TEF Lessons for Members and Citizens Lesson 1 Decisions Affecting Public Education: Who Decides?
Objective: To gain insight to decision maker and stakeholder motivations when decisions affecting public and its funding are made. TEF
As a group can we agree that we will: • Respect and value differences of opinions and varying levels of content knowledge • Be fully attentive
~FOCUS QUESTION~ What decisions do the groups listed on the chart paper posted around the room make that affect public education?
A few of the decisions affecting public education: • Local School Boards: create local education budget; vote on/or negotiate school employees’ salaries; local taxing authority (in most states); decide where residents of different economic groups attend school (zoning)… • Board of Supervisors/City Council: in some states they have the final decision on the local school board budget • Governor/State Legislature: qualifications required to teach, standards, state funding, class size
Define: Adequate Funding ad⋅e⋅quate [ad-i-kwit] -adjective As much or as good as necessary for some requirement; sufficient or suitable www.dictionary.com
Define: Equitable Funding eq⋅ui⋅ta⋅ble [ek-wi-tuh-buh l] -adjective Characterized by equity or fairness; just and right; reasonable www.dictionary.com “
A few of the decisions affecting public education: • President/Congress: Individuals withDisabilities Act (IDEA) & Elementary & Secondary Education Act (ESEA)
unfunded mandate An unfunded mandate is any provision in law or regulation that imposes a duty or obligation on a state or local government or private sector entity without providing the necessary funds to comply. U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Rules, “Glossary of Terms in the Federal Budget Process” http://rules.house.gov/archives/glossary_fbp.htm
A few of the decisions affecting public education: Some businesses and corporations:Seek tax subsidies and loopholes making less funds available for public education; make contributions to schools to buy computers and scoreboards, etc…; fund efforts to privatize public education…
Subsidy A subsidy is payment in cash or in kind by the government to keep alive businesses that would otherwise go bust, or to make activities happen that would otherwise not take place. The Economist, Economics A-Z http://www.economist.com/research/economics/searchActionTerms.cfm?query=subsidy
Two questions that should always be asked about tax spending: • Did the government’s investment pay off, or did they give away more money than they got back? • If the government invested that same amount of money in public education instead of in _____, would their investment have provided a greater return?
Surely there is: ACCOUNTABILITY
$2.1 million per job “State and local officials agreed to give Scripps $310 million in state funds, plus another $200 million in local government money toward its construction of a 364,000-square-foot campus now in progress at Florida Atlantic University in Jupiter. Scripps now operates from temporary space at the university. “In return for the money, Scripps committed to creating 545 jobs by 2015. As of March 17 , the institute created 242 jobs, [according to] Scripps Florida spokesman Keith McKeown….” Alex Philippidis, “Florida, Facing a $2B Budget Shortfall, Weighs Scrapping ‘Innovation Incentive’,” BioRegion News, April 7, 2008. Available at: http://www.genomeweb.com/bioregionnews/florida-facing-2b-budget-shortfall-weighs-scrapping-%E2%80%98innovation-incentive%E2%80%99 1-16
Schools are being held accountable for results… When they lack the capacity to deliver those results… Accountability When funding is inadequate and inequitable… When tax structures are out of sync with the economy… School Capacity School Funding And not everyone is aware. MAKE THE TEF CONNECTION Economy & Tax Structure Public Support 1-17
A Word about ‘TEF’. The acronym TEF, as you now know, stands for Tax structures, Economic development policy, and Funding for schools. It is shorthand for referring to the collection of facts, findings, and concepts that you are now studying. It was never intended to be used as a message, or in communications with the general public. Each state affiliate will develop its own message in conjunction with its own campaign. The phrase “Strong Schools, Strong Communities, Strong Economy” has tested well in recent research conducted nationally and regionally. This may suggest a direction state associations may want to take as part of a successful messaging strategy.
REFLECTION • What stands out in your mind from today’s lesson? • What does this mean for you? For your students? • How might you act on this knowledge or awareness?
TEF Tools and Resources TEF Website: http://www.nea.org/tef Publications State affiliates in TEF Action 1 2 State-Specific Data Sources 3 • Studies supporting TEF concepts: • The Effects of State Public K-12 Expenditures on Income Distribution • K-12 Education in the U.S. Economy • Protecting Public Education from Tax Giveaways to Corporations. • School Funding, Taxes and Economic Growth • TEF Series • Why invest in education makes sense: • Enriching Children, Enriching the Nation • Corporate abuse: • The Great American Job Scam - corporate tax dodging and the myth of job creation. • Your Tax Dollars At Work…Offshore - foreign outsourcing firms are capturing state government contract. • No More Secret Candy Store - A grassroots guide into investigating corporate subsidies. States Facing Budget Shortfall – Center for Policy and Budget Priorities (CBPP) reports state fiscal profiles. State-by-state tax news and policy analysis provided by the Institute of Economics and Policy Analysis (ITEP). Economic Policy Institute’s (EPI) new report analysis rank states by overall unemployment as well as the change seen since the start of the recession in December 2007. Enriching Children, Enriching the Nation show state returns in budget, salary, crime reduction by investing in Pre-K thru 12. Find out how much Wal-Mart is costing your state in subsidy deals, healthcare cost, and property tax appeal appeals. Combined Reporting, How Does Your State Stack-Up? Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) This reporting requires multi-state corporations to report the income earned by both the parent corporation and all of its subsidiaries and to determine their income tax liabilities on that basis. Good Jobs First state-by-state corporate subsidy websites. • A few examples… • This video address from Alabama EA President, John Wright. • Alabama EA sheds light on corporate tax avoidance in Alabama • Detroit News, Friday, July 25, 2008 • MEA Press Release: Drop-outs One Too Many, April. 4, 2008 • Honolulu Advertiser, Dec, 2006 • Honolulu Advertiser, Feb. 2007 • Iowa State EA News ArticleKentucky EA - School Funding Statement. • Michigan’s Business Tax Incentives: • A study commissioned by MEA and NEA to improve the quality of the debate on business tax incentives. • Mississippi EA op-ed piece. • State Affiliate TEF Websites: Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, Mississippi, New Jersey, Oklahoma
TEF Tools and Resources TEF Website: http://www.nea.org/tef Customizable Tools Introducing a New TEF Interactive Tool Other Useful Links 4 5 6 • Community Organizing • Business Outreach • Sample Political Action Tools • Corporate Legislation • TEF Model Legislation NEA Information on establishing a social networking site to use as an organizing tool. Others are: (http://www.ning.com/ ) and (http://www.groupsite.com/) http://www.faireconomy.org/tfoc to locate your state’s tax fairness organizing collaborative. These groups are located in 21 states. www.nea.org/tef
Other Resources On Taxes… Funding for Schools On Economic Policies 7 8 9 Access Quality Education: School Funding Litigation A National Network of Advocates Involved in Education Finance Litigation, Abbott vs. Burkeis the New Jersey Supreme Court ordered a set of education programs and reforms widely recognized to be the most fair and just in the nation. U.S. PIRG on Countdown. Olbermann talks about U.S. PIRG's report "Tax Shell Game.” Free Lunch, Corp Welfare, Bill Moyers and David Cay Johnston (9:49)David Cay Johnston - A History of Government Subsidies (3:08)David Cay Johnston - Are Government Subsidies Unfair? (4:43)David Cay Johnston - A Moral Argument for Progressive Taxes (3:04) Videos PBS Now, "Taxing the Poor" ((26.03) Wal-Mart Subsidies(7:48) Warren Buffett's Tax Rate is Lower than His Secretary's (4:39) TAXES: Warren Buffett - Rich Taxed Too Little, Poor Too Much (5:17) Eye To Eye With Katie Couric: Buffett's Tax Code (CBS News) (1:40) Videos
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” — Martin Luther King, Jr. The Call to Action!