Just for the Hell of it, I took a gander at how New York State’s education budget’s doing these days.

While the 38 seconds I spent on this hardly give me the specifics, one thing was noticeable: Teacher furloughs, shortening the school year or suspending standardized tests that aren’t federally mandated aren’t anywhere on the radar.

You have to look to South Carolina to find those gemstones of wisdom.

Ah. Another negative blog entry. It seems my 4-year-old daughter will, in a matter of months, enter a busted public education system that is – for lack of a better term – on its way to becoming busteder.

And some folks wonder why I go through my days like the weight of the world is on my shoulders.

Private schools? Charter schools? Not an option. That’s the “big government” side of me coming through – education should be public, all the time in my opinion, because the alternative is very nearly segregation. Education, grades K through 12, should be an undisputed American right. There should be no charter schools. There should be no private schools. All men are created equal.

Yet, an entire generation from a part of the country not exactly renowned for its education (sorry, American South – you’ve got places like Tennessee and Mississippi damaging your reputation) has the task of teaching today’s youth, including my daughter. It sounds like a recipe for failure.

Then you take New York State, which came under fire – from within, of course – a few years back for sending its teachers back to college for master’s degrees a decade ago. Educators here, meanwhile, who’ve completed 60 to 120 credit hours are left with the daunting task of teaching the next generation with fewer resources than ever.

And President Obama’s looking to raise the bar.

If I could, I’d duck and run. I’d take Kalista to a place where the Buffalo Bills play and it goes without saying that property taxes will carry the education system. Now I see state superintendent of education Jim Rex is looking to add a tax to cigarettes to help with a $563 million budget deficit. I don’t foresee it happening – it’s no more “constitutional” than using property tax dollars.

My outlook for S.C. is glum. This is a state that prides itself in not being controlled by the federal government – so much so that it’d be a relatively accurate assessment to call it a country separate from the U.S. Its recent claim to fame is a year of embarrassing politicians – from Gov. Mark Sanford’s affair with an Argentinean reporter to Rep. Joe Wilson’s “You lie!” outburst to Obama in front of congress and the entire nation to Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer’s recent comparison of poor people to stray animals motivated only to breed.

Walt Whitman commented once upon a time that the term “United States” is singular only to a specific group. South Carolina, as a whole, is not a member of it.

And it will continue to rely on the rest of the Union to help it along.

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