Why this teacher says ‘No’ to Question 7

So if you read this blog regularly you know that I am a schoolteacher by day in Maryland. This question 7 thing on the ballot had me stumped at first but now it’s all too clear what my vote will be.  At first I was in favor of this proposal because of the possibility of bringing jobs to Marylanders.  Currently Maryland has a 6.9 percent unemployment rate which is lower than the national average but could use improvement.  So why say no to jobs I thought. Then I started listening more….

These folks at Vote No on 7 are quite savvy in their quest for support.  Check out the website and you will see what I mean.  They also mailed a flier to me about the three major reasons to oppose this bill.  The loophole in the education funding, jobs that are not guaranteed to Marylanders, and the tax cuts for casino operators are major issues that I could not ignore.

Then I started doing my own thinking about this issue and I had a few thoughts of my own. Lemme break it down UB style:

  1. Pretend I’m from Missouri: Show me– As a 16 year veteran teacher I have seen a lot in my career. I have worked in a county where we have high rates of poverty and children from other countries.  And what always seems to happen is we have to beg, borrow and steal for resources to teach these children.  “Do more with less” is the standard response we get when asking for just a little help. What I’ve never seen is some resources coming in from the existing gaming systems that we do have in Maryland such as the lottery. Now I don’t review the budget with a fine tooth comb but from what I can tell my students don’t reap the benefits of the lottery. Why don’t these people who want me to vote yes show me an example of a school district that has truly benefitted from the gambling in their state? Hello….Anyone…I don’t hear anything….Can I buy a vowel????
  2. No support from the teacher’s unions– I got a letter from the Howard County Education Association yesterday (Note to self: stop reading the mail until election season is over. It’s raising my blood pressure.) It was a six paragraph letter indicating who they were supporting for the school board positions. At the bottom there was a PS that said in part “Maryland State Education Association recommends votes FOR Question 4  Public Institutions of Higher Education Tuition Rates and FOR Question 6 Civil Marriage Protection Act.”  Ahem …(clearing my throat a bit) Where’s the support for the Question that’s supposed to bring $$$ into the schools? In fact I looked at a few teacher union’s websites to see if they are throwing any support behind this and no one is saying a word. They haven’t said to vote ‘No’ on it either but if we are to reap the benefits of this gambling system why not shout from the rooftops. HCEA’s letter should have said  ” P.S. WE CALL BS ON QUESTION 7″.  If my union can’t support this why the hell should I?
  3. Education seems to always take it for the team– Why must the children suffer? Hell why must my salary and pension suffer for that matter? The Maryland Legislature really did really did take $350 million from the Education Trust Fund to balance the budget.  Will we see that money again? I doubt it. And the same lawmakers ran out the door like Cinderella at midnight back in April when the Doomsday budget was on the table. Thank God Governor O’Malley called a special session and asked them to take a better look at the schools, libraries and law enforcement agencies that were about to take a $500 million cut. If the school system actually does get some extra funds from gambling I have a sneaky suspicion that some idiot will come along and snatch it out of our hands. I’m not willing to take the risk.

It all boils down to faith. I have very little faith that these people will actually get the money to the schools as a teacher and an old school city girl who has seen plenty of con artists in her lifetime. My vote is ‘NO’ on Question 7. If the state is suffering that bad, take a note from the poor school districts’ book: DO MORE WITH LESS.

P.S. Save the argument about ‘giving our money to West Virginia’s casinos’. They give it right back to us when they shop at our outlets and vacation on our beaches.

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