Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Dan Walters on a slippery slope


 The Sacramento Bee’s prime opinionator makes the argument today that school officials should not be telling the public about the high costs if we do not pass Prop. 30.  He says, “Education Code Section 7054 prohibits K-12 and community college officials from spending public funds "for the purpose of urging the support or defeat of any ballot measure or candidate … ."
The state Supreme Court cited that law three years ago in ruling that it was illegal for a teachers union to use school district facilities to distribute political literature.
Throughout California, however, school officials are sullying the intent of the law by using official communications to plug passage of Proposition 30, Gov. Jerry Brown's sales and income tax increase.

Walters has moved down the slippery slope. Following his argument public employees can’t tell parents and students that tuition increases and budget cuts are coming -  $ 4.5 billion  in cuts to K-12, and  $.5 billion to the universities.

While reasonable rules are needed to prevent public resources from being used as propaganda, it is absurd to argue that public employees must not share this vital information with the voting public.  Apparently Walters believes voters should rely upon the Bee and similar news outlets for the information. 
One problem with that argument is that large majorities no longer read the newspapers.  A second problem, the newspapers are corporate owned and  generally promote a corporate agenda.  They mis report major stories.  Just look at the stories posted below about the Chicago teachers’ strike and ask yourself, did you see these ideas in your local paper?

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