I am sure most of you have heard about the U.S. Postal Service looking to cut Saturday delivery to help fight billions of dollars in losses. While techonlogical changes in society have contributed to some of the issues facing the Postal Service I believe that the USPS has been set up for failure. The USPS is mandated to contribute billions of dollars each year for future retirees 75 years in advance. These future postal workers have not even been born yet and the budget of the USPS is being dragged down because of this funding mandate. We also have to look at the mission of the USPS, deliever mail to everyone in the United States, an important government service provided to every American.
So why am I discussing the Postal Service on an education website? Privatization, union benefits and power in the USPS struggle parallel what is occuring in our public schools.
Public Schools are being starved of financial resources while being mandated expensive programs by NCLB and Race to the Top. These programs divert already scarce money, hammering local school budgets. The results: cuts in services, which in schools means larger class sizes. Programs in Arts, Physical Education and other areas reduced or eliminated.
So why are these vital parts of American under attack? You would have to be naive to not believe that a funding game is being played to reduce the benefits and salaries of hard working public servants, whether they be in the classroom and delievering your mail. My dad, a retired union truck driver, saw how firsthand Corporate America hammered away at worker rights and benefits while reaping major profits. He told me years ago the public employees would be targeted next. He was right.
Others have the goal of privatization of vital government services. Would a privatized mail service charge more or leave out rural customers like Charter and Private Schools exclude some students? Would services be reduced to those who need it most? The postal service and public schools provide a vital service to all Americans, sadly both of these American institutions are being set up for failure by policies and mandates that do not improve their operation or mission.