We've seen it on a much smaller scale in our area--the head of athletics at a nearby school 'exploring' the idea of putting a $100,000 sound system in the empty soccer field across the street (but we can get a very good academic discount, the whining goes....) until they got busted by Mr. B who contacted the school board president and everyone else who would listen to put a stop to that dumb-ass idea.
But really, in cash-strapped Los Angeles, California (hmmm... Cause, let me introduce you to Effect) they spent $578 MILLION on a K-12 school designed to house 4,200 students in a system where they have a 50% dropout rate. There are fine murals, marble statuary, historical preservation pieces of the original building, a park, a swimming pool.... I'm sure it's completely frickin' lovely.
I'm equally as sure that the fine art, the marble statuary, the history, and the park will be covered in graffiti in no time flat. According to the article, 3,000 teachers have been laid off, they've shortened their academic year, and cut other programs. But this building is for The Children--to give them a "really impressive environment for learning"--to show them the beauty of the world that they can't POSSIBLY appreciate because I'm betting art history was one of the programs CUT. But the cost of raw materials was SO HIGH when they were building it, so goes the justificatory whimper.
Hubris is defined as arrogance or excessive pride or self-confidence. In Greek tragedy (something those students will never hear about due to the cost of the opulent new building), hubris leads to the eventual downfall of the transgressor (definitions from dictionary.com). Let's hope the public wakes up and starts realizing that part of the problem with this country is that those in charge of educating the children really don't give a rat's ass about education and are striving to maintain an illusion--form over function. Let's hope that their hubris does lead to their downfall.
ETA: Check out this link at Big Government for more information on the rising costs of education and the flatline/decline of actual learning....
3 years ago