Beit Gamaliel

The confluence of knowledge and faith

The REAL Price of Knowledge

So who do you believe? In an election year, we are all hit with wayward facts and statistics, manipulating data to get the desired effect. Recently I get an endorsement packet from the local teachers union. It is not surprising which candidate they support. What IS surprising is the reason they support him. It is not that either candidate has some HUGE agenda on education. It is not like anyone REALLY feels that the Common Core Standards will really achieve their intended goal. The REAL reason that the union endorses a particular candidate is that the opposing candidate will limit funding.

Can you believe the audacity of politicians? CUTTING FUNDING? It is absurd! How in the world can a civilized, world-leading nation advance by spending LESS money?

The fact that our country is buried in debt and on target to increase that debt significantly over the next four years should be cause enough to support a cut in spending. When our home budget gets tight I have to make some hard decision. Imagine an uprising in your home because you had to cut cell service!

So, how much money should it cost to educate our children in America?

The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice released a report recently that noted between 1992 and 2009, the number of public school students nationwide grew by 17 percent. However, in stark contrast, full-time school staff increased by 39 percent. Sadly, despite hiring at a rate more than double the rate of enrollment, student achievement nationally remained flat over the same time period.

So what correlation exists that more money equates to better education? Very little. A recent study by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) shows that Japan graduates 96% of its students while spending less per GDP on education than most countries (17th lowest). Compare that to the US which spends 5.4% of the GDP on education and only graduates 77% of its population. Clearly money is not the solution we need, but it seems to be the ONLY solution that the defenders of public educators want.

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