By Daniel Downs
One question rarely asked during elections is what children learn. Having spent a lot of time studying education, this is probably the most neglected issue about election campaigns. That is why this article addresses what children will likely learn from one particular campaign: the campaign to pass a 2.7 mill bond issue and 0.5 mill levy for rebuilding five elementary schools in Xenia.
After comparing the text of the bond issue with advertisements and statements made by school officials and supporters, I have come to the conclusion that one thing children may learn is that dishonesty pays. The text of Bond Issue 28 repeatedly states $34.57 million is for “renovating, improving, and constructing additions to existing facilities.” Yet, school officials, the Xenia Education Association, and supporters claim the state will only fund 5 new schools. If state rules prohibits the use of its money for renovations our schools, the state would not have approved the text of Issue 28.
So what buildings do school official plan to repair or renovate? The central office building? Warner Middle School? Xenia High School?
One thing is certain, Spring Hill Elementary will not be one of them. School officials claim state geologists tested the land on which Spring and found springs of water underground. Those springs are the reasons for flooding in the school’s basement. Therefore, the state determined the current site is unfit for building a new school.
School officials expect voters to believe soil sampling was neither performed 50 years ago nor were officials aware of those springs back then. Because they say so, voters are also to believe underground water seeping through unrepaired cracks in the basement makes the site unfit to build a new school. Didn’t anyone suggest building a new school without a basement. Buildings are probably built over supposed high water tables and springs often.
Another thing Issue 28 will likely teach children is government extortion is okay. Extortion is defined as obtaining money by using force, threats, or some other unacceptable means.” Isn’t getting taxpayers hard earn income by deceitful means unacceptable? So was the means states employed to get $200 billion from tobacco companies, of which Ohio got $10 billion.
According to the Cato Institute, tobacco companies were not held responsible for tobacco-related illnesses for over 40 years. In 1994, states began suing tobacco companies to recover medical expenses due to smoking. In the meantime, states changed laws making it possible to win their law suits based on charges that the companies were violating racketeering law. Congress helped the state by crafting master settlement legislation that forced tobacco companies to pay the states for tobacco-related medical expenses indefinitely. Yet, everyone knows smokers choose to smoke knowing the health risks. The money extorted by the governments was to fund medical costs, programs to reduce youth smoking, and programs to prevent tobacco related disease.
How then does building schools help youth quit smoking or prevent cancer?
I image some children will catch the message that government extortion is regarded by many as a good thing. So why we not regard cheating on tests, theft at work, and a host of similar behaviors as good too?
Issue 28 is an object lesson of how the rule of law has been made a bad joke. Rule of law is not whatever politicians say is law. It is not whether a majority agree with an idea, a plan, a party platform, or legislation that violates just laws. The rule of law is the supreme law. It is above all and is applicable to all, even elected and unelected politicians. Federal and state constitutions are the supreme law, not unjust legislation.
Just as states extorting money from tobacco companies violates the rule of law, so does Issue 28. The consolidation of elementary schools and the future middle schools violates the Ohio Revised Code. As I wrote in previous articles, Ohio law requires the building of small schools. I also referred to studies that proved the optimal size of an elementary school less than 350 students. Yet, school officials claim the Ohio School Facilities Commission refuses to fund construction of schools with less than 350 students. Either OSFC does not know Ohio law or doesn’t care. The consolidation plan further demonstrates that the rule of law is a huge farce.
The unlawful and unethical practices of public officials demonstrate that schooling has become the justification for all kinds of vices, corrupt, and illegal practices. Our children are nothing more than pawns in their political strategies.
And what Bond Issue 28 teaches the children of Xenia is that dishonesty and law breaking pays.
Previous posts on the proposed bond issue:
Xenia Community Schools Rebuilding Plan : What I Learned at the Forum, October 21, 2008
Xenia Community Schools Rebuilding Plan : Why Small Schools are Best, October 22, 2009
Xenia Community Schools Rebuilding Plan : Its All About the Money, October 23, 2008
Xenia Deserves Better Schools Than Proposed by Issue 20, November 3, 2008
Comparing City and School Revenues and Their Respective Tax Issues, January 31, 2009
May 5 Xenia Community Schools Bond Issue Text, April 30, 2009
Maintaining the Status Quo in Education, August 13, 2009