Thursday, February 12, 2009

In Defense of -- Gulp -- the Media

I was at a PTA meeting last night at Eldest's middle school. [Lest you think I'm so totally a rah-rah for such outings, it was only my second of the school year.] I felt particularly compelled to go because I'm currently doing the weekly e-newsletter for the school. [I feel it also noteworthy to point out that I agreed to do the editor duty for a six-week gig. Again, just so you don't think I'm necessarily one of those.]

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Damn, I'm going to have to derail this whole post. I am not ashamed of doing things for my kids' school. I'm rather proud that I carry more than my fair share, certainly at the elementary school the last two are now at and apparently at the middle school Eldest attends. If we are to believe in public schools, if we are to send our kids there, then we really do need to do more than just pay our property taxes. Did I do as much when I worked full time? Nope. But did I at least do something? Hell, yeah. Hell, yeah.

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Tis hard times in California, especially for the public schools. It's been hard times. It's going to be hard times for a long, long time as long as I have kids in school the remainder of California's existence. Proposed budget cuts seem disastrous any place you look. Increase class sizes for K-3? Close one of the middle schools, even though they are all at full enrollment? Eliminate all athletics? All King Solomon or Sophie choices, if you ask me.

Naturally, discussion at the PTA meeting was dominated by a review of the cuts being considered by the board. I felt pity for the board member who also happens to be a parent of a kid at the school. [That's pretty hard for me to feel as I'm pretty much anti-politicians. Period. And, yeah, school board members are politicians.]

One woman started complaining about the media's role in sensationalizing the cuts and adding fuel to the rumor mill. "Can't you not have this get out like that? It makes our town look so bad. Everyone at work was talking about it."

I very nearly had to leave the meeting right then and there as I realized there were people actually agreeing with her. Are you kidding me? You want to let government entities meet in secret? [Okay, okay, national security, sure. I'll grant you that.]

These people aren't talking about how they're budgeting for their household expenses with their money. These people are talking about how they're budgeting for our kids' education with my money. With your money. With everyone's money.

I can't go to every school board meeting, every city council meeting, every county supervisor meeting, and so on. [Would that not be mind-numbingly painful or what?] But I want someone there. And I want her wearing a press badge.

9 comments:

gudnuff said...

Patois, Patois...oh how I love thee. There is not one thing in this post that I didn't wish I'd already written myself. Go, Patois. My neck hurts from nodding so vigorously in agreement to what you've said here. Counter to your own inclinations, I seriously want to vote for you now. You represent my views on this so well! And oh hell yes: viva la press!

MamaGeek @ Works For Us said...

A-men to THAT sister.

Tumblewords: said...

Indeed - Indeed. Seems we could use a lot more common sense and a lot less kneejerk garbage. Good luck!
Glad you're looking at fractals - I love them - the colors and shapes can turn 8 feet of snow into a 'fair' day. LOL Let me know how they're working for you!

Caffeinatrix said...

I can't believe there were parents at that meeting that think important topics like school budget proposals shouldn't be publicized. I understand it's unpleasant these days but burying your head in the sand is just stupid!

Anne said...

I had to stop attending school board meetings because the idiocy of what some people had to say got me all riled up. I feel for you Californians. Our board here is putting together the budget, but so far, it isn't looking ruinous. I can't imagine people not wanting the press to attend board meetings. How will they have any idea what they are voting about?

Mary Witzl said...

I agree with you, but I blush to remember how bored I used to be at PTA meetings. I used to try and pay attention, but I might as well have been back in algebra, doodling and staring at the back of Danny Valdez' head. If I had to cover a PTA meeting, I'd probably faint dead from boredom. And I'm not proud of that -- not one bit.

D... said...

I second your motion. Good grief, I can't believe someone even suggested that, much less was agreed with.

CrAzY Working Mom said...

Yup, I agree with you. No matter what the outcome, no matter how it makes anyone "look"...I'd want to know what is going on with the education of my children as well. I say, YOU GO GIRL!!! :)

(By the way, you're added to my blog roll. I don't know why you weren't there before now. You should've said something!!)

Not Afraid to Use It said...

A press badge with a live webcam. My god.

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