The Problem With Our Education System Is Not Money
I’ve been saying for a long time that our education system is not underfunded and our teachers are not underpaid. However, this concept has been hammered into our psyches for so long that the American people get suckered by the same appeals for more money every 2-4 years. We budget huge increases in education spending and then after the schools receive the money, there is no significant improvement in test scores. For all the good it does, we might as well be taking all that money, buying Star Trek commemorative plates with it, and then dumping all that porcelain into the Marianas Trench.
Yet, despite the fact that the United States already spends more money per pupil than any other country in the world, every few years we’re told that we’re not spending enough on education. Why don’t more people say, “Hey, the last time we heard that, we poured billions of dollars into our education system and we have nothing to show for it. Where did all the money go? Every teacher should be wearing a fur coat and driving a limo with all the money we spend to educate our kids.” Maybe people keep quiet about that because anyone who points out that our schools are already adequately funded is portrayed as a cold-hearted miser who wants teachers to have to draw diagrams in the dirt with sticks because they won’t be able to afford blackboards.
So since people won’t speak up, the day always seems to be carried by politicians and teachers’ unions claiming that they could get things working if only we gave them a little more money. How do we keep buying into this over and over again? Is there ever a point where we say, ‘the problem isn’t money’? Does a day ever come when we say, ‘Gee, let’s find a successful school system in another country & just copy them’ or even, ‘let’s try vouchers” and just let schools compete until we find the best way to educate our kids?
No, that doesn’t happen because it would require that the Democratic Party be more interested in our children’s education than pleasing the teachers’ unions and it would also mean the GOP would need to have the guts to stand up and say we shouldn’t spend more on education at election time. Heck, it might even mean that people would have to realize that teachers are not underpaid (insert gasp here).
We all have it drilled into us from the time we’re young that our teachers deserve a lot more money (by the teachers themselves wouldn’t you know), but it’s not true. Did you know that the AVERAGE salary of a teacher in the United States is: $43,250? That’s not chicken feed, especially when you consider that teachers also work short hours, get lots of days off during the year, have fantastic benefits, get their summers off, and are nearly impossible to fire once they get tenure.
Sure the teacher’s salaries start off really low, but what’s unusual about that? You know what my first job was after I got out of college with a Psychology degree? I made $6.50 an hour as a Walmart photographer. The job was agony, the benefits stunk, I had minimal vacation time, no tenure, and I couldn’t even risk answering my phone on my days off because my boss was constantly trying to harangue me into covering for people who were sick. So excuse me if I don’t get overwrought about teachers starting out with a very low salary, since like most Americans at one point or another in their lives, I’ve “been there, done that”.
If, “insanity is doing the same thing over and over while expecting a different result,” Americans have lost their marbles when it comes to our public education system. There are a lot of things we can do to try to improve our school system, but giving more money to our educators shouldn’t be one of them. Until we accept that and stop trying to fix our public education system by throwing money at it, we’re not going to see any real improvement.