If you’ve been waiting for me to inter the fray on the ridiculous budget crisis facing Nevada’s schools and the even more ludicrous budget cuts proposed — your wait is over. I admit, I’ve hung back a little because I was so busy being pissed at the all-out War on Women being waged on the national (and local) level. I hope my heart can take the stress, because no matter how exhausted I am from working, organizing and raising my baby girl, I just can’t quietly take the slash-and-burn politics happening with our education system!
According to the RJ (sorry, can’t link to it because I don’t want to risk being sued), proposed $32.6 million budget cuts to UNLV (which doesn’t even meet the expected $49.6 million in cuts asked for) include a loss of 315 jobs and 33 degree programs. Programs potentially getting the axe include the Women’s Research Institute of Nevada (without which I would probably have not heard of the Westside Mothers), Women’s Studies, Philosophy and Social Work! Meanwhile, UNR announced similar program cuts this week, including Social Work. And CSN may close satellite campuses and its Henderson campus as well as raising student fees to meet $27 million in cuts.
And, unbelievably, these cuts are not deep enough to cover Gov. Sandoval’s proposed $162 million in cuts to higher ed! That’s a whopping 29 percent! Almost a third of the budget…gone!
What the hell is going on?!
So, clearly the proposed cuts represent how much Nevada hates social workers! I mean, cutting social work programs at the two largest state universities? Come on! Well, I guess if you’re just going to kill any social service program in Nevada in order to balance the budget on the backs of the poor and most needy among us, then you might as well cut off the source of social workers, too.
I see, so it’s a race to the bottom. Fuck the poor! We don’t need no fancy education! Why be best when you can be worst? And to use a popular catch-phrase these days, in this regard we are “Winning!”
- Nevada’s high school drop-out rate is the worst in the nation: 11 percent, compared with a national 7 percent.
- Nevada has the 2nd highest teen pregnancy rate in the country, according to a 2010 Guttmacher Institute report (PDF). And Nevada was among five states with the highest teen abortion rate.
- The state is ranked as the worst place to retire by MoneyRates. Some of the reasons they gave? Nevada’s cost of living is 105 percent (!) of the national average, unemployment is the highest in the country, and high crime rates.
- In fact, Nevada is one of the 10 most expensive states to live in for poor families.
- The state has had the highest foreclosure rate in the nation for more than 2 years.
- Indeed, Nevada’s “actual” unemployment rate hit 22.3 percent in October (with total jobless at 14.4 percent), according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
- The Silver State ranks 47th in overall health.
- And a brand new study ranks Nevada last in child health care.
- In fact, Nevada, California and Florida are considered to have the worst economies in the nation.
So, sure. Why not just cut away at the old higher ed system? Clearly, we don’t need it. I mean, Women’s Studies? Philosophy? School libraries? Social Work? Bah! Who needs ’em? What’s an education ever done for anybody anyway?