For the Ed Blob, it probably beats real reform.
In an impressive display of letterhead from the state's education blob, the New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) and it's largest chapter, the UFT of New York City; together with their press release partners, the Campaign for Fiscal Equity and the Alliance for Quality Education, announced their collective support for Governor Paterson's proposal to allow wine to be sold in grocery stores (here).
What, might you ask, does making wine more convenient to purchase have to do with education? The answer is the same to the question, 'what makes the world go 'round?'
Funding Cuts Loom for Education
After years of large spending increases, education funding for school districts is likely to take a once in a generation whack at the state level. District schools, at least, will get another chunk of federal ARRA funds (aka, "Stimulus") and can tax more locally, if they choose. By contrast, charter schools, which already get less funding, took a hit this year thanks to these same education groups. Charters only get a trickle of ARRA funds and cannot tax locally. The upshot is that charter schools will be forced to live on 2008-09 funding levels, which is demanded of no school district.
But, back to wine. The education blob is so desperate for more cash, and cannot bear to live on charter funding levels from two years prior, they've now come out for more wine consumption from a greater availability in grocery stores. How much of the projected $300 million in basically one-time franchise fees from grocers selling wine find its way for education? Certainly not all of it since cuts were made in all state programs.
Education Reform Gets More $ Than New Wine Sales
It's also rather twisted that NYSUT et.al. would rather shill for wine in grocery stores than for real education reforms that would result in more than twice the revenue for the state from the Race to the Top program -- and all for education.
With the likely loss of federal RttT funding, it's a wonder the education blob stopped with just wine, and isn't also demanding vodka, gin, scotch, whiskey, triple sec, Kahlua, rum, Bailey's, grain alcohol and every other liquor and spirits be sold in grocery stores.
Let's keep it to wine. Having shopped in 49 states in the union, lots of them (35, to be exact) sell wine in grocery stores. It's reasonable for New York to allow for this and, as the Psalmist says, "wine maketh glad the heart of man" (104:15).
Still, count me as sardonic at the visual of New York's education establishment caring more about wine on grocery store shelves than for education reforms to benefit students and generate a lot more revenue for the state's education budget.
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