Saturday, October 9, 2010

'The bureaucrats just don't get it'

"You've done a great thing in Oklahoma," Sarah Palin said last month in Tulsa, referring to a new law which allows parents of special-needs students to choose the safest and best schools for their children, whether those schools are government-operated or privately operated.

Interestingly, Palin's remarks came just a few short weeks before some Tulsa-area bureaucrats made the rather startling announcement that they aren't going to comply with the law. A seemingly prescient Palin had noted that "instead of removing barriers and opening new paths of opportunity, it seems like, gosh, the bureaucrats just don't get it. Why make life any tougher or more challenging for these kids and for their families?"

Why? Well, it's because bureaucrats love building fiefdoms, and they don't want any revenue units (a.k.a. children) to escape. George Wallace blocked the schoolhouse door to keep students out; these bureaucrats block the schoolhouse door to keep students in. As law professor Andrew Spiropoulos pointed out, "they would prefer to be cruel to the most vulnerable children in our society than give up a dollar of their precious funding."

Kirby Lehman is one of those bureaucrats who just doesn't get it. He complains that helping these vulnerable children would erode education funding, which he's against, given that it's already eroded to the point that he is forced to scrape by on 25 grand a month.

Bureaucrat Jarod Mendenhall doesn't get it. He complains that "we don't have enough money to fund what we do now." Of course, what exactly it is they do now isn't entirely clear, which is why federal, state, and local law enforcement officials are investigating the school district.

Bureaucrat Cathy Burden doesn't get it. Bless her heart, she doesn't see anything wrong with bemoaning the insufficient "commitment to education" being made by the taxpayers who pay her nearly $20,000 every month. And she does it in the same speech in which she acknowledges that these uncommitted taxpayers just provided her with "eye-popping" new turf for her football stadium!

Bureaucrat Lisa Muller doesn't get it. She boasts that her school district serves special-needs students "very well," and indeed is renowned for it (which presumably justifies her compensation of nearly $8,000 per month). It doesn't seem to occur to her that if the district really is as good as she says it is, then obviously parents will choose it voluntarily. If the district is that good, why would it need to block the schoolhouse door to keep its students?

And on it goes. Bureaucrat Debbie Burchfield (more than $9,000 per month) doesn't get it. Bureaucrat Roger Wright (more than $8,600 per month) doesn't get it. Stay tuned for more bureaucrats who just don't get it.

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