Whose kids do you care about? | VailDaily.com

Whose kids do you care about?

I am a selfish parent. When it comes to education, no matter what grade, what teacher or what school any child of mine attends, all I truly care about is my child. When I am put into a position to choose what is best for my neighbor’s child or mine, mine will win every time, without question. Yet I know many local children whose parents are not as well off financially as we are. I know many children whose parents might not be burdened with financial issues but instead are overwhelmed with drug, alcohol and/or infidelity problems. I know many children who are legally “poor” by government standards and are forced to apply for free lunches, free transportation, free field trips, etc. I have known many children in Happy Valley who fell through the cracks and some who are on the cusp of those same cracks at this very moment. However, when tough decisions have to be made concerning the future of any of them, my No. 1 priority will always be my own.And any parent who says or does otherwise is either a liar to themselves or a bad parent.Second in the priority line, again as far as education is concerned, will be my neighbor’s child, then the children down the street, and then the rest of the subdivision, and so on for the entire community, state, country and finally, mankind as a whole.The reason is simple: Once those two redundant terms, religion and war, are tossed aside, education is the prize-winning proven method to prosper as a species, and I place its importance just below food and shelter, only because no one can eat a textbook for nutrition or build a house out of knowledge.Most parents I know agree with the above, yet some are claiming otherwise to coerce voters to vote for both 1A and 3B, as if a “no” vote for either implies a lack of compassion for children or at the very least a dearth of desire for future generations to thrive. These folks need to understand that voters are much smarter than they are being given credit for and will not be shamed or railroaded into believing taxation is the answer to solving children and schooling issues.Example: The oft-repeated line about Colorado ranking 47th in the percentage of revenue spent on education. If only those spewing the line would bother to read the actual National Education Association report generating that figure, they would have seen the 47th ranking is merely because Colorado is one the wealthiest states in the nation and would be like arguing for Harry Frampton to spend the same percentage of his income on his kids’ education that the rest of us do.The report comes out annually, but the year for this particular number was 2002, and lo and behold, Colorado was ranked No. 1 in “percentage change in per capita income” for the 10-year period from 1992 to 2002. Coincidence?Other charts were also much more revealing, such as “expenses per student” (Colorado ranked 25th), “percentage of revenue from local taxes” (11th highest in the nation) and “per capita expense of state and local government for interest on debt (15th).So we’re middle of the road for expenses per student, pay a great deal in local taxes, already carry more debt than most Third World countries, and to top it off have the highest ratio of foreclosures in the country.Talk about comparing apples to rutabagas.And then there is the fear mongers pushing the recent school violence as a reason to vote a certain way. The sick individuals committing these atrocious acts upon children always seem to choose the coward’s way out. But if they lived long enough to take the stand, I guarantee not a single one would say, “I probably wouldn’t had done this if I’d a had better tax-funded pre-schooling.”An absurd statement for sure, yet some tax supporters think this way, or at least pretend to in order to help their cause.As I have said before, parents are responsible for preparing their children for school, not the government, and we cannot, nor should a democracy ever, attempt to legislate good parenting. 1A is nothing more than well-intentioned people wanting to throw money on a perceived social problem in hopes that if they toss enough into the pile it will be buried so deep in bureaucratic hubris that they can then throw up their arms and say, “Well, at least we can say we tried.”On other words, it’s a complete waste of time and money.We all care about our children, no matter how hard some of you attempt to make us think otherwise, but the bottom line will always be “our children,” not our neighbors’ or the disadvantaged down the block or across the tracks. We will always care about others and support charities of our own choosing to show that support if and when we so desire, but please stop trying to mandate such with more taxes. Selfish parents can only take so much.Richard Carnes of Edwards writes a weekly column for the Daily. He can be reached at poor@vail.net Vail, Colorado

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