Star Editorial on Tucson Schools Doesn’t Get It

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by David Safier

Tasl_sm(TASL) Gather a group of hungry people in a room, and throw in a chunk of meat that’s not big enough to feed them all. What do you think will happen?

Will they (1) convene an orderly meeting using Robert’s Rules of Order and figure out the best way to divide the meat equitably, or will they (2) dive on the meat, clawing and scratching, each trying to get enough to eat?

If you chose option number one, you’ll agree with today’s editorial in the Star, which asks the Rodney King question, why can’t people in the Tucson School District just get along and divvie up its inadequate budget without fighting?

The Star is upset that people in TUSD keep arguing about how to deal with the budget shortfall:

TUSD can’t change for the better until all parts can agree on a common goal; namely, providing an excellent education to children within the budget confines of our strained public-education system.

The statement makes absolutely no sense. You can no more provide an “excellent education” across the district without adequate funds than you can provide “excellent nutrition” to a group of people without adequate food.

This next statement is so ridiculous, it borders on self parody:

Adults in TUSD blame each other, saying “It’s not me, it’s the other guy,” and ultimately, kids are the ones who pay the price, sitting in crowded classrooms with outdated textbooks, with teachers worried about getting a raise that at least keeps pace with the rate of inflation.

Let me get this straight. If adults in TUSD worked together, classrooms would uncrowd, old textbooks would be replaced and teachers would get raises? Have they found someone here in Tucson who knows how to work the Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes?

I understand the District has to deal with reality. It has to do the best it can in an impossible budgetary situation. But we need to be honest. It takes money to fund significant improvements in education. We can’t sprinkle magic pixie dust over the School Board, sing a chorus of Kumbaya, and expect our problems go away. If the Star denies this reality, it does Tucson a disservice.