Perspective: WIS editorial on budget priorities

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Sometimes I just have to shake my head and ask, where are our priorities?  Two recent news stories seem to make no sense at all when you put them together. Our state Department of Education predicts that South Carolina public schools will be forced to cut thousands of teachers' jobs due to budget cuts -- budget cuts forced by reduced state spending.

Headline number two: some football coaches at USC are getting raises averaging 17.5%. Did USC win the SEC championship?  No!  And how did our schools do? While we can't be satisfied until all our students receive a high-quality education, our state did place 6th out of 41 states that applied for the federal "Race to the Top" education grants.  Money is not the only answer to upgrading public education, but cutting thousands of teachers cannot possibly help.

As for coaches' salaries, we all want USC to remain competitive.  But let's face it, college football has become big-time entertainment.  I challenge USC to work with the NCAA to get athletic salaries under control.  Comparing athletic coaches to school teachers may be apples and oranges.  But they are all public employees.  And when Steve Spurrier's average assistant coach makes five times as much as the average public school teacher, that makes me question our value system.

That's my perspective.  I'd like to know what you think!