I'm sure that when Sharon Billings signed up to testify before a Legislative committee in Madison yesterday she didn't think that she would become the new voice of a generation. But her comments truly epitomize the attitude so many have today when it comes to what they think the government "owes" them.
Billings testified on the Wisconsin Covenant Program--an idea put forth by Governor Doyle where kids entering high school sign a pledge (co-signed by the Friendly Uncle Jim) that if they do well enough in school the state will guarantee them a spot in a UW system or Tech system college and put together a finacial aid package that "fully covers their tuition".
I can still remember the State of the State address in 2006 where Governor Doyle rolled out the Covenant. As Democrats rose as one in the Assembly chamber to give the Governor a standing ovation in appreciation for his "commitment to education", Republicans (who stayed in their seats) looked at each other and said "How the hell are we going to pay for that?" But Governor Doyle didn't care about that. It was a tough re-election year--Mark Green was making great points about continued overspending in Madison--so the Governor needed to make a big promise that would make a whole lot of people want to vote for him.
And now that the chickens are coming home to roost--with the first of the Covenant kids applying for college. And BIG SURPRISE the state has no money to pay them off--forcing the Governor to promise grants of 250-dollars up to 25-hundred.
Enter Sharon Billings--who ironically enough runs a service that helps parents plan for their kids higher education--to voice the opinions of many parents whose children signed the covenant. Billilngs says the Governor's proposal is "insulting" and is "not enough to buy a few books".
"I think it's a travesty of justice for sudents who have done their part. I don't think it's fair to them. If we promise something, then we should follow through.
Covenant director Shannon Loredo also told the committee yesterday that she had heard from hundreds of parents who were under the impression that the state was promising a "free ride" for all kids. Didn't any of these people ever stop to think how the state would pay for free tuition for all students? I'm sure that as soon as little Johnny or Jenny brought home that Covenant document their attitude became "Alright! I don't have to save for the kids education anymore! The government is going to take care of that for me!! Let's plan a family trip to Florida to celebrate!!"
So 25-hundred of your tax dollars is an "insult"--and parents and students having to pay some of their own tuition is a "travesty of justice". Thank you, Sharon Billings for so perfectly summing up the new attitude of "hope and change" sweeping the nation. You are true (modern) American.