Voters think positive with school bonds

Many watched anxiously as the results slowly trickled in, fingers crossed in hopes of positive results.
May 12, 2014

 

As more and more precincts reported, it became clear that both Grand Haven and Spring Lake voters had given their stamps of approval to a handful of bond proposals that will help keep the schools among the best in the state, and the nation, for many years.

These bond votes weren’t slam dunks. One only has to look back to last November’s vote — when Spring Lake residents shot down a more aggressive proposal —  to realize that voters weren’t going to simply give the bonds a green light.

Instead, the school districts put in the time to find out what the voters wanted, then devoted more hours to selling the proposals to the community.

In the end, the efforts were successful, and the children of the Tri-Cities area will benefit greatly from those efforts for years to come.

More than that, last Tuesday’s vote may offer a glimpse into the future of our economy. For voters to approve every proposal on the ballot — including bonds for athletic facilities, which are desired but certainly not required — shows that residents of West Michigan have a bit more faith in the direction the economy is headed.

It also shows that the residents of Grand Haven and Spring Lake school districts realize just how vital strong schools are to the vibrancy of a community.

People want to live and work in places with quality schools, and passing these bonds will no doubt help our schools remain on the cutting edge of technology while also offering plenty of extracurricular options for our students.

Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Cheryl Welch, Matt DeYoung, Alex Doty and Fred VandenBrand. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to news@grandhaventribune.com or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.

Comments

Straightjacket

This is really just another example of redistribution of wealth. This is no different than food stamps or HUD rent for poor people. Making every land owner pay for the educational cost parents should accept responsibility for through tuition and fees. Other land owners are hence paying to educate other people's children. I call it redistribution of wealth.

rj18rad

Exactly! That is all the funding of education has become, feeding the bloated teachers' unions and overpaid administrators!

mama-shue

Then Move! No one is making you stay here and help support our kids.

rj18rad

In the process.

Freddo

I call it the social contract. Our economy depends on a well-educated workforce. Our democracy depends on a well-informed electorate. If we do not have well-educated citizens, we all suffer. So, we all share the burden of educating students, because we all benefit from the advances made possible by their education.

If we followed the idea that everyone is responsible for the education of their own children "through tuition and fees," we would be producing an even-more stratified education system in which the well-to-do had access to a quality education and the poor do not. This already exists, but it would be order of magnitudes worse under your "plan." Whatever the choices and circumstances of their parents, children deserve an equal opportunity to learn.

Highlander

1. look up the definitions of community, society, civilization...E pluribus unum.
2. A "team" is only as strong as its "weakest" team member. Help the bottom, make the "whole" stronger. This applies in business, the military, etc.
3. Redistribution of wealth? What do you call the corporatizing a society so the top 2% control everything, dont pay taxes, and the bottom feeders earn a fraction of what they made (adjusted for cost of living, ect). Its a new form of feudal system. They're using apathy, ignorance and fear to control the majority via smoke & mirror games.
4. What do you call it when a government and corporations are essentially "one in the same"?
5. Through taxes, you/we pay for the military, education, roads (most of which you'll never use), R & D at NASA (which has given you much of the technology we have today), financed Comerica Park ($55million+), etc. I've never needed the police or fire dept.- hey, so you're saying that I should be free to pick and choose what I pay for, a la carte?

Welcome to civilization. Can we be a great civilization if 43 million are poor?

Michiganders balk at paying takes- see those roads? The worst around. I shouldn't have to pay for them using your logic, because I walk to work? cool. Now answer the questions.

deeg

If you don't buy gas you don't pay much for road maintenance.

Highlander

Awesome. So, I then get a free ride for public safety/emergency services & delivery vehicles that pay fuel taxes to deliver my tropical fruits to Meijer in February, etc. Suckers.

GH55

Yes, don't bother with the bloated defense budget, or the subsidies for the bloated oil companies that are making record profits, or the bloated, "too big to let fail", banking industry, we tax payers had to bail out, that are now getting billions in bonuses to start the process all over again!
Society has a responsibility to educate its children! Who do you think is going to take care of you in your old age?
Its the same old tired adage: I got mine, who cares about you!

rj18rad

Parents have a responsibility to educate their children, not the government! I'll be taking care of myself in my old age. If you still believe in that "dream" than you are a fool.

Lanivan

How fortunate you are able to stay home and home school your children. I wonder what would happen if every parent proclaimed they were quitting their jobs to provide their children's education. Are you sufficiently educated yourself to educate your child all the way through advanced math, science, English, and a choice of languages?

And then there's also the novel idea that parents can still tutor their children outside of the school experience, not to mention provide the child with many educational opportunities through family vacations, weekend field trips, trips to the library, special documentaries to watch together as a family, trips to museums and nature centers, etc, etc.

Oh - and that dream of taking care of yourself in your old age? Good Luck with that. You obviously haven't had the honor of taking care of old people yet, who might have Alzheimer's or dementia, heart disease, arthritis, or any other myriad of health issues common to the elderly, and which often doesn't allow them to be independent or be able to totally take care of themselves. I wish you luck.

Highlander

I no longer have children in schools- other than college. It is my civil duty to invest in the future of my country. Who built the schools that you and yours have used. You? or those who came before you? Who paid for WWI? WWII? Funding the gov't's research & development of the technology and infrastructure that brought you the Internet? Should you be responsible for investing in America today, so that the Greatest Generation's vision, efforts and sacrifices don't die because of some self-serving individuals? Please.

Vladtheimp

Let's take a look at the "bloated" oil companies for a brief sec. This is a typical liberal talking point that ignores reality. The costs of a gallon of gasoline have 4 major components, in descending order of cost: (1) Cost of oil; (2) Federal and State taxes; (3) refining costs; and 4) retail distribution.

The cost of oil is determined by the world market, but we can stipulate that the oil companies make a good profit on it. Estimates from the American Petroleum Institute are that Exxon-Mobil earns roughly 8 cents for every dollar of its sales covering all costs.

Its downstream costs are more readily susceptible to determination and comparison - Exxon makes a profit of about 7 cents to 8 cents per gallon from refining crude into gas retailing it through advertising and gas stations. Not bad, but consumers pay Government (the Feds make a "profit" of 18.4 cents per gallon and in Michigan, where gas taxes are relatively high, the additional "profit" is 61.3 cents per gallon), so the Feds and Michigan make far more per gallon than Exxon gets for distilling, distributing and selling the gas.

But that's not the point that needs to be made: compare Exxon's downstream profit of say 8 cents with Apple's (3 times Exxon) or computer chip maker Linear Technololgy (4 times Exxon). In fact, based on net earnings per sales, #1 industry is beverage and cigarettes (26 cents per dollar sales); #2. Computers and peripherals (23.6 cents); #3. Pharmaceuticals and medicine (23 cents); down to Oil and Natural Gas (9.5). (U.S. Census Dept., Oil and Gas Journal

Try to live and work without the liberal Big Oil Boogeyman. http://www.nationalreview.com/ex...

Lanivan

I can't speak for GH55, but I doubt the intent in mentioning the "bloated" oil and gas companies was to segue from education to the fossil fuel industry. Nonetheless, there is nothing in your comment that is surprising. The world literally couldn't survive without Big Oil.

But the fact remains that the Top 5 Big Oil Transnationals are some of the wealthiest in the world, and some of the most profitable in the US.

They made a combined total of $93 billion in profits in 2013. By the by, that translates to $177,000 a minute. But as astronomical as that seems, profits were down slightly from 2012, when the cost of gas was higher. But the federal and state gas and oil subsidies rock on, without subsiding.

Barry Soetoro

Speaking of obscene profits...

http://www.usatoday.com/story/ne...

Lanivan

Remember last year, when a proposal was made in the Senate to protect the student loan rate of 3.4% from spiking while negotiations were ongoing for a more permanent solution?

Yep - you guessed it! "The Senate on Wednesday failed to advance a bill backed by Democratic leaders that would keep student loan interest rates at 3.4 percent for another year.

In a 51-49 vote, the Senate fell short of the 60 votes necessary to break a filibuster and proceed with the bill.

It would have been 52-48 but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) had to switch his vote for procedural reasons. Regardless, literally every Republican in the chamber supported the filibuster."

Vladtheimp

Conveniently ignoring that Obama nationalized the student loan program resulting in huge profits to the government:

"The Obama Administration’s overreach into the student loan industry has been wide-sweeping. In what The Wall Street Journal deemed “that other government takeover,” a provision buried deep in Obamacare effectively nationalized the student loan industry by ending government subsidies to private lenders and putting the federal government in charge of originating and servicing federally backed student loans.

The Obamacare provision came in addition to the Administration’s decision in 2011—made through executive order—to forgive student loan debt after 20 years. And it comes in addition to the Administration’s gainful employment regulations restricting access to student loans for students attending for-profit institutions.

But the current debate’s origins are in separate legislation passed in 2007 whereby the federal government set interest rates on student loans artificially low, cutting the rates in half temporarily for four years. Now that the interest rates are set to increase, President Obama is pressing Congress to keep rates low.

Burke says that part of the problem is that under the current system, virtually anyone is eligible for a student loan, regardless of credit history or repayment potential. And the taxpayers are on the hook for the costs. http://blog.heritage.org/2012/04...

Another "benefit" of Obamacare . . . .

Lanivan

Some of the comments here highlight a major deficiency in current political philosophy - an inability to connect the dots, and an appalling lack of insight into how things work. An educated workforce is one of the most important enticements to business looking for a state in which to expand. An educated society is one that is more productive, healthier, happier, pays more taxes, and which provides communities with many long-term benefits.

Good,dedicated, well-paid teachers, progressive schools that can afford to keep up with global technological challenges, and a high degree of high school graduates that are ready and motivated for higher educational advancement, certifications, or trade schools are one of the best investments vital communities can make.

Harry Kovaire

"... are one of the best investments vital communities can make."

If only there was evidence to support that lovely idea.

http://www.theatlantic.com/educa...

http://www.nytimes.com/roomforde...

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bi...

Vladtheimp

You're too kind - I was focusing on good, educated, well paid teachers, who rise to the heights in progressive education, like Karen Lewis, head of the Chicago Teachers' Union http://youtu.be/A1YXOSaMZzs

I was also struck by the earlier comment by Ms. Lanny: "Are you sufficiently educated yourself to educate your child all the way through advanced math, science, English, and a choice of languages" when applied to Common Core. I would ask Ms. Lanny: Are you smarter than a Common Core 4th Grader? http://blog.heritage.org/2014/01...

Freddo

What exactly is your first video supposed to prove, Vlad? There are bad teachers? There are people who oughtn't be involved in the system? Duh. I was offended watching that clip. The uneasy laughter suggests that her audience was not particularly comfortable, either. She doesn't represent teachers in general.

Still, though, I would think you'd appreciate her: she doesn't like the Obama Administration's policies.

Vladtheimp

Did you miss that she's the head of the friggin teachers' union in Chicago? Want more of her Progressive education philosophy? http://eagnews.org/ctu-president... http://dailycaller.com/2014/03/2...

And how much she makes - a secret but upwards of $180,000 plus benefits. Nice star you've attached yourself to.

Lanivan

Just for kicks, why don't you highlight a fabulous teacher who has served his/her students wonderfully and achieved a great deal in the classroom?

Vladtheimp

Just for kicks, why don't you explain how this creature became head of the Chicago Teachers Union?

Freddo

"Nice star you've attached yourself to." Again, what is that supposed to mean? Did you read what I wrote? I did not say I approved of this woman. Union heads are often fiery, which is fine, but I don't approve of much of what she says.

I don't see anything wrong with teaching social justice, though. You wouldn't want the examples to be too heavy-handed, but as a concept, it's perfectly fine.

Lanivan

I suppose you heard about her on Rush's show. She's the kind of colorful, brash, fiery, passionate, uninhibited woman that he feels threatened by. Every profession has it's characters - including the law. So what?

I can't speak to the Common Core argument. I have teacher friends who can't say enough good things about the new standards and the exciting and promising results they are seeing in the classroom, and others say they do not like it all. If the teacher is open to the concept, it works for them. If the teacher has a different style or philosophy, Common core will not be an attractive set of standards. But the fact remains:

"The global exam, which was given to 15-year-olds around the world, is considered the worldwide benchmark for education ranking by country. The test measures standards in subjects like math, science and reading across Europe, North and South America, Australia, Asia and parts of the Middle East. This year, Tunisia in Africa also participated.

U.S. performance was extremely low, doing average in reading and science and well below average in math. We failed to reach the top 20 in any of the subjects tested. America fell notably below the United Kingdom and well behind most of our Asian counterparts.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan calls America's performance education stagnation. "The brutal truth...that urgent reality...must serve as a wake up call against educational complacency and low expectations," Duncan said. "The problem is not that our 15-year-olds are performing worse today than before...the problem, instead, is that they are simply not making progress. Yet, students in many other nations...are advancing, instead of standing still."

Duncan says average scores in the U.S. are dragged down by a large number of poor minority students. "It is absolutely true that we have large, troubling, deeply unacceptable achievement gaps in America," Duncan said. And these gaps are painfully evident on this PISA assessment."

The results also show that several countries which once lagged behind the U.S. in 2009 are now out-performing American students in areas like science and math."

Vladtheimp

Wrong, Ms. Know-It-All - We have two grandkids in the Chicago Public School System so I make it my business to keep up with that terrible system. It appears that Ms. Karen Lewis has a problem with Mr. Duncan (the janitor appointed to run the system, in her words). Do you support Mr. Duncan or the esteemed Ms. Lewis?

For someone who can't speak to Common Core there seems to be a lot of speaking going on . . . .

Lanivan

You're a bit aggressive about this. First of all, I have never heard of Karen Lewis until yesterday. Second of all, she's not my cup of tea, but I recognize and respect her unique abilities, and apparently someone likes her. Thirdly, I haven't "attached my star" to her or any public school official, other than a close relative who is an administrator for a public school system, and is 101% dedicated to the students, particularly high-risk students. She works deep in the trenches, keeping these kids in school, encouraging their abilities, and helping them to say no to sex, drugs, alcohol, gangs, and all the other pressures put upon our young people.

Fourthly, I do not necessarily support Arne Duncan, Ms. Lewis, Rahm Emmanuel (who isn't a favorite of Karen Lewis from what I've been reading), or the CPS system, so get off my grill.

And finally, and most importantly, what kind of education are your grandchildren receiving, are their parents satisfied, and for the love of God I hope you aren't running around in front of them calling Karen Lewis a "creature" and bad-mouthing their schools.

Vladtheimp

1. Time to put down the Malbec - the "star" comment was in reply to someone else.

2. I would love to have explained to me the "unique abilities" you divined from either link I provided.

3. You're the one who brought up Arne Duncan - I never mentioned his name.

4. My son and daughter-in-law are pleased with the school their kids are attending, although they have a different perspective on many things than I do. That said, getting them into a good school took hours and hours of work, study, learning the system and luck - something that many Chicago parents are unable to duplicate. Our kids bemoan the state of the neighborhood schools their children would have been forced to attend but for the time and work spent in getting them into a magnet school.

5. Your last hope, for the love of God, is probably the worst thing you have suggested about me, and that's saying a lot.

Lanivan

4. Can you identify specific complaints? Teachers? Curriculum? Other students? How is their magnet school different? I realize this sounds like prying, but out of curiosity I am interested in a general summary if you care to give one.

5. I was following your lead of disrespect and sarcastic portrayals and videos (mostly women) to make a point, your extreme and caustic views on many public figures with whom you do not agree, and your tendency towards aggressive expression. I will assume by your comment that the answer is no, which, as I stated, is most important to me in terms of children. As for it being the worst thing I have suggested about you, (you, who have "suggested" many things about me), - I apologize for anything past, present, and future that I might "suggest" about you, but which is in fact not the truth.

Now - back to Big Oil.....

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