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View Full Version : Someone needs adjusting of their priorities:


Loonbeam
03-05-2008, 12:23 AM
President Bush has eliminated the funding for Reading is Fundamental's Book Distribution Program:

http://www.rif.org/about/press/reinstate_rif.mspx

Please, contact your legislator and ask him or her to fix this.

Thank you.

Ned
03-05-2008, 07:20 AM
L., thanks very much for your post. This is a critical program for the children of our poorest families, and needs the help of all thinking and caring Americans to remain alive to prevent these kids from "being left behind."

the dark knight
03-05-2008, 09:26 AM
This is a important thing to get behind. Our kids is a major asset and needs to be a top priority, always. I am not that suprised the current president did this.
Considering he is leaving office in less than a year, he is in total CYA mode and trying to shore up whatever is left of his legacy....and having "fun" before he leaves office. He and his cronies will then happily leave any little mistakes like this to the next president (and Congress) to fix, if he or she (or they) can.

jfrenaye
03-05-2008, 09:39 AM
Here is a link to contact your CONGRESSMAN (https://forms.house.gov/wyr/welcome.shtml)

Here is a link to contact your SENATOR (http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm)

But if your Senator is from NY, IL, or AZ don't expect a reply any time soon!

bodega
03-05-2008, 09:53 AM
Does Laura know this?

mercwyn
03-05-2008, 12:13 PM
You know the thing about this is that $26,000,000 amounts to $5.65 per child receiving at least one book and under this program they receive about 4 books. That is a terrific bargain! Also, if it gets 1% of the participants to become literate and contributing members of society, the amount of additional revenue that they generate will offset the cost of their books.

I would suggest this is a no brainer to keep. Now, I believe that Congress is trying to be revenue neutral (at least they claim that) so we need to cut $26million somewhere else. I'm sure that we can find some pork that needs to be trimmed that will allow this fine program to be saved.

Carchar
03-05-2008, 03:13 PM
I guess this is part of his Poor Child Left Behind project!

pezmanffx
03-05-2008, 04:00 PM
Come on, be nice to the guy. It's not his fault that he can't read. Laura and Dick were probably off doing something important so he probably just did a onsies twosies and drew a line through something. We are lucky, he could of hit school lunches.

CruiseExpert
03-05-2008, 04:10 PM
Thanks Loonbeam and JF for posting those links. I wrote all my reps.

bodega
03-05-2008, 11:49 PM
Something like this just makes my blood boil. How much does it cost for a Senator to visit Iraq? Mulitply that by the hundreds of visits made and our schools could have new textbooks and this program wouldn't be on the cutting block. The one group that has NO voting power, no say in anything gets the first cut in the budget each and every time. I am sick of it! Arnold is doing the same with the State of CA budget. We voted for smaller class size and now they are going up to well over 30 students per classroom. Don't forget about the medical program for chidlren that Bush doesn't want to support. Michelle Obama isn't the only one to be ashamed of her country. How our children are treated by our govenment is a crime.

trojan
03-06-2008, 01:56 AM
So, what, precisely, is stopping any of the states or local tax districts from implementing this program?

You want to shame the pols into doing right by the kids? Take on the local pols - they are much more vulnerable to you than the Dept. of Education, the White House, or Congress.

If it really is only about the $5 per kid, why not organize within your place of worship or community center? Maybe become a mentor yourself?

Why does seemingly everything become a matter for federal funding?

Ned
03-06-2008, 06:29 AM
Of course it doesn't have to be federally funded, but Bush started his famous, "No Child Left Behind" project, and he's constantly reneged on it. This isn't a matter that everything has to be federally funded, it's a matter of broken Bush promises and his appetite for funding us in a war of lies, and bankrupting the future of the country's future, instead of funding it.

So, what, precisely, is stopping any of the states or local tax districts from implementing this program?

You want to shame the pols into doing right by the kids? Take on the local pols - they are much more vulnerable to you than the Dept. of Education, the White House, or Congress.

If it really is only about the $5 per kid, why not organize within your place of worship or community center? Maybe become a mentor yourself?

Why does seemingly everything become a matter for federal funding?

AaronK
03-06-2008, 08:07 AM
The locals are already scraping for funding for the current unfunded federal mandates (No Child Left Behind). Most school districts in my area are cutting enrichment programs (art, music, etc) that are not "required" so they can fund NCLB mandates. You go to the local people, and ask for a tax raise to fund the program.

So, what, precisely, is stopping any of the states or local tax districts from implementing this program?

You want to shame the pols into doing right by the kids? Take on the local pols - they are much more vulnerable to you than the Dept. of Education, the White House, or Congress.

If it really is only about the $5 per kid, why not organize within your place of worship or community center? Maybe become a mentor yourself?

Why does seemingly everything become a matter for federal funding?

Loonbeam
03-06-2008, 10:24 AM
To a certain point, you are right, in a perfect world, a program like this would be funded privately or not needed.

And if the federal government was so seriously in debt due to actual, necessary expenses that it really wasn't possible to fund this, that's fine as well.

BUT, when I look at what the government spends money on INSTEAD of this, thats when I get pissed. (I'm not limiting this to the war, either).... My subject was deliberate, its all about priorities.

bodega
03-06-2008, 10:32 AM
To a certain point, you are right, in a perfect world, a program like this would be funded privately or not needed.

And if the federal government was so seriously in debt due to actual, necessary expenses that it really wasn't possible to fund this, that's fine as well.

BUT, when I look at what the government spends money on INSTEAD of this, thats when I get pissed. (I'm not limiting this to the war, either).... My subject was deliberate, its all about priorities.

EXACTLY!!!!!!!!!!!!

trojan
03-06-2008, 04:03 PM
I got your point. It is about priorities. It isn't about whether Bush broke a promise, is it?

I ask again...if this is really about a proven program of excellence, and it only costs about $5 per student, why not insist on the necessary funding on a loclaized basis? If the chiiiillllldren tm need this program, who are we to deny it over a paltry additional $5?

Priorities, indeed.

Loonbeam
03-06-2008, 04:21 PM
I'm perfectly ok with state or regional funding as well, though for a national program I can see the logistics issues inherent in that process. The same priorities issue applies.

I don't care WHO funds it, I just think this is a hell of a lot more deserving of funding than a good number of existing expenditures that could be cut instead...

Ned
03-06-2008, 04:23 PM
The protest about the cut is most certainly about federal priorities and broken promises. If it's so easy to fund it locally, why isn't that easy to fund in federally? If the children need this program why should Bush deny it over a paltry $5/kid when he spends more than this program costs in a year, in a single minute for his failed war which helps no one. If the federal government is going to bankrupt the nation, at least it should do it helping its most at risk citizens instead of its wealthiest, at least it should do it helping its posterity, instead of making war to save "Daddy's" name.

So what precisely is wrong with the Federal government funding this program?


I got your point. It is about priorities. It isn't about whether Bush broke a promise, is it?

I ask again...if this is really about a proven program of excellence, and it only costs about $5 per student, why not insist on the necessary funding on a loclaized basis? If the chiiiillllldren tm need this program, who are we to deny it over a paltry additional $5?

Priorities, indeed.

CruiseExpert
03-06-2008, 04:34 PM
I received a response from Senator Nelson:

Dear Mr. CruiseExpert:

Thank you for contacting me regarding Federal support for literacy promotion.

I am a long-time proponent of Reading Is Fundamental (RIF), the nation's largest children's literacy organization. Over the past four decades, RIF has provided new books free of charge to more than 300 million underserved children. Last year, I urged Senate Appropriations Committee members to provide robust funding for this critical program. Congressional support, coupled with private dollars, enables RIF to continue educating parents, child-care providers, and volunteers about the best ways to motivate and inspire children to read.

As the fiscal year 2009 budget and appropriations process continues, I will keep your support for children's literacy programs in mind. Our children are our most precious resource, and we must do all we can to support their educational development. Please don't hesitate to contact me in the future.



P.S. From time to time, I compile electronic news briefs highlighting key issues and hot topics of particular importance to Floridians. If you'd like to receive these e-briefs, visit my Web site and sign up for them at http://billnelson.senate.gov/news/ebriefs.cfm (http://billnelson.senate.gov/news/ebriefs.cfm)

mercwyn
03-06-2008, 05:47 PM
I did take advantage of my Representatives electronic Town Hall Meeting last night to bring up this issue. He says he is a supporter of the RIF program and that he thinks that there will be sufficient support to get the funding put back into the budget.

As for why the government should pay for the program, consider it preventative care. Programs such as RIF help at risk children learn to read and helps them create a better future for themselves. A future where they can become taxpayers and contribute to society, as opposed to remaining on welfare. It is sort of like the old TV commercial where the guys says "you can pay me a little now or you can pay me a lot later" and I would rather pay a little now.

trojan
03-06-2008, 07:00 PM
Wow.

Of all the people in these forums whom I thought would understand the waste and inefficiencies involved with federal funding, it would be you, Ned.

Anytime one adds layers of management/bureaucracy to a project, the dollars that end up flowing to the project necessarily are reduced. Put another way, the costs go up. All studies of which I am aware show that the feds take a sizeable chunk of all dollars sent there before recycling/returning them to the states/localities.

If the RIF program really is all that, then adding 5 local dollars to the $8,000+ we already spend per student, is a no brainer. Why should we send an additional 6 or 7 dollars (or more accurately add this to our staggering debt) to the federal government to get the $5 benefit in return?

Each state and locality already has the infrastructure to implement learning schemes. Why should there be a federal liaison requirement?

By the way, and for the record, I do not accept the $5 cost as anything near the true cost, I am using it for argument's sake.

Ned
03-06-2008, 07:26 PM
Big T., it's the principle of this thing that has me so angry.

This is another example of Robin Hood or perhaps Zorro George W. He steals from the poor to give to the rich. I'm just completely tired of this President who "claims he loves America, but clearly can't stand Americans!"

In the Philadelphia Jewish Community we are looking to implement the PJ Library program. This program sends a Jewish children's book, or a CD of Jewish music, often along with a parenting resource on a monthly basis, for Jewish children ages 6 months to 7 years. The program's mission is to promote Jewish living, and through that, literacy, in these families.

I bring this up so we all can have an idea of what a program of this type costs. It costs about $60/year/child to fund this program. The PJ Library program is completely privately funded through the Grinspoon Foundation and matching grants and donations from each community which takes on this program.

Michgal
03-06-2008, 10:28 PM
I got your point. It is about priorities. It isn't about whether Bush broke a promise, is it?

I ask again...if this is really about a proven program of excellence, and it only costs about $5 per student, why not insist on the necessary funding on a loclaized basis? If the chiiiillllldren tm need this program, who are we to deny it over a paltry additional $5?

Priorities, indeed.



The children who are the most desperately in need of this program are in areas that are financially strapped already and typically have high poverty, low employment and are struggling economically.There is just no more $$ left to give.

I just read an article from our local newspaper that was about the amount of children in the GRR school district that are living at or below poverty. The number was somewhere over 30% . The article went on to detail how the schools need to address those issues before it can even begin teaching these children and how many of those donated funds from the community go into basic needs, clothing & feeding plus other services.

I think we really need to address it as a nation- not just locally, as some communities can not absorb any additional costs. The repercussions of having an illiterate nation will affect us in our old age as well as our grandchildren.

Jennifer

bodega
03-07-2008, 12:27 AM
Wow.

Of all the people in these forums whom I thought would understand the waste and inefficiencies involved with federal funding, it would be you, Ned.

Anytime one adds layers of management/bureaucracy to a project, the dollars that end up flowing to the project necessarily are reduced. Put another way, the costs go up. All studies of which I am aware show that the feds take a sizeable chunk of all dollars sent there before recycling/returning them to the states/localities.

If the RIF program really is all that, then adding 5 local dollars to the $8,000+ we already spend per student, is a no brainer. Why should we send an additional 6 or 7 dollars (or more accurately add this to our staggering debt) to the federal government to get the $5 benefit in return?

Each state and locality already has the infrastructure to implement learning schemes. Why should there be a federal liaison requirement?

By the way, and for the record, I do not accept the $5 cost as anything near the true cost, I am using it for argument's sake.
Have you gone on to the RIF website? I would suggest it if you haven't.

I am a CA credentialed teacher. I have worked in low income areas and I don't think most who participate on this forum live in the areas that benefit from RIF. During my college days, I tutored a young boy who lived in the basement of an old rundown house with his mother and brother. They had no car and due to distance, the young boy had never been to the local library. I will never forget the day I drove him to the library and got him his first library card. When it came time to head back to his house, he didn't want to leave the children's section. He had never seen so many books. He hungered for them.

It would be nice if we could direct how our individual taxes could be spent. Programs for children would be first on my list. As to having states handle educational money. They are just as bad in passing the money along to local districts. In our area, parcel taxes for schools are easily passed because the money stays locally.

Loonbeam
03-07-2008, 08:51 AM
Again, there is a certain de-rail of my original point..

Let us take as a given (its the nature of politics) that our Federal Government will continue to spend money on non-mandatory projects (in a perfect world this would not happen, but well...)

My point was actually not on this specific program (but as a reader it made a particular impression on me) but the fact that in choosing the distribution of monies in general, the current priorities OVERALL are horrid.

To take a non-military, non-partisan example that has been around for decades.. Right now, the US government is paying corn subsidies to farmers when corn is at the highest price in years if not ever! I'm not sure what the current amount is, but I feel pretty comfortable guessing its more than this program costs. The reason? In almost every subsidy bill, lawmakers bow to pressure and refuse to put a price cap after which the subsidies turn off.

I could find a LOT more examples such as these.

In my view, the role of the Federal Government is to (not in order):

1> Defend the US from external threats (note that I am NOT opening the manner in which this is done at this time).
2> Manage the dealings of the US with the other countries of the world.
3> Defend the citizens of the US from internal threats via regulation (lead paint, child predators, etc).
4> Provide a safety net for states to deal with exceptional circumstances
5> Deal with issues involving multiple states and federal land.

and finally

6> Invest, both monetarily and through the judicious expenditure of resources in the future health, education and safety of US citizens.

To expand on #6. RIF among others is an example of a program where a small investment in reading skills now can pay off huge dividends in the future. By helping a child learn to read, you increase the chances they will not end up in jail (which is a cost), will probably have a higher income (which increases future tax revenues), and is more likely to have a better educated child (which perpetuates an upward cycle). That's well known. So a program like RIF is an investment which has the chance to pay a DIVIDEND back to the govt in the end if you want to look at it from a purely fiscal standpoint. Heck, if the program serves 2 million kids, and due to it you get an average of $50 in additional tax revenue over the next 30 years per person TOTAL, you make back the equivalent of a good CD rate on your investment.

The same argument holds true of Education as a whole. Education related initiatives are TOTALLY within the remit of the federal government, as money PROPERLY spent on education is an investment in the future.

Ned
03-07-2008, 09:13 AM
Well here in PHL, RIF is important and has much local grant support from corporations. It's a huge help in the African American and Hispanic American communities here. Furthermore, we see here in PA, were if not for state contributions to programs, poor localities would be out of luck. There are many poor rural communities, along with the cities who house a disproportionate amount of the state's poor, which have no more money to put into any programs. Poor communities need answers to funding more than local tax revenue, which doesn't exist.

Have you gone on to the RIF website? I would suggest it if you haven't.

I am a CA credentialed teacher. I have worked in low income areas and I don't think most who participate on this forum live in the areas that benefit from RIF. During my college days, I tutored a young boy who lived in the basement of an old rundown house with his mother and brother. They had no car and due to distance, the young boy had never been to the local library. I will never forget the day I drove him to the library and got him his first library card. When it came time to head back to his house, he didn't want to leave the children's section. He had never seen so many books. He hungered for them.

It would be nice if we could direct how our individual taxes could be spent. Programs for children would be first on my list. As to having states handle educational money. They are just as bad in passing the money along to local districts. In our area, parcel taxes for schools are easily passed because the money stays locally.

vacationagent
03-07-2008, 11:24 AM
So, what, precisely, is stopping any of the states or local tax districts from implementing this program?

You want to shame the pols into doing right by the kids? Take on the local pols - they are much more vulnerable to you than the Dept. of Education, the White House, or Congress.

If it really is only about the $5 per kid, why not organize within your place of worship or community center? Maybe become a mentor yourself?

Why does seemingly everything become a matter for federal funding?
I'm a little late to this ball game, but...
Because, Trojan, we are the richest country in the world. We OWE our citizenry education. But not only that - education repays us in a more productive and better society. Every study of education that has EVER been done has shown that an educated society is a better society. Your attitude is penny-wise but pound foolish.

vacationagent
03-07-2008, 11:27 AM
To a certain point, you are right, in a perfect world, a program like this would be funded privately or not needed.

And if the federal government was so seriously in debt due to actual, necessary expenses that it really wasn't possible to fund this, that's fine as well.

BUT, when I look at what the government spends money on INSTEAD of this, thats when I get pissed. (I'm not limiting this to the war, either).... My subject was deliberate, its all about priorities.

I completely disagree, Loonbeam. In a perfect world this would be a federally funded government program. Free public education is absolutely the very best thing we can spend our tax dollars on.

the dark knight
03-07-2008, 12:08 PM
Perhaps it is time for ALL taxpayers to start truly holding all of their (and our) elected officials at all levels, (not just the current President, as much as I would like to) accountable for the misspending and mismanagement of our dollars that could and were supposed to be used toward vital programs like this, but is not. Private industry is not exempt either, as a whole, though some companies help more than others.
While I do think that everyone should have personal motivation to improve themselves by whatever (legal) means, (and some people do not), people may only need a hand to get going on their own.
Most low-income people, I believe, would rather make on their own, through their own blood, sweat and tears, than just live off the "assistance" that they may get from the government (at whichever levels), in particular for their kids' sake, if not their own.
Unfortunately, this "culture" of misuse and misspending and so on cannot be fixed in a day, or in a year, across this nation. But it needs to start somewhere.

Ned
03-07-2008, 12:34 PM
I would amend that to "quality" free public education is absolutely the very best thing on which we can spend our tax dollars.

I completely disagree, Loonbeam. In a perfect world this would be a federally funded government program. Free public education is absolutely the very best thing we can spend our tax dollars on.