 AM ET
Categories:  John Wagner  
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Comments

Private schools do a better job of educating children and they do so with less money.

Perhaps the teachers should support school vouchers? Parents who moved their children to private schools would take less than their full share per student to cover their private tuition, leaving more money per student in the total education budget.

But the Left is programmed to resist school vouchers because it removes the students from the state-run indoctrination programs.

We need to separate Schools and State!

Posted by: NeverLeft | November 24, 2008 10:43 AM | Report abuse

The union needs to understand that times have changed. When the legislature approved greater administrator and teacher pensions last session, the DOW was at 14,000. Now it barely over 8,000. We can't fund the same prograams with the DOW at 8,000 as we thought we could when the DOW was at 14,000. Thus, that pension increase should be rescinded.

Also, the increase in the state property taxes that anti-homeowner state legislators have been talking about is a non-starter.

Posted by: robinfickerofrobinrealty | November 24, 2008 10:46 AM | Report abuse

MD schools are horrible. This means the teachers are horrible. Yet they feel they should continue to advance even in tough economical times. Here's an idea. Prove to me you deserve what you make then we'll talk about a raise. You are a public servant and there for affected by the budget. If theirs less money then you will get less money. This is basic arithmetic and one would expect the teachers to understand this. If not then I guess you've discover the problem.

Posted by: askgees | November 24, 2008 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Too bad that is has come to this, but Education, while important should also contribute its part to make the state budget sustainable. A lot of programs have had to be cut or its funding reduced, education should be no exception unfortunately.

Posted by: vmrg1974 | November 24, 2008 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Based on what data do you think private schools perform better than public schools? Because when you actually look at the research, that claim is totally wrong.

As for Maryland's schools, I think the union is making the point that schools need more funding to improve. Taking funding away won't help them achieve more. That was precisely the problem with No Child Left Behind. All of a sudden there were new rules and new accountability standards but the government never followed through with their promise to adequately fund the law.

Posted by: kathycoulnj | November 24, 2008 12:08 PM | Report abuse

If the public schools could expel unruly students, reduce class sizes to 20 or less kids, only teach kids from the upper economic demographic, and not expend resources teaching special ed students, then I think that a comparision between public and private schools would be valid. Given budgetary constrainst, the school boards and counties need to stand up and limit pay raises and try to cut back on adminstration overhead. But the teachers are on average quite good. I would dare any of the teacher bashing people posting comments to try their hand in the classroom. They would be eaten alive and sent whimpering back to the cave they crawled out.

Posted by: kschur1 | November 24, 2008 2:18 PM | Report abuse

I thought slot machines were supposed to take care of all of their problems. Didn't the teacher's union help pay for advertisements that the anti-slot contingent couldn't compete with? Along with the Police and Firefighters?

Posted by: greatscott47 | November 24, 2008 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Do you see any slot machines around dumba55? Yeah, thats you greatscott47.

Regardless, education is important, but can we say its more important than law enforcement, than health and social services, than infrastructure?

Thank you W for ruining the entire economy in your 8 years - everyone has got to pitch in to get us out of the gutter, including education - NO EXCEPTION.

Posted by: vmrg1974 | November 24, 2008 3:00 PM | Report abuse

"MD schools are horrible. This means the teachers are horrible."

Wrong on both counts, sorry. MD has one of the strongest school systems in the country, and you cannot correlate the abilities of the teachers with the outcomes of the students. The best teachers in the world can't make some of those little monsters learn.

Posted by: reiflame1 | November 24, 2008 3:55 PM | Report abuse

You get what you pay for. We are paying teachers too little, so we get 'poor teachers' (pun intended).

Reading these posts from people who think they are intelligent is comical (especially court-jester Ficker).

Start investing in our children now, or our country's future will be one full of regret that we have so few skilled workers.

Most of you posters will be dead by the time your precious money will have affected lasting change -- this is a 30 year problem. But, your children and their children will have to PAY for your mizerly, short-sighted ways.

Posted by: justaguy43 | November 24, 2008 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Montgomery County has 1100 school administrators who do not teach who are paid over $100,000 each annually for a school year of 8 1/2 months. That is 5.2 per school.

If the Washington Post published 8 1/2 months a year and had those 1100 $100,000+ administrators, what do you think Warren Buffett would do?

Posted by: robinfickerofrobinrealty | November 24, 2008 7:25 PM | Report abuse

justaguy43 wrote: "You get what you pay for..."

This is faulty reasoning. This really only holds in a efficient, competitive marketplace. It doesn't hold when there's a monopoly like the public school system - you get what they'll give you no matter what is charged. For instance, in MoCo the education system is a joke, a stellar example of bureaucracy and bloat. MCPS has reported that they can not even cut a mere 1% from their 2 BILLION dollar budget. You should be arguing for accountability in your school system instead.

Regarding your disparagement of Mr Ficker - the numbers don't lie, no matter who the messenger is or your bias against him.

Posted by: fugo | November 25, 2008 9:10 AM | Report abuse

Maryland has some of the best schools in the entire country, especially MoCo and Howard counties. That is THE deciding factor for the gigantic housing prices in those counties.

The teachers deserve the largest raise they can obtain...as well as a decent pension...they have one of the most important jobs with some of the lowest pay.

What will eventually force them to concede on some things is the terrible state of the economy. Once Bush and Cheney are finally out of the "driver seat", it will nodoubt be years before the new administration can actually get us back to zero...perhaps more than eight years.

As for private schools, I do support folks choice, but generally, the education quality is no better (varies from school to school). Private education is usually driven by religion or parents wanting to segregate their kids based on race or economics. Those are generalizations, I admit..but largely applicable.

Posted by: free-donny | November 25, 2008 9:35 PM | Report abuse

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