Letters from the Lunar Outpost

The universe is moved by a power which cycles endlessly from day to day. Such greatness endures for all time. As in heaven, so on earth.
- I Ching, Chinese Book of Changes (B.C. 1150?)

I saw a photo on Facebook this morning and I couldn’t help but feel compelled to reply.

Why is there always money for war but not for education?

There’s a little bit of irony in this plea for education funding because of course, you have to be woefully ignorant to suggest there’s no proper share of money being spent on education in America. Here’s how we stack up with the rest of the world:

Spending per pupil by country

And here are the results from the U.S. ranking fourth in the world in education spending:

The three-yearly OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) report, which compares the knowledge and skills of 15-year-olds in 70 countries around the world, ranked the United States 14th out of 34 OECD countries for reading skills, 17th for science and a below-average 25th for mathematics.

Source: Business Insider

Quite an awesome job for government-run education in America! We’re already spending more per student than every country on the face of the Earth except for three, and we’ve ended up 14th, 17th and 25th in reading, science and math.

Just keep those facts in mind the next time someone around comes telling you we’re not spending enough on education. It’s not the lack of funding, it’s the top-heavy bureaucracy that’s crushing our students.

One last set of data to consider when we’re talking about education funding in America. Let’s compare the spending among American citites:

Highest three cities in per capita spending in the U.S.?

Washington, D.C. – $18,667
New York – $18,618
New Jersey – $16,841

Lowest three?

Utah – $6,064
Idaho – $7,106
Arizona – $7,848

Source: CNN

How’s that working out for you, DC, NY and NJ? Can we take a look at how poorly your test scores and graduation rates compare to the states spending as little as a third of what you’re spending?

Obviously, lack of funding is the farthest thing from the real problem here. The teachers unions have fought it tooth and nail and those unions have kept the Democrats in their back pockets, but when polls show 71% of mothers support having school choice as an alternative to our failed public school systems, it’s time for common sense to take over and for the bureaucratic fat cats to get kicked out of their ivory towers and sent down to a level where they can actually do something productive for the kids.

Hey Mr. or Mrs. “I’ve spent the last thirty years of my life as an administrator”, if you really care about the kids, how about you give up that fat administrative paycheck and rejoin the ranks of the teachers where you can make more of an impact in children’s lives than you ever did on the school board?

If we were to simply allow private schools to compete for the tax dollars parents are already paying for their kids educations, the competition of private schools with fresh ideas would force public schools to rethink their old ways and step up their performance or wither on the vine, and don’t worry about the death of a public school, there will be more private schools to take the places of those schools that continue to fail. If a few failing public schools get taken over by schools showing better results of if those failing schools get bulldozed or even if they just sit there empty like some abandoned factory in Detroit, you should shed no tears over it. The death of a failed public school simply means no longer will that school be cranking out a populace where the majority drop out and the few who do manage to graduate are woefully unprepared for the life ahead of them.

One last fact to ponder here: Almost four in ten Chicago public teachers send THEIR OWN KIDS to private schools. Thank God they can afford it, but for most Chicagoans who earn nowhere near the average $76,000 salary of the Chicago public school teachers, the money they would need to pay the tax of a public education they won’t be using along with the tuition they’ll need to get their kids out of thsee failed public schools just is not an option.

So whenever someone from the teachers unions or one of their bought and paid for politicians gives you the lie that the problem with America is that we aren’t spending enough on our kids’ educations, just realize that of the more money they’re asking you to spend on top of the money we already spend, 80% of that money is going to go not to the kids themselves, but to the teachers unions, in the form of salaries, benefits and pensions and the funding of bloated bureaucracies and political propaganda to keep school choice an option only for the public school teachers themselves, the politicians and the higher members of the upper class.

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