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Thursday, February 5, 2009

Can Tough Times Breed Some Sanity?

It's easy to be lazy, reckless and stupid when all is well. In fact, it's human nature to care less when it seems like you don't have much of a care. Well we all now know that times aren't so well anymore, and while some are going through some difficult times, this does create the opportunity for us individually and collectively to get smart about how we use our resources. This leads to a recommendation from Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell to dramatically reduce the number of school districts in the commonwealth.

Article Here

Folks can draw their own conclusions about this, but I, for one, think it's well worth considering. I don't believe that we have too many teachers, but I do know we have too many administrators. That's very true in the Scranton School District, which has a bureaucracy that would make Stalinist Russia look efficient.

Now on the other end of the spectrum lies Governor Rendell's proposal to close the Scranton State School for the Deaf.

Article Here

I am much more wary of this proposal than I am district consolidation. Now I use the word "wary" because I'm not necessarily 100% opposed to it, but I'd first like to see that the services received by the impacted children would not be negatively impacted. In fact, the goal of any chance should be to improve the services provided to these children. If that can't be guaranteed, then I can't say that I think this is a good idea. Mind you I do understand the need to reduce costs throughout the system of education, but that can't come at the expense of children with special needs. How we treat them says more about us as a people than anything else.

Now in another bit of sanity, there are numerous proposals to increase taxes on tobacco products, which I obviously support 1000%. I know the argument: "if you tax it too much, people will stop smoking and the revenue source will dry up". My response: Good. You can always find something else to tax, and if fewer people smoke, that means fewer people run the risk of dying from the multitude of diseases that it causes. Given the choice...healthy people or tobacco tax revenue...I'll take healthy people any day.

I like Governor Rendell. I know, he has a reputation for being a "politician's politician", but sometimes you just have to admire someone who is really good at what they do, even when that "thing they do" is not always viewed in the most postive of lights. Watching Rendell be a politician is like watching Michael Jordan play basketball, Wayne Gretzky play hockey or Berkeley Breathed draw a cartoon.

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