Home > Uncategorized > When it Comes to Funding for Public Education, Look at What Governors DO, Not What They SAY

When it Comes to Funding for Public Education, Look at What Governors DO, Not What They SAY

Jeff Bryant, a reliably compelling blogger, wrote a post in last Thursday’s Education Opportunity Network describing the root of public education’s funding problems: bad leadership at the top. In his post he notes that 29 states have rebounded from the financial crisis that plagued our country nearly a decade ago, but since then have not reinvested in public schools… even though the Governors in those states claim to value education. Why?

Governors in these states say education finance is a priority – at least according to an annual survey of them. The poll, conducted by the Education Commission of the States, asked 42 governors about their education-related priorities. School finance was at the top, with 32 wanting to improve K-12 education through funding. But obviously, these state leaders forgot the revenue side of the equation. Oops!

This just in: if you want to increase spending you need to increase revenues and— get this— you can’t increase revenues by cutting taxes! Mr. Bryant does his usual thorough job of detailing the facts, illustrating how at least ten states in all parts of the country and led by politicians from both parties have short-changed schools despite the evidence that funding makes a difference. We’re at a point where teachers are making direct appeals through social media to provide essential materials of instruction needed for their classrooms, in part because they have already dug deeply into their own pockets! As Mr. Bryant reports:

Over 72,000 teachers have created GoFundMe campaigns on the internet to raise funds for classroom supplies their districts can’t pay for. Teachers already shell out $530 a year, on average, of their own money on classroom items, including food and clothing for students. In high-poverty schools, that figure jumps to $672.

Mr. Bryant’s frustration with the lack of political leadership and courage shows in his final paragraphs:

Surveys show Americans are generally willing to pay higher taxes to for education, especially if the money is used to pay teachers more and improve facilities and technology.

Yet, political leaders continue to slash taxes instead and redirect more funds to unfounded experiments like charter schools and voucher programs.

It’s time to stop treating the symptoms of this disease and go directly to the cause. Vote these idiots out of office.

In order to accomplish that goal, it might be important to make sure that the public understands the budget fundamentals that their elected officials do not grasp: when preparing a budget, revenues MUST equal expenditures.

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