Saturday May 18, 2013
Op Ed: Too Little, Too Late, Too Long
By Henry Clay Ruark for Salem-News.com
Image courtesy: nlp-hypnosis.co.uk
(BEND, Ore.) - It's not trite to say that children are our future. Or that education pays. But those much repeated lines don't tell the whole story. Here's the rest. If we don't commit ourselves and honestly invest in education, NOW, the dynamic of our very livelihood will change. How far behind is it okay to lag? We are failing the coming generations of Oregonians.
“States that have been successfully using higher education as an economic engine,” points out George Pernsteiner, Oregon’s higher education chancellor, “have made that investment year after year.” The fact of his solid status and right to speak out on this absolutely essential Oregon issue now is without question or cavil.
Any critical examination of history for any leading nation in this 21st Century proves up the practical and profound truth of what Dr. Pernsteiner declares.
His professional and national unquestioned authoritative status demands far more than “due attention”, in Oregon now; and surely reflect key failures in this loosely-run Legislative session --starting with high promises and yet ending in deep disappointment-- with results much lower than expectations built on bipartisan promises.
Continuing events in Earth-locations as widely separated as China and Europe and Scandinavia AND South America make its economic meaning absolutely clear as a loud-clanging alarm bell.
They have, long ago, made sure their solid-force funding is due and payable to build 21st Century accomplishments for which we still seek, right here in this once-leading Western State.
That indefensible lack of essential funding --derived from incoming gains heavily positive in any rational evaluation for educational enterprise-- precludes such 19th Century policy-and-action failures.
But who’s listening, in Oregon, now? Surely not our ostensibly-representative Legislature, leaving town with the larger part of their demanded assignments still incomplete.
They depart for still-another desperately-contended campaign to come with the work-already-at-hand and publicly-demanded far from finished --or even started-- for major key components; such as corporate tax reform we all know deep within us represents the essential operational return to rational State funding.
“Seventy years is TOO LONG!” most Oregonians will agree, contemplating the consequences of those lost-millions (or BILLIONS?) NOT paid by Oregon participants in business and industry, all that time; while making sure of profit and further production and business advances built on developing technologies.
“Too Little” and “Too Late!” follow --almost automatically and inevitably, presaging solid fears of consequential damage to the whole State economy in coming years. “Unforeseen consequences” is no longer an acceptable excuse given centuries of solid proof for educational values-per-dollar/invested.
Ironically, those very technologies come from creativity and leadership built essentially on the foundation of strong personal and professional characteristics; definitely developed through the very processes-of-learning we are failing to provide NOW for coming generations of Oregon leadership; in every aspect of our 21st Century lifestyle.
We have no choice.
Other states and nations are already well in the lead, while we squander away what time is left with a quarreling and confrontational Legislature --leaving town to quarrel some more.
Political shibboleths from the 19th Century are so obviously shameless and outmoded today that they condemn any user to non-credibility, simply by that fact.
Many are still shouted out at every occasion, revealing only the deep, desperate personal-motivation drive of the user to support and strengthen economic and social policies long discarded by most rational, reasonable problem-solving participants today.
One never heard now is the deeply-disturbing defiant-tone demand that “education should be available only to the elite and propertied”, since its “only purpose is to prepare the lower classes to serve their betters.”
“Equality-of-opportunity as a major human right” slowly prevailed over that royalist-related demand; for which we can still give thanks --even though today, in some unenlightened political circles, it is still not clearly, cleanly, rationally understood and strongly supported.
“There’s no political possibility of action NOW!” shout --always then suggesting still more delay-- is another such anomaly; intended to bring on desperate defeat for what is clearly not only now-“possible” but reflects the true will of the people themselves,.
First used by those defending slavery, and continuously applied for more than a century, it was finally --and most devastatingly-- defeated; by the desperate drive a a nation split by nefarious and malign influences, yet determined to “do what was moral, massively-needed and clearly right-action for all”.
Most Americans today still believe in “the American Dream”, which includes not only “equality under the law”, but extends and expands that human right to include “equality of opportunity”, too.
There can hardly be any question --in this current 21st Century-- that most Oregonians today find it hard to continue belief and support in the American Dream --given the thirty-year record of our ostensibly representative assembly in making sure it is supported, protected and strengthened by actuality --and the “Wings” it takes to make it “Fly!”
Most Oregonians --even against the current odds!-- still believe in that American Dream, as shown by their ongoing demands for opportunity and a better life for each and every child they produce.
Solid, sensible, rational and reasonable state program funding is surely still the major essential strongest driving force for any and all components of that Dream --most especially including education from K-12 and on to higher education.
Here are the indisputable facts on funding for Oregon higher education now:
1. Eighteen percent rise in budget merely keeps up with general budget - does NOT provide make-up monies lost in previous years.
2. We now stand “45th among states in per-student spending.”
3. Oregon has allowed “25 years of disinvestments in higher education” --with this rise “only starting recovery from deep cuts over the last four years.”
4. Oregon “wound up cutting faster and deeper than any other state in recent years.”
5. In two decades Oregon higher education :”collapsed from 20 percent of the overall State budget to just 10 percent.”
Have YOU had enough yet? What “equal opportunity” now awaits your child in Oregon education --not only community college and higher, but in K-12, too?
Do YOU agree that “Too Little, Too Late, Too Long” still prevails with our ostensible “representative assembly”? Too late and too little will kill off ANY project pretending to build leadership.
That includes ANY State so dis-Enlightened as to allow such malign and destructive purposeful action to continue, by ANYone.
“She Can Fly WITHOUT Wings!” may well become the new Oregon State slogan.
This Legislature seems to think that will really work -- and continues to deny us all the overdue resources clearly owed and available -- after SEVENTY YEARS of corporate “$10 minimum tax.”
Reader’s Note: The Pernsteiner quote and other essential information is from “Higher Education”; David Sarasohn: The OREGONIAN; 6/10/O7, as are key numbers used. Other similar materials are from Big O Edit “A higher ed budget to build on”; 6/7/07. Quotations are verbatim, shortened, or summarized; all sources available on request. Key statements re educational history and essential philosophy come from OrDeptEd. Conference Report: PROGRAMMED LEARNING; 1964; Keynote: Peter H. Odegard. Professor, Political Science, UCal.-Berkeley. His Keynote establishes the overwhelming investment value of educational funding at all levels for leadership building, in a statement widely quoted ever since, apparently not known or understood by some in this representative assembly although in wide distribution for more than 40 years. More than 60 items documenting statements made here are on file, too numerous to list, available on request.