VEA’s Robley Jones Update: 2 Good Reasons to Watch Your School Board’s Deliberations


With the BOCS sniffing around for money, it might be important to consider the letter Robley Jones, legislative Laison for VEA (Virginia Education Association) sent out this morning regarding  the Education Jobs Fund:

(and it did say Dear Moon-howler:)  

The manner in which the health of the state budget is presented can be most confusing. Trumpets ring as we declare a surplus; but the fact is that for the first time in 50 years, General Fund revenues have declined for two years in a row. The surplus just means that revenues exceeded projections, and a loss was projected.

You will also hear glowing words about the additional $18 million in funding for our schools from sales tax revenues. Sounds good, but sales tax revenues supplant required state and local spending. This $18 million does not add an additional penny for our schools.

But, enough ranting — I have two important things to call your attention to.

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Belief that Obama is Muslim Continues to Rise

The Pew Institute released the following graphics to visualize the shift in perception regarding the religion of the president:

obama religion

The Pew Institute asked the poll question:

Now, thinking about Barack Obama’s religious beliefs… Do you happen to know what Barack Obama’s religion is? Is he Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, atheist, agnostic, or something else?

Contrast the difference in opinion from 2009 to 2010 regarding the received religion of President Obama:

Perceived Religion of President Obama
Perceived Religion of President Obama

According to the Washington Post:

White House officials expressed dismay over the poll results. Faith adviser Joshua DuBois blamed “misinformation campaigns” by the president’s opponents…

Among those who say Obama is a Muslim, 60 percent say they learned about his religion from the media, suggesting that their opinions are fueled by misinformation.

But the shifting attitudes about the president’s religious beliefs could also be the result of a public growing less enamored of him and increasingly attracted to labels they perceive as negative. In the Pew poll, 41 percent disapprove of Obama’s job performance, compared with 26 percent disapproval in its March 2009 poll.

More than a third of conservative Republicans now say Obama is a Muslim, nearly double the percentage saying so early last year. Independents, too, are now more apt to see the president as a Muslim: Among independents, 18 percent say he is a Muslim, up eight percentage points.

Does it matter what the president’s religion is? Does it matter if a president attends church on a regular basis? Did either Bush attend church regularly? How about Clinton? Reagan?

Did the fact that Joe Lieberman is Jewish affect the outcome of his bid for vice president when he was on the Gore ticket?

What is your explanation for why the misperceptions about the president’s religion have shifted so much?

How much of the shift in perception is deliberate rumor mongering?

Is the Muslim issue in part because of 9/11? How much of the negativity is because it is perceived that President Obama is not Christian vs. Muslim?

Pew Institute Questionaire>