There is a well-known quote often misattributed to Founding Father Thomas Jefferson that states, “The cornerstone of democracy rests on the foundation of an educated electorate,” and although the exact words are not found in any of Jefferson’s writings, he did elucidate a similar sentiment in several writings and letters. In a letter to W. Jarvis in 1820, Jefferson wrote, “I know no safe depositary of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education.” Republicans reject Jefferson’s assertion that America has a duty to educate its populace and it is motivated by both their electoral fortunes are solely dependent on ignorant Americans, and their ideology that government funds are better spent on the rich and corporations than educating Americans. It is relatively safe to say Republicans never found education cuts they did not love, because if the electorate is educated they would never comport conservative ideology founded on giving the rich all of the nation’s wealth.
Many states mandate that schools must be funded at constitutionally required levels, but like many Republicans, Kansas GOP leaders disregarded the Kansas Constitution and deliberately underfunded the state’s public schools to both provide tax cuts for the wealthy and keep their population ignorant. Fortunately for Kansas residents and students, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled unanimously on Friday that the state must increase funding for public K-12 schools. The Court’s ruling gutting Brownback’s education plan was a victory for parents, school districts, and students who sued Brownback who has spent the past four years significantly cutting per student funding while cutting taxes for the rich and corporations. One of the lawyers representing the school districts, John Robb, welcomed the Court ruling and said, “The constitution protects education. It does not protect tax cuts.”
Brownback and his group padded education costs by illegally including teacher retirement benefits and pensions as part of the “per student” spending and made them “part of the whole” of state education costs. In the state budget, pension funds and school finance formula are separate line items, but Brownback decided they were one in the same to give credence to his claim that Kansas spends more on education now than it did in 2000. According to Kansas deputy education commissioner for fiscal and administrative services, legislators decided that school districts would be required to show pension funds as part of their budgets regardless the revenues came from the state. Brownback’s defense was that school districts had no standing to bring their claim before the courts, as well as arguing that the Supreme Court had no right or authority to decide whether or not the Kansas legislature deliberately underfunded public education with the retirement benefits and pensions scheme. The Court’s ruling disabused Brownback of the argument he and Republicans were above reproach and immune from a judicial review of an unconstitutional practice.
Brownback and Republicans’ practice was creating an argument that there are plenty of ways to slash spending for schools, especially spending on teachers, while at the same time telling Kansas voters that the teacher pay and benefits should be so attractive the state will bring in “the best and brightest” to educate their children. Brownback’s assertion that Kansas is spending more today than in 2000 was in part because Republicans required school districts to count the state’s pension and retirement responsibility, as well as higher normal operating costs the schools had absolutely no control over. For example, electricity and insurance costs are significantly higher today than in 2000, and diesel fuel to bus students to and from school today is approximately $3.44 per gallon when in 2000 is was only $1.03 that all impacted school districts’ operational expenses. Adding in the state’s responsibility to fund pensions as per child spending “is absurd” according to a lawyer for the plaintiffs who said it was ridiculous to think school districts are responsible for keeping the state pension system solvent. He also said that tax cuts Brownback enacted in 2012 drastically reduced how much money the state had remaining to spend on constitutionally required education spending. He reiterated that “The state pension plan and the schools are both state responsibilities and both are underfunded” because Republicans squandered education money on tax cuts. It is an issue in several Republicans states that shortchange schools under the guise of budget deficits resulting from tax cuts for the rich and corporations.
Kansas Republicans were not happy about the ruling and outraged that the Court gave them until July 1 to implement the funding changes. Republican Rep. Steve Huebert complained that “The courts take as long as they want to make their rulings, and they put deadlines on us? We have our structure of deadlines already built in. They have ultimate flexibility. They can do whatever they want whenever they want, year round. For them to be putting on a July 1 deadline, you know, I think that’s presumptuous.” Apparently, Republicans knew their funding scheme was under judicial review for the past year and that the issue was their rejection of constitutionally required education funding levels.
Perhaps Republican legislators could have spent time funding schools according to the Kansas state Constitution instead of passing legislation ending sex education, blocking the internet from rural communities, attempting to abolish no-fault divorce, or passing the discriminatory “turn the gays away” legislation. Except for restricting rural communities from having internet access, Kansas Republicans found plenty of time to pass extremist Christian laws, but could not find time to adhere to the state Constitution and adequately fund schools.
Sam Brownback may be the first Republican governor to cut school spending by requiring school districts to include the state’s responsibility to fund pensions in their budgets, but he is one of many, many Republican governors cutting education spending to fund tax cuts for the rich and corporations. Other Republican governors are shifting taxpayer money for public education to fund private Christian schools that is another ploy to keep their populations ignorant by teaching the bible as science. As an aside, Founding Father Thomas Jefferson not only asserted it is the government’s responsibility to educate the populace, he said “I have a conviction that science is important to the preservation of our government, and that it is also essential to its protection against foreign power.” In America, the foreign power this government needs protection from is Republicans and their evangelical fanatic voting bloc that revels in ignorance and superstition. One wonders how long Republicans like Sam Brownback will stay in power now that Kansas’ Supreme Court ordered him to, as Thomas Jefferson asserted, provide adequate funding to inform the people’s discretion by education.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.
17 Replies to “Republicans Slash Public Education to Fund Tax Cuts For Millionaires and Corporations”
Conservatives are repugnant and nauseating people whose purpose is the screw regular people to serve their masters…
The tax breaks for the corporations at the expense of education is deplorable. Ultimately this is going to come back and bite them in the ass. Living in a college town I can tell you that the young people are more self aware and educated on issues than any previous generations, and they are pissed! Even the kids as young as 12 or 13 can debate you on politics. Add to the fact that the youth of today are masters of social media and it spells disaster for the republican party in the future.
Anyone who studies the GOP knows the that their pushing a one world nation through corporate america! See republican politicians can make a pledge of obedience to glover norgquist that trumps their obligations to uphold the constitution and your typical republican sheepie doesn’t bat an eye, under funding public schools is just another part of their scheme, keep the poor as under educated as possible, butcher the job market and watch 100’s of thousands of people fight for a few hundred jobs!! The republican party has become a TRUE american terrorist organization!
Those people that are being uneducated at this time will sometime in the future be controlling the country. When our current set of young repubs are old,they too may be pushed under the bus because they wouldn’t fund education now. What goes around, comes around. How a party that believes corporations are more important than our kids is beyond me. After all is said and done, there are still some things that money can’t buy.
Uh….where will our future workforce for our technologically advanced civilization come from???
India and China????
Public schools are necessary….like public roads and bridges.
The tea bag/repubs need to keep everyone as IGNORANT as they are so we don’t see the cesspool they want as a nation.
The elite 1%, their own (inbred) spawn and all of their bought and paid for Republican and Tea Party flying-monkeys plan to enslave or actually kill us all (the 99%) off as soon as (inhumanly) possible after they have taken full control of the U.S.A.. In my opinion. They are really that evil and sick. They would own and rule over everyone of us if they could get away with it. They would all want too be treated just like “GODS” by everyone of us insignificant, merely mortal, savages. Can you believe that this is really happening in the U.S.A. today? Hell on earth awaits us all if we don’t flush all of these filthy, rotten, demonic, sick, dirty, inhuman, devils out of our Govt. and back down into the deepest sewer pits of “Hell” where they all belong. GOOD VS EVIL, the battle. Its is real. Count on it.
‘Merica! Freedom! Freedom to keep people uneducated–so they believe the lies they tell–and claims that it is for their own good. Pathetic!
Keep them Poor! Keep them Stupid! Keep them Republican! This whole problem of poor schools can be directly tied to Repubs. and Conservs. and their hatred of public education because religion cannot be forced on innocent children to become mindless drones.Their “solution” is charter schools payed for by Tax Payer Funds to be able to fill the curriculum with God and Creationist Lies.
“because if the electorate is educated they would never comport conservative ideology founded on giving the rich all of the nation’s wealth.”
Typical ninja mind thought spew that people are expected to surmise from the above statement that once again the democrats are a more intelligent group.I’ll point out most of the large cities with highest drop out rates many are in democratic control.
The illegal immigration and the costs to the educational systems, health care systems, extra services and police presence required because of non enforcement of illegal immigration is ignored.
The persistent idea that American societies laws, and culture can be ignored in favor of increasing illegal immigration and cultural displacement for a democratic party base increase will always be and should be met by tax resistance from all levels of income.
In the mean time, the gop has no response to illegal immigration. Which of course makes the party with at least some response to be more intelligent
Now, p[lease respond to that statement you quoted. Why do you support giving the nations wealth to the 1%, and why do you support 93% of all new wages going to the 1% for the last 8 years? Why do you support lower taxes for the rich so that you can make up for those taxes which is the gop plan?
Its nice that you can discuss illegal immigration, but do try to stay on track
The GOP in some states have had a response. In Arizona there was a response and in other states there was a response to enforce the laws. Compliance to laws has been deemed illegal null and void by the DOJ which in fact is under Democratic control. To discuss taxes one needs to express what the money is used for. If taxes from the rich are to be used to subsidize illegal immigration and further cultural displacement I would rather the 1% buy more yachts and waste it on pure self indulgence and gorge themselves silly.
Im sorry, your arguement does not carry water. The laws in Arizona and other places are not to be compliant to laws, but to create laws that humiliate and be cruel and unusual punishment.
Remember Russel Peirce? He wrote some of those laws and was kicked out of his legislature by his citizens.
Of course you support the rich paying vastly less % wise then you do. You have been told to. Its a [ity you do not see past illegal immigration, because there is far more in this country then that. Very weak arguement jsut to support the rich who could care less about you.
But who uses that illegal immigration? The rich do. They employ them for nothing. While you dance in the street thinking you had a point
The laws were not cruel or unusual they were just the enforcement of the same as the federal laws. They just didn’t fit the agenda of the his-pandering Democratic party. Of course the rich use illegal immigrants they use everything to their advantage that’s why they are rich. To think this society can be fixed by making the rich pay more which they should by principle if in a country governed by principals falls far short and fails to address many other issues.
This is not a question of making then rich pay more. This is a question of holding the rich to the same laws you are held to. We have tax brackets that everyone fits into. Everyone except the rich. You worry about where the rich’s taxes go, whine about illegal immigration then dont see the hypocrisy. The rich dont pay taxes like you do, and they WANT the illegal immigration.
You blame the dems which makes me laugh, it was the Supreme Court that show down Arizona’s racial profiling laws.
It sounds to me like your principles are in the wrong place. Or confused.
Sigh!..your screenname proves from the start that you have no idea what this world is about. By claiming such a childish thing you show that indeed you are always Wrong! And Shiva, there is no way this twit will ever see how wrong they are, they have their alleged mind made up and all the fact and reality in the world will never dent such ignorant arrogance.
Of all the stupid politicians, this one taKES THE CAKE. tHE BACKLASH DECISION FROM THE COURT ONLY POINTS OUT HOW IGNORANT SOME ELECTED OFFICIALS ARE.They find out the hard way that there are far superior deciders than they!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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