Good magazine's education reporter, Liz Dwyer, is miffed at Texas' plans to slash education budgets and lay off almost 100,000 teachers, all while agreeing to pay $25 million per year through 2022 to Formula One auto racing. According to Dwyer, "Investors are 'building a 3.4-mile (5.5-kilometer) track to bring the event to Austin, and the $25 million government handout from the state will subsidize the costs Formula One will incur."
Clear Channel Communications is one of the main investors. Co-founder B.J. "Red" McCombs told Bloomberg News, "Formula One race in Austin next year will spur $300 million of spending," and building the "$242 million track, which has begun, is projected to add 1,300 temporary jobs and pump $400 million into the economy."
All of this sounds good and dandy, but Dwyer cautions listeners to pay attention to what's really happening: A total of 100,000 teachers are being laid off while millions are invested in a sport enjoyed by extremely wealthy people.
Can you say "misplaced priority"? Dwyer is calling foul on the play, as she should. Cutting jobs in education to save money should be a last resort; cutting jobs in education while funding entertainment — especially for folks who can afford to actually travel to see it in other places — is absurd.
The great divide between the haves and have-nots is being orchestrated by the haves, while the have-nots are getting pushed further into the ground. Hopefully they won't lay off too many math teachers, because this decision just doesn't add up.
Read more at Good.
In other news: Adam Serwer: Cornel West's Views on Barack Obama Are Petty.