Dr. Frates on Education Cuts

The Voice of San Diego reports on the annual process of threatened layoffs in California schools that are subsequently rescinded, a back and forth process that discourages current teachers and dissuades potential educators.  The Voice quoted Dr. Frates:

Those cycles breed skepticism about school budget cuts across the political spectrum. Teachers union president Camille Zombro disbelieved the deficits predicted by San Diego Unified, calling them “fake numbers” that induced an overreaction by the district, which originally planned to dismiss nearly 1,000 educators. San Diego Tax Fighters chair Richard Rider shares Zombro’s skepticism but draws a radically different conclusion.

“It’s an orchestrated campaign with the idea of panicking the Legislature — with the public’s backing — into pouring more money into education,” Rider said. “It’s crying wolf.”

Some policy wonks share that suspicion, said Steve Frates, senior fellow at the Rose Institute of State and Local Government at Claremont McKenna College.

The theory is “you cut what’s popular so you engender outrage from the citizenry, and the citizenry nudges the elected officials to restore the cuts,” said Frates, who said he doesn’t necessarily subscribe to that belief personally.

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