Under the Hat: Silver Lining - WICU12 HD WSEE Erie, PA News, Sports, Weather, Events

Under the Hat: Silver Lining

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I realized as I stood there that there must be a silver lining in this for at least some of these teachers.

But I'm not so sure they want to pay the price that could still come with it.

I was covering the march and rally put together by the faculty union at Edinboro University to protest a 20 percent budget cut proposal from Governor Tom Corbett.

Corbett has long believed that there is more that the state's system of 14 universities can do to hold down costs.

These teachers are pointing to an 18 percent cut last year as proof that they have already done their fair share in shouldering the state's debt load, and they argue that the Corbett plan is really going after those low to middle income families who depend on the more affordable state system to educate their children.

The silver lining comes from the hundreds of students who joined the professors.

Were some of them just going for a walk on a nice day?

Probably, but others, like graduate student Marvin DeBose hopes that it forces more students to become politically active.

"We have to do a better job of becoming more aware of what's going on," he told me.

Of course some of this is a shell game. Politicians often propose big cuts so that a smaller cut later on is more palatable.

It's a trick I first saw years ago from Mayor Lou Tullio, who would keep some budget windfall in his back pocket while everyone wrings their hands over a big tax increase.

Then he would come riding in at the last minute to save the day.

Even if there was a tax increase, the thinking was: Hey! It could have been worse!

It wouldn't surprise me if the final cut to higher education is half the current proposal.

So the political science professors at Edinboro now have a real life example to show students democracy in action.

Now they just have to hope that they'll all still be around, to teach those lessons next year.

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