It's time for the first ever installment of Analogy Man!
I find myself coming up with analogies all the time. Sometimes my family and friends find them clever enough that it starts a good conversations. Sometimes I'm surprised they don't spread like viral memes.
Analogy Man will be my attempt to make a few analogies spread like viral memes.
Psh, right. Like anybody reads my website any more anyway.
Today: what education budget cuts are like. I'm looking at you, governor Rick Scott.
Lots of governors are trying to balance their budgets by making cuts. Some are trying to take away collective bargaining rights. The governor in my state is trying to balance things out by cutting education.
This is like looking at your family budget, seeing you're diving rapidly into debt, and deciding to work your way out by buying less expensive toilet paper.
"Oh my, we're spending more than we make! Let's see... can't stop going out to movies every week. Can't stop getting McDonald's every Thursday. Can't give up eating in restaurants on the weekends. I know! We'll stop buying the quilted two-ply! We're a recycled single-ply family from now on! Good thing that's solved; c'mon kids! Let's go to the fancy fondue place to celebrate!"
Seriously. Look at the education budget as a portion of the total budget. It's about the same as the toilet paper in your family's monthly bills. And we've been cutting education for years. There's nothing left! Our kids are already suffering, and so will our states: who will want to hire these kids when they grow up? Who will be making the next big advances?
And of course, while we cut their salaries, we force artificial measurements on them (like the FCAT). We expect our budget toilet paper to work just as well as the quilted two-ply, and we'll make sure by counting the number of sheets.
I find it hard to understand where this attitude came from, anyway. If we had lots of millionaire teachers living in mansions, spending in excess, driving Porches and evading their taxes, maybe it would make sense. But no, we're going to try and squeeze some money out of the poor people who haven't had a new car in decades and have to work a second job in the summer. Blood from a stone, anyone?
It's a well known principle: you get the best improvements when you concentrate on the biggest problem. When my family had financial problems, we stopped eating out. Then we got cheaper food, refinanced our house, paid off our highest-interest credit cards, and eventually got a second income. We didn't cut the budget for toilet paper.