Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Funding Learning: A Monumental Disconnect

Every time I turn around, there is a roadblock in the way of getting to where we need to be as an education system. The frustrating part is that the roadblock is almost always the same: money.

In my little corner of the world, a lack of funds places itself between where we are and where we'd like (or need) to go in all kinds of ways. If I want to train anyone to do anything, it takes money. If I want to offer incentives, it costs money. If I want to improve access to technology resources, it costs tons of money. Basically, anything and everything we need to do in order to move forward costs money. This isn't a problem, as long as everyone recognizes the importance of education. Right?

Apparently, I assume too much. Sure, every government entity and figurehead, every politician will talk about how important education is, but then guess what is usually first to appear on the chopping block when cuts need to be made?

Educating our citizens should be priority number one, and money should NEVER be an object. Sure, we should scrutinize spending and look for ways to be more efficient whenever possible, but to cut spending, or even to limit spending when it comes to educating the next generation of Americans, is anti-American. If you love your country and want it to be the best it can be, you better believe in having intelligent citizens capable of critical thinking and problem solving, regardless of their eventual chosen endeavors.

So how or why do I arrive at the opinion that government leaders don't care about this priority? Despite the fact that the Department of Education talks a good talk in a recent publication advocating for systemic change nationwide (see netp documents and information at, they still fail to fund the lofty goals contained within its pages. On the contrary, one only needs to Google "government waste" to find a mind-boggling amount of information on just how little government does to shore up its own spending, which could easily afford the national public education system a nearly unlimited budget. Take a look at the Heritage Foundation's list of the top 10 examples of government waste, for starters. (

After the last round of elections, I'm afraid the GOP will look to education yet again to increase available spending elsewhere in the state budgets. But what could possibly be more important than an already underfunded system intended to prepare American citizens for world leadership?

Government leaders: Quit stealing from our kids. Go pick on your own departments and hold them accountable before giving the education system any more of your mandates tied to underfunded programs. Figure out what you can do to ease the burden on teachers so that they can spend more time with students. Find the billions of dollars that are spent each year by people you don't know on things you can't find before you talk to us about accountability or efficiency.

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