Here, in its entirety, is my letter to the editor of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, which was printed in edited form yesterday:
As an educator, I have followed with alarm the various cuts to the education budget in the General Assembly: larger class sizes, less support for the arts, fewer teacher aides, and now, in the Senate, the complete elimination of the Governor’s Honors Program, the crown jewel of the DOE.
I believe, however, I have found a solution to at least part of our funding woes.
The Republican governor of Puerto Rico has submitted a bill to slash the size of their legislature by 30%, saving nearly $11 million in the process.
Surely we could do the same thing here? I’m thinking it would be easier, math-wise, to cut the Assembly by 50%, so that all you would have to do is have each remaining legislator double up on his or her district. I haven’t done the math about how much we would save, but surely it would be enough to fund a few teacher aides, and maybe tide Governor’s Honors over until the economy picks up.
As for the increased duties the legislators would face, it’s the same as increasing class sizes for teachers, isn’t it? If larger numbers in the classroom is not supposed to have any real impact on instruction and learning, surely it won’t hurt our representatives to double up for the people they represent.
After all, times are hard, and we all have to make sacrifices.
Dale Lyles, educator