Misguided Priorities? You Decide

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Photo posted on Wikimedia commons. Photo by Aerial Photography, Inc. Allen Texas High School.

 

Compare and contrast the priorities of two adjacent states. In an AP story today, we learned about how Oklahoma’s conservative approach toward taxes has resulted in teachers becoming eligible for a house from Habitat For Humanity, and their children becoming eligible for reduced price school lunches. See the story here:

http://wtop.com/business-finance/2017/08/charities-try-to-help-oklahoma-teachers-survive-pay-collapse/

 

Meanwhile, in a CNN story, we learn about the ongoing arms race in Texas football stadiums, where new high school stadiums cost as much as $70 million dollars. See the story here:

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2729443-72-million-for-a-high-school-stadium-in-texas-its-only-up-from-there

 

I can think of nothing that displays the misplaced priorities of the US better than these two examples. In one state, teacher’s pay has stayed stagnant for a decade, while its GOP-led legislature maintained extremely low tax rates on oil and gas extraction, and in 2014 passed legislation to cut the personal income tax in the state. This has resulted in Oklahoma per pupil spending on public education to decline by a quarter from 2008 to 2016. Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Continental Resources, an oil extraction firm, says “We don’t have a revenue problem in Oklahoma. We have a spending problem.”

 

Across the Red River in Texas, things are full speed ahead for funding for worship spaces for the Texas state-sponsored religion, high school football. Katy (a Houston suburb that is probably now just wanting the rain to stop) has just completed work on their $72 million dollar facility, replete with luxury boxes and a $2 million dollar video replay board. Granted, Texas does support its teachers better than Oklahoma does, with their average teacher pay about 32nd in the nation as compared to Oklahoma’s position at 48th. Still, the excess public funding for athletic facilities, and the excess adulation given to young male athletes is out of all proportion to the true value of high school athletics.

 

Can you imagine what it would be like to work for a school system where they passed bond issues to improve the chemistry labs for their high schools? Or one where they upgraded their biology laboratories with modern microscopes instead of using manually focused machines that were obsolete in the 1970’s? Indeed, over and over again we see that the priorities of this nation are to prevent funding for new school academic facilities, preferring instead to cut taxes once again in order to stimulate economic activity. Ask Kansas how that’s working out for them?

 

We suffer in this country from a surfeit of selfishness. Republicans proudly commit to the principles of Ayn Rand, advocating full, pure, uncontrolled, unregulated laissez-faire capitalism as the only valid moral code. We no longer recognize a collective need for action and spending unless we ourselves directly benefit from such spending. How many comments on message threads state “Why should I support spending on schools? I have no children going to school.” Such flawed reasoning holds that since I have mine, and have already benefited from common societal spending, I have no duty to the rest of society to enable others to potentially gain the same benefits as I already accrued.

 

Indeed, you see many screeds in the blogosphere about the unfairness of being taxed at all, that all taxes represent a taking from someone who has earned everything they have. If our entire society thought and acted like that, then we would live in a world of constant violence, where only those who could spend for defensive capabilities would be allowed to hold on to their own hard-earned assets. Taxes are necessary, and the belief that lowered taxation will always result in increased economic activity, so much so that it will lift the entire society out of poverty, has been proven demonstrably false. State after state has attempted that as a prescription for stagnant economies, and in each case, the results have not met expectations. See Kansas and Oklahoma and their growth rates vs. that of California, who chose a different path.

 

The issue of spending on schools, both teachers and facilities, is symptomatic of the direction that this nation has taken over the last four decades. At the national level, we grew tired of a congressional appropriations process that resulted in infrastructure spending only where it benefited powerful congressmen and women. So we banned earmarks, and now have included all infrastructure spending within the discretionary spending caps which are falling further and further behind in meeting critical needs. Meanwhile, attacks on unions have created the image of the Teachers Union slackers, living high on the hog on our largesse while simultaneously shirking their responsibility to adequately educate our children.

 

It is certainly true that the past method for allocating infrastructure spending was fraught with manipulation and waste. That is not an excuse though for letting all of it rust away and collapse like the levees did in New Orleans. We need civic-minded politicians who are willing and able to accept the recommendations of experts, who can assign priority to the critical infrastructure upgrades that are needed. These experts must also assess the capabilities of our construction contractors. Since we have neglected necessary funding for so long, we cannot scale back up immediately with 2x or greater spending on roads and bridges. We need to ramp up the spending rate over time, and we need a plan that is longer than that of a continuing resolution in order to provide contractors with the confidence that they can procure additional equipment, and hire trained workers, and receive an adequate return on their investment. Not to mention that we need some sort of training protocol for those who would benefit from infrastructure jobs. I know, I referred to the ultimate oxymoron – civic-minded politicians. In this day and age of polarization and political fratricide as practiced by President Trump, it is nigh unto impossible to conceive of a civic-minded politician. Put your disbelief away for a while, and just imagine a congress packed with such critters.

 

Likewise, public school education has suffered from waste, and a lack of accountability. It is unacceptable to have incompetent teachers protected from losing their jobs due to bureaucratic procedures. We need to enable the system to eliminate those teachers who do not perform, while increasing the pay so that the profession attracts more capable applicants who would actually be able to pay off their student loans. But it also needs to be acknowledged that we have failed our education systems by systematically refusing to upgrade facilities, voting down bond issues repeatedly until the very roofs start caving in on the poor students caught in the public school system. The solutions identified by the head of the Department of Education involves increasing the profit potential for investors in charter schools, affecting only a fraction of the total school population, instead of offering real assistance in enabling our school systems to succeed. We don’t need curriculum mandates and charter schools, we need assistance for teacher salaries and school facilities.

 

America was great when we had a firm commitment to public schools, and to public infrastructure. That we have meandered so far away from that commitment speaks to our failure to reinvest in our future. Are we that selfish that we opt for a fragmented and failing society just so we can retain a few more percent of our income? But the philosophy of conservatism since the days of Reagan keeps insisting that prosperity is just one more tax cut away. Sad. So sad.

 

Originally posted on my blog Evenabrokenclock.blog

Comments

Thomas Napers Added Aug 29, 2017 - 2:47am
Every year we spend way more money than we take in tax revenue.  So much so that our national debt is now $19 trillion and growing by hundreds of billions every year.  Oh and by the way, the Federal government recently raised taxes and is now extracting more money than ever before from the private sector.  So there is a huge spending problem and I’m sure that problem is seen in Texas and Oklahoma. 
 
As for the stadium example, it’s expected to make money, providing the municipalities means to spend more money on education, not to mention being paid back in full for their investment.
 
As for per pupil spending in Oklahoma, that’s a misleading statistic.  I have no doubt the state is spending more on education than ever before, the problem is that they have way more students to educate thanks to illegal immigration.  Either way, let’s see the link which supports your assertion that spending is going down.  And I think it’s great they are finding other ways to compensate teachers for their efforts. 
Even A Broken Clock Added Aug 29, 2017 - 2:05pm
Thomas, I agree that we spend more money than we take in. That is part of the problem is that the misguided tax cuts from the Republicans have cut down on revenues so much that on a Federal level, we are far out of balance and literally have no room to go in our budget process to cover emergency costs like the upcoming Harvey recovery. Now, listen very very carefully. If you look at the Federal spending on discretionary items as a percentage of the economy, you will find that we are at a low point for many decades. That does not include Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security spending which are increasing, but it does include those parts of the Federal government which seem to incur the wrath of math illiterates.
 
Mathematical illiteracy raises its heads in your discussion on the stadium. The stadium in the illustration cost $60 million. Figure 6-7 games per year maximum for a high school team, assuming they go to playoffs. Figure a 30 year lifespan for a stadium. Then do the math. How much money would a 20,000 seat stadium need to generate per game to pay back just the bare cost, never mind the interest on the bonds and the discounted cash flow? Also, the costs for running the stadium, plus the expenses associated with the team?  Well, just for the capital costs, you would need nearly $20 / person attending the game just for the payback for construction costs. And you think that this will pay for itself? As Arrowsmith would say, Dream on!
 
I will not satisfy your (lack of) curiosity by running a google search to find the reference I used. Try it for yourself and learn how to educate yourself. I find your allusion to illegal immigration causing the decline in per capita spending to be specious at best, and at worst, callous and deliberately deceptive. And I find it horrible that school districts are having to rely upon tricks to try to compensate teachers adequately so that they are not needing to rely upon charity.
 
You seem to have swallowed the kool aid of Randian conservatism, thus proving my point.
wsucram15 Added Aug 29, 2017 - 2:06pm
"We suffer in this country from a surfeit of selfishness. Republicans proudly commit to the principles of Ayn Rand, advocating full, pure, uncontrolled, unregulated laissez-faire capitalism as the only valid moral code. We no longer recognize a collective need for action and spending unless we ourselves directly benefit from such spending."
Yep..and great article.  We do need commitment to public schools and infrastructure.  Its why we have had some of the problems we have had.
Prosperity will be kept for the wealthy and those that defend that are ignorant of what is happening or they are benefiting at the expense of the rest of the country.  The citizens (all of them) have to do well for the country to succeed.
Jeff Michka Added Aug 29, 2017 - 3:18pm
EABC sez: allusion to illegal immigration causing the decline in per capita spending to be specious at best, and at worst, callous and deliberately deceptive-But that allusion works for them, EABC.  State supremes here in WA, land of milk and money, have enjoined the legislature to fund public schools properly as require by state constitution, fining the legislature daily for not doing it.  Have they done it?  NO... have they paid the fines?  Nooo....will they do either?  Doubt it.  On a fed level, for those that support public education, we got "Betsy DeVos" for our sins.  Soon we are supposed to have a school system almost as good an industry as the private prison industry...ain't that just wonderful?
opher goodwin Added Aug 29, 2017 - 7:44pm
Education should be the number one priority. It is the future.
wsucram15 Added Aug 29, 2017 - 9:37pm
Thomas..what did you just say about the comparison between the state spending money on a stadium or education?   Did you really say that its making more money for the municipalities?  
Its a stadium for football, even proposed monies to the city might occur in the first year or two, but it will dwindle.  I have seen this happen in Baltimore with both the stadium and casino of which monies were allocated for education and due to our former governor and a back door agreement, profits are no longer mandatory.
There is no proof that public funds for sports arenas is good for communities unless it is written into contracts. Also the city usually foots a good portion of the bill over any payment from NFL, NBA or Hockey team.   The teams get a good kickback to come there for the jobs it will create.  Same with the casino here. But the jobs dont pay well and the profits do not go back to the city..sorry.
 
Look it up.  Actually check out all the bitching Cleveland is doing about the raw deal the taxpayers got.
 
Here you go..

"All told, 29 of the NFL’s 31 stadiums have received public funds for construction or renovation. In the last two decades, the analysis found, taxpayers across the country have spent nearly $7 billion on stadiums for a league that surpassed $10 billion in revenue last season. 


“Unfortunately, beneath all of the glitz and glamour, these venues are nothing more than monuments to corporate welfare and taxpayer handouts,” David Williams, president of the Taxpayers Protection Alliance, said in a press release. “These stadiums have been built on the backs of taxpayers who had no or little say in the matter and in many cases have benefited little or not at all.”
Bill H. Added Aug 29, 2017 - 10:29pm
Historically, the GOP does not like the idea of an educated voter base, so therefore has not been keen on supporting education. They actually believe higher education is bad for America.
According to Sean J. Westwood, an assistant professor of social science at Dartmouth College "Colleges are simply seen as a production facility for Democratic beliefs and Democratic ideology."
Of course we will pay dearly for ignoring higher education when and if jobs actually return to the US. This is exactly why Trump wants to narrow the visa process to only include those with needed skills
Hmmm, maybe his corporate cheerleading squad is simply just looking for even cheaper labor in the future??
wsucram15 Added Aug 29, 2017 - 10:48pm
IDK Bill.  Something has got to change with education. Its one f the worst in the world and why we have no jobs here.  We just cannot compete.
Finland, Japan, South Korea, Denmark,Russia Norway all have a power ranking score above 80, the first 3 finishing over 101.  Right now the US is 20th with a power ranking score of 47.
The reasons for the first three countries success is priority of education over fun time. Also delegated time to education.  The teachers are much better (higher criteria) as are the programs so the students test better.  I also think health correlates with this as well.  Wellness care and eating habits are important. Priorities here are completely screwed up.
Even here in the US, Asian Americans (look it up) surpass all other class in educational achievements and median income. I cant speak to the stats on Finland, except my sister felt it was a far superior country...she loved it there.
 
Jenifer Frost Added Aug 29, 2017 - 11:35pm
Opher has it right here, education must come first because our children are the future. Like Bill said the GOP doesn't want an educated voter base. Solution? Tax the wealthy. Or don't if they are more important to you than the children. But you have to decide what your priorities are. For me it's not a question. And until the public ends their one-sided love affair with the rich people like myself will homeschool. 
wsucram15 Added Aug 30, 2017 - 12:05am
Jenifer..I finally agree with you on something.
Jenifer Frost Added Aug 30, 2017 - 12:33am
It had to happen eventually :-) 
John G Added Aug 30, 2017 - 1:03am
South Korea has the unhappiest population on the planet. Nearly 80% of its young people wish to emigrate. Japanese youth aren't much happier.
Scandinavian education systems are completely different to Asian and 'fun time' is definitely a big part of it.
opher goodwin Added Aug 30, 2017 - 8:18am
wsu - it is not just about jobs. Good education develops minds and attitudes and improves society.
Even A Broken Clock Added Aug 30, 2017 - 9:59am
Thanks for the comments on this subject. Sounds like most of us are in violent agreement that we in the US are not supporting education adequately, or where we are providing support, it may be misguided.
 
Bill H. - I've seen those sentiments expressed (college does more harm than good). I guess exposure to liberal arts education does broaden perspectives and tends to be more liberal in outlook. That trend has accelerated over the past couple of decades. My own experience going through an engineering curriculum had me longing for exposure to liberal arts classes. I usually had one elective per semester that counterbalanced the scientific / mathematical bent in the rest of my classes. Also I had one singing group ensemble class per semester which helped me keep my sanity. Experiences from 40 years ago though, do not count for much in today's world.
 
John G. - your point about Asian education culture is good. Part of South Korea's issues seem to center around the perceived lack of opportunities if you are unable to be hired by one of the chaebols. The rigid structure of the educational environment in many of the Asian countries seems like it deprives children of the opportunity to be child-like, which is a key in developing creativity and social skills.
 
In the US we do not have such a rigid educational environment, yet we do seem like we have voluntarily accepted screen and game time as substitutes for play and interacting with others. It's as if we can't wait to be totally immersed in virtual reality where we can essentially imprison ourselves in our own version of the matrix.
 
Bill H. Added Aug 30, 2017 - 10:02am
And we all know how much Trump respects science and scientists, right?
Jeffry Gilbert Added Aug 30, 2017 - 10:52am
Good education develops minds and attitudes and improves society.
 
As we can see from the loser POS the universities are churning out. 
 
Can you believe this guy? 
wsucram15 Added Aug 30, 2017 - 1:29pm
Opher..I know you are right, I taught my kids about education. If I didnt like something being taught they had tutors.  They understood how important it was not just for their future but to understand the world.
I think my son, does more research than I do although I dont like his sources most of the time.
opher goodwin Added Aug 30, 2017 - 3:05pm
Jeffry - as a former Headteacher of one of the country's top schools I have seen bad education and I have seen great education. I see the result. Excellent education creates inquisitive, creative minds. Poor education creates bored dopes who train for exams.
A teacher's job is to light people up and expand minds.
In the US you pay peanuts and get monkeys and wonder why the kids are bored and drop out, why the colleges churn out crap.
I know why.
You don't put enough money in. You don't employ good enough teachers. You don't value education. You don't have enough rigour. You don't value the important, creative, social aspects. You don't understand how to teach the whole child. You think education is about jobs. It is so much more than that.
opher goodwin Added Aug 30, 2017 - 3:06pm
Bill - when you have a chump in charge who values nothing it has a negative effect right through. Leaders should be inspiring. The future is science. If they aren't valued you won't have them. Someone else will.
opher goodwin Added Aug 30, 2017 - 3:13pm
Asian education puts them high up in the world PISA tables - for what they are worth. These tables are narrow and restrictive. They are not balanced.
Asians have two reasons for being high up in those tables.
Firstly they value education, finance it properly, support it at home and push it relentlessly so that their children are tutored, pushed and pressured to the point of suicide.
Secondly they have a narrow curriculum and force-feed facts to pass the tests.
My daughter worked as a chemical engineer in China and Taiwan with some of the brightest. She said they were great when everything went as predicted. As soon as it deviated they were lost. Their knowledge was all rote. They had lost the ability to create or think laterally.
Asian education is in danger of producing inflexible robots.
We need to take the valuing and the funding and use to create well-balanced, rounded, highly educated, happy citizens.
Dissecting Leftism Added Aug 30, 2017 - 4:58pm
While schools are teaching the need to save the planet and how wonderful homosexuality is, the less spent on them the better
Dino Manalis Added Aug 30, 2017 - 5:16pm
States should control their spending and avoid income and property tax increases.  Property taxes are anti-property rights; anti-development; discriminate against poor school districts; and prevent poor and middle class families and seniors from owning property!
opher goodwin Added Aug 30, 2017 - 6:56pm
Dissecting Leftism - Saving the planet doesn't sound like a bad idea to me - neither does being empathic, tolerant and compassionate. But I guess you want an intolerant society which bullies its minorities into shape.
opher goodwin Added Aug 30, 2017 - 6:59pm
Dino - States should extract the level of taxes necessary to provide excellent public services. There is nothing more important to the future than education. America has this insane attitude towards taxation. That is why its education is in a mess (except for the wealthy who buy it and have an open field - just how they like it) and America is on the decline. Its people are ignorant, poorly educated and going nowhere. They even elect conmen like Trump.
John G Added Aug 30, 2017 - 7:07pm
Yeah. The UK's elected con men went to Eton don't you know?
opher goodwin Added Aug 30, 2017 - 7:13pm
Yes - a far better educated breed don't you think?
Saint George Added Aug 30, 2017 - 7:30pm
South Korea has the unhappiest population on the planet.
 
Reference? Link? Or did you just pull that factoid out of your arse?
 
Nearly 80% of its young people wish to emigrate.
 
Not to North Korea, that's for sure. (Even if unemployment in the north is 0%).
 
skidmark-g's personal motto: "The purpose of government is not to protect individual rights and each person's personal freedom, but rather to force people in the aggregate to be happy. That way, when government coerces them to complete a Happiness Index Survey, they will admit they have never been happier . . . and they will do so under threat of punishment by government. Jawol!"
Saint George Added Aug 30, 2017 - 7:32pm
You are nothing more than politically oriented radio-active waste
 
Like!
 
Radioactive Frostbite.
Saint George Added Aug 30, 2017 - 7:40pm
Federal spending on public education between 1970 and 2006.
 
Salient points:
 
Federal spending has skyrocketed, while student test scores in reading, mathematics, and science, have remained stagnant.
 
Obviously, then, there's no correlation between education and spending.
 
Only those on the left — who always seem to be obsessed with money — believe that money solves all problems, and that the only way to solve a social problem is to throw money at it.
John G Added Aug 30, 2017 - 7:42pm
The notion that social sciences and cultural studies are irrelevant to our society and culture is kind of bizarre.
It could only exist in a heavily mind controlled population. 
A population that is devoted only to producing an economic surplus for the capitalist class to allocate to themselves.
The ruling class must laugh themselves to sleep at night.
Saint George Added Aug 30, 2017 - 7:51pm
The notion that social sciences and cultural studies are irrelevant to our society and culture is kind of bizarre.
 
You know nothing about social science and cultural studies yet post frequently on them. Now that's bizarre.
Even A Broken Clock Added Aug 30, 2017 - 8:30pm
For information  -I deleted the exchanges between Jennifer and Jeff.  I don't know the history between you two but it is obvious that it was hijacking this thread 
Jeff Michka Added Aug 30, 2017 - 8:33pm
Well, well, EABC deleted to save JenJen from further embarassing herself, fine.  I did copy her libels, so doesn't matter if you did.  Hey, she stole the copy and pics, not me, despite her libels...
Jeffry Gilbert Added Aug 30, 2017 - 9:33pm
In the US you pay peanuts and get monkeys
 
You know what they say when you assume.
 
I do not and have not lived in DUHmerica for several decades. 
 
Apparently so-called head teachers don't know when they're in a hole to stop digging.
 
opher goodwin Added Aug 31, 2017 - 7:10am
Saint George - having taught for a year in a state school in California and having a long career in education in England running a highly successful school I can assure you that a. education is greatly underfunded b. funding makes a huge difference to outcomes. When we had the funding we were able to have smaller class sizes, better equipment and classroom support. The outcomes in all ways was superior. The kids received a far better education.
The school I taught at in California (all-be-it in 1979/80) was lamentably funded and the outcomes for students was appalling.
opher goodwin Added Aug 31, 2017 - 7:12am
John G - you obviously do not understand what social and cultural education is.
opher goodwin Added Aug 31, 2017 - 7:15am
Jeffry - While I haven't lived in the states for decades my daughter did. She brought up two children there for a number of years and I visited extensively. I'm not too out of touch. The friends I made teaching in the States I'm still in contact with. I get the picture - same old  same old.
Saint George Added Aug 31, 2017 - 6:49pm
having taught for a year in a state school in California and having a long career in education in England running a highly successful school I can assure you that a. education is greatly underfunded
 
Having posted nation-wide data for a 36-year period (1970 to 2006) comparing federal funding to student test-scores,  I can assure you that in the U.S. there is zero correlation between the two: vastly increased funding has led to no improvement in student test scores.
 
I trust the 36-year database I posted more than I trust one man's subjective impression of his one year of experience.
Jeff Michka Added Aug 31, 2017 - 9:31pm
The topic here was the observation about: "It's all about the Ball" here in the states.  Consider: Also the city usually foots a good portion of the bill over any payment from NFL, NBA or Hockey team.-Yup, despite the Billions generated that would enough$$$ to rebuild Most of the inner cities in the US.  I still pay for a stadium that was torn down as part of a "Stadium Taxing District." Fortunately, the city NBA franchise went away.  So somewhat less pressure to spend public money on a new venue.  They will spend money renovating one venue that could be for roundball, but there's no "guarantee" a franchise will be "available," which is a term with "implications."  Fortunately, I won't pay a dime for it.  We always "don't have public money for anything, but for The Ball, anything.
Jeffry Gilbert Added Sep 1, 2017 - 3:22am
I still pay for a stadium that was torn down as part of a "Stadium Taxing District
 
Shittatle. 
 
Ah, the Great NorthWaste.
 
Man, ain't THAT livin'.
 
Jeffry Gilbert Added Sep 1, 2017 - 3:30am
Actually you technically aren't paying for it until the 25 year mark under the contract. Interest on the deferred payments has continued to accrue. Turned an alleged $475 million replacement of the Kingdome into a $1 Billion play palace for billionaire owners and their millionaire players. 
 
Worst part is that asshole could have paid all of it out of his first year's share of TV revenue including buying the team AND had cash left over. 
 
Way to go Shittatle!
John G Added Sep 1, 2017 - 5:06am
John G - you obviously do not understand what social and cultural education is.
You are a truly arrogant little Englander, Goodwin.
 
Jeffry Gilbert Added Sep 1, 2017 - 10:39am
We always "don't have public money for anything, but for The Ball, anything.
 
Goes to the deep seated insecurity of the Great NorthWaste in general and Shittatle in particular. Never saw so many beat their chests over so little as I saw there. 
 
They think a couple Billion of play palaces in lower downtown means they're somebody or a world class "city". 
 
Bwahaawwww.
 
Even A Broken Clock Added Sep 1, 2017 - 12:00pm
St. George - I do not dispute that federal spending has greatly increased since 1970. However, the vast majority of spending on education is state and local, and the federal spending in the US is only a few percent of the total. Therefore your analysis would need to look at overall spending, not just the federal component, to be valid.
Jeff Michka Added Sep 1, 2017 - 3:43pm
Whatever was done to you in Seattle, obviously wasn't enough, Gilbert. 
'Technically," the block that states "Stadium Taxing District Assessment" on my property tax stub says otherwise.  Still, "all about the Ball."  Your screed about the PacNW is "same old shit" from you.  Yawn.
Saint George Added Sep 1, 2017 - 10:11pm
You are a truly arrogant little Englander, Goodwin.
 
I guess it takes an arrogant little Englander to know an arrogant little New Zealander, you worthless skid-mark. Shrivel up and turn into fertilizer, you opportunistic phony revolutionary bullshitter.
 
Saint George Added Sep 1, 2017 - 10:32pm
However, the vast majority of spending on education is state and local, and the federal spending in the US is only a few percent of the total.
 
No, Andrew Coulson of the Cato Institute already compiled similar data from third-party sources for local, state, and federal spending on public education, and charted them in a similar way. They all show exactly the same thing: irrespective of HOW MUCH is spent per pupil, or WHICH LEVEL OF GOVERNMENT does the spending (local, state, or federal), student test scores in key subjects like 1) reading comprehension, 2) mathematical ability, and 3) scientific knowledge, have remained static for the 36 year period between 1970 and 2006. Just say the word and I'll post the data.
 
In any case, your position is silly. The evidence shows that educational outcomes for students are insensitive to how much spending is poured into schools irrespective of who does the spending. To quibble over the way these data are presented by saying, "Well, but maybe if the little township of East Bumfuck were to spend just a bit more than it already has, its student test scores would skyrocket!" is fantasy. Why would test scores skyrocket?
 
You're resisting the point. The point is that public money from local, state, and federal sources flows to a professional class of "educationists" such as school psychologists, school guidance counselors, etc., and never reaches the students or their teachers. That's the way public education in the U.S. is structured, especially since the hippie-dippy days of the 1960s and 1970s. Granted, in the 1930s and '40s, American public education was pretty good; but then again, in those days, it didn't have school psychologists and guidance counselors.
 
Your argument also ignores the basic reason the U.S. implemented a public educational system in the first place. It had nothing to do with the quality of education, since the majority of people in colonial times up to the mid-19th century were literate, and became so by private means (private schools, private teachers, private tutors, the famous McGuffey Readers, readings from the Bible, etc.). The push for a public system of education was spearheaded by Horace Mann in Massachusetts, who was dismayed by the variety of educational methods, not by their quality. He desired one, uniform method of educating young students, and, additionally, wanted a more secular outcome: he wanted students to leave the educational system thinking, "I'm an American Citizen!" rather than "I'm a God-fearing Christian . . . who happens to live in the United States of America."
 
There's obviously a big difference between those two outcomes, and clearly, government desired the former more than the latter.
Saint George Added Sep 1, 2017 - 11:19pm
Total spending per pupil K through 12 (federal, state, local spending) vs. school staff (not teachers, but psychologists, guidance counselors, principals, vice principals, assistant vice principals, test providers, test evaluators, etc.), vs. student test scores. Time period: 1970 to 2006.
Even A Broken Clock Added Sep 2, 2017 - 2:51pm
George, I have a feeling that any argument with you would not result in your mind being opened even a scintilla. You are very honest with your beliefs that any government spending is ill-advised, and that we in the US are destined to slide down the slippery slope of Marxist philosophy if we don't change direction. I just happen to disagree with your premises.
opher goodwin Added Sep 2, 2017 - 6:24pm
John G - just putting you right John. Your ignorance manifests itself to often it gets caught up with your abuse.
opher goodwin Added Sep 2, 2017 - 6:30pm
Saint - the information I get from teachers still in the education system in the USA is that nothing much has changed. I don't know. I taught there a long time ago. I'm not in that system. There were many absurdities back then - like an office with 26 secretaries whose job it was to ring round absent students (approaching two thirds in my school) and get them in school for a minute so that the school got the funding. It seemed crazy to me - a misuse of money.
I do know that in England the funding has been systematically cut for the last seven years of Tory Government.
The problem as I see it is that a lot of the poorer American families do not value education.
Saint George Added Sep 2, 2017 - 8:18pm


I have a feeling that any argument with you would not result in your mind being opened even a scintilla.
 
Depends on whether the argument rests on data (as mine does) or feelings (as I believe yours does). If you have data showing that measurable educational outcomes improve with increased public spending, I'd like to see it.
 
You are very honest with your beliefs that any government spending is ill-advised,
 
I've never claimed that "any" government spending is ill-advised. For example, defense spending is not ill-advised: defense is something that government ought to be doing. Financing a "Department of Education," "Department of Housing and Urban Development," "Department of Health and Human Services", "Department of Agriculture", "Department of Energy", "Department of the Interior", "Department of Labor", etc., are things government should not be doing for reasons stated on WB over the course of many months: doing so creates entrenched special interests, rent-seekers, free-riders, regulatory capture, and moral hazard. Those downsides outweigh any upside that may appear by dint of those departments.
 
and that we in the US are destined to slide down the slippery slope of Marxist philosophy if we don't change direction.
 
I believe it's the other way around. Once the education system propagates Marxist philosophy, political and economic changes are bound to occur in time.


 
Saint George Added Sep 2, 2017 - 8:23pm
The problem as I see it is that a lot of the poorer American families do not value education.
 
Perhaps. From what I see, however, poor American parents greatly value education, at least in the abstract; what they don't value specifically is the public school their children are forced to attend. That they disapprove of the public school their child must attend doesn't mean they don't value education, per se. It means they'd prefer to have a choice as to where to send their child for an education. Public education (at least in the U.S.) removes the option of choice from the decision-making of poor parents.
Jeff Michka Added Sep 3, 2017 - 8:10pm
St. Geo mentions: 1) reading comprehension, 2) mathematical ability, and 3) scientific knowledge, have remained static for the 36 year period between 1970 and 2006. Just say the word and I'll post the data.-Not a surprise when a large number of the school boards in control would rather teach: "I'm a God-fearing Christian . . . who happens to live in the United States of America."-So you kids should be "taught" the World is flat, as well as 6000 yrs old, creationism. etc. conforming to an "ignorance of community."
Saint George Added Sep 3, 2017 - 9:52pm
So you kids should be "taught" the World is flat,
 
When were children in the pre-public school period of the U.S.A ever taught that the world is flat?
 
That the world is a sphere floating in a void has been known since antiquity. The "Flat-World" believers all appeared in the 20th century (e.g., The Flat Earth Society) and were all products of secular public education, not religious private.
opher goodwin Added Sep 4, 2017 - 6:34am
Saint - teaching creationism is on a par to teaching that the world is flat.
opher goodwin Added Sep 4, 2017 - 6:37am
Saint - the problem with statistics and quantifiable outcomes is that it down values qualitative outcomes. Education is so much more than measurable statistics.
If people valued education they'd fund it properly.
The day the military have to have a bake-sale to raise money for a tank is the day I might think they've got their priorities right.
Jeff Michka Added Sep 4, 2017 - 12:35pm
opher goodwin sez: Saint - teaching creationism is on a par to teaching that the world is flat. -Yup, but guess St. Geo didn't get "the joke."
Even A Broken Clock Added Sep 4, 2017 - 7:33pm
Jeff - agreed. People like St. George will insist on using their cherry-picked statistics provided by like-minded entities that have been demonstrably incorrect since the early 1980's. Still, they will persist in their misguided attempt to paint all of public education with the same tarry brush of ineffectiveness.
 
I'd really like to see the number of people who have withdrawn from the public education system. I lived in Memphis during the late 70's and through 1985, and know that there was deliberate withdrawal from the city public school system, either through enrollment in a private (read Christian) school, or through movement to a predominantly white suburb. So what is left behind (not in an apocalyptic sense) are the poor blacks and whites who do not have much choice. Now, you can claim that creation of charter schools will help, and it may help for the minority of those students who do have motivated parents who can inspire their children to achieve. But what do we do with the remainder of students? Throw them away?
 
St. George, your points regarding the increased spending on the non-classroom administrators / specialists may be valid, but there are still far too many public schools with decaying infrastructure that also need to be addressed. Other countries seem to be dealing with these issues. Why can't we except for a lack of will?
Jeff Michka Added Sep 4, 2017 - 9:18pm
EABC sez: But what do we do with the remainder of students? Throw them away? That precisely what many want to happen, throw those worthless minority and "trash" low-IQ whites away.  If a for-profit school can't put the fear of corporations into them, they clearly deserve to be discarded.  Ask Betsy DeVos. 
Saint George Added Sep 5, 2017 - 12:32am
teaching creationism is on a par to teaching that the world is flat
 
No it isn't. That the earth is NOT flat is objectively and scientifically demonstrable. That life did NOT originate by means of an act of intentional, purposeful, goal-directed intelligence, is not scientifically demonstrable. If it were, we'd be creating life from non-life in the laboratory. But it's never been done and it's never been observed.
 
A real scientist, Opher, is someone who follows wherever the facts lead him; not someone who cherry-picks which facts he'll consider so long as they support a prior belief or philosophical bias.
Saint George Added Sep 5, 2017 - 12:42am
Saint - the problem with statistics and quantifiable outcomes is that it down values qualitative outcomes.
 
No they don't. And you wouldn't post such hippie-dippy nonsense if the quantifiable outcomes supported your belief that public education is "underfunded." Instead of doing the intellectually honest thing — questioning your own premises and admitting your were wrong ("Public education has many problems but underfunding is not one of them . . .") — you take the silly step of denying the validity of objective data. 
 
Education is so much more than measurable statistics.
 
You mean, like holding hands in a circle — symbolizing the beautiful Great Circle of Life — and singing, "Will the circle, be un-broken, by-and-by Lord, by-and by", though we'll have to substitute something more safely secular for the word "Lord." We don't want to inadvertently suggest to young minds that there's anything in the universe greater than their own wants, needs, and feelings.

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