I think that it is beyond time to speak frankly about the state of education funding in this country. The declining status of the United States in education rankings on a global scale is a trend that is entering its third decade. Why, though, is this such an issue. Why is it that in a nation with so much capital, that what should be a foremost taxation priority, is perpetually underfunded to the point of unceasing layoffs and budget cuts?
The first and foremost reason is that education is simply not an important tax priority to much of modern American government. For one thing, it is not particularly profitable; and children are notoriously low campaign contributors. Perhaps if they could throw in some of that fat lemonade stand money, congressmen would be a little more open to their ‘best interests’. Secondly, many elected officials and other pundits feel (generally not too publicly) that educated poor people are dangerous. This is what vouchers are about; taking money from public schools, and giving it to private, in the form of a voucher that, while helpful if you can afford it, would cover less than 25 percent of a typical private school tuition. Sure, they can try to sell it as bringing private school to everybody, but the difference between $12,000 and $9,000 doesn’t make that much of a difference if you make less than $40,000 a year, like, you know, most people. Personally, I would also think that a lot of Republican opposition to education funding might have something to do with the fact that no matter which way you bend it, people with good educations overwhelmingly have left-leaning political beliefs.
So, you know, the first problem is that a little of people in power here either don’t care about, or oppose, good public education. The second problem is that there are many systemic processes in place to guarantee that the people that do care have as little power as possible to change things. Things like this would include TABOR, here in Colorado, which puts any tax increase up for a mandatory people’s vote, thereby basically guaranteeing no tax increases ever, for anything. You know, except sports stadiums. Which does bring up the fact that there is a fairly large disparity between the amount of money we are willing to spend on actual education versus the money we will spend on the athletics that accompany the education, but right now I am not even going to touch that one, and just keep talking about general education funding. There is also the unending effort by the Republican party and their media cronies to label our nation’s educators as a bunch of godless communist smut peddlers, greedily sucking up money while indoctrinating our kids into having gay sex with birth control while voting democrat and believing in evolution. Which, frankly, is deplorable, and I admire our nation’s public school teachers for not simply all moving to Canada. These are the people who have chosen to dedicate their lives to your children, for low-average pay, and then you insult them and take their benefits away. Disgusting. This goes hand in hand with the constant vilification of the educated in this country as being unpatriotic elitists; be it Rick Santorum attacking the very idea of a college education, or Mittens Zomney (a man who has spent some serious time at Harvard) attacking Obama for having ‘spent too much time at Harvard’. At what point in time did a good education and sharp intellect become negative traits for our public leaders?
The fact of the matter is that while an educated American public may be detrimental to those who rely on unquestioning ignorance for their control; it is good for the actual country in many ways. A better education better prepares children for the complex realities of the modern world; enhancing their decision making abilities, and providing them a background of information to use in their daily lives. The more uniformly well educated our populace is, the more benefit we would see to our economy, and to virtually every aspect of our daily lives. In order to achieve this, as long as we continue to experience increases in both population and economic inflation, it should be clear that we mustn’t cut education funding. Cutting education funding hurts, rather than helps, our economy; not only by reducing our total assets by throwing people our of work, but by directly limiting our ability to compete globally with countries that do put a high priority on education. Contrariwise, raising education funding acts to stimulate the economy, using minimal cost to the individual man to a maximum good for the national economy as both wage for employees and funds to all the businesses affiliated with public education. Budget cuts and deregulation have given us pink slime in our kids’ beef, text books written when their parents were in school, 35 kids in a classroom, and school sponsorship by soda companies. It is time to do something different.