- Don’t Expect Your Students to Attend Your Funeral - March 2, 2022
- Teachers Have Known This for Years: A Generation Hollowed Out - August 3, 2021
- Opinion: After Trump, Civics Can NEVER Be the Same - January 16, 2021
- FIVE Miserable COVID Truths Teachers Don’t Say Out Loud - December 18, 2020
- A Message from the Year 2040: How a Year of COVID Learning Forever Changed My Life - November 23, 2020
- Zooming into the Abyss: The VANISHING AMERICAN STUDENT - October 16, 2020
- DON’T BE FOOLED: The Fall Will Be Difficult, But Teachers Were Demoralized Long Before COVID-19 - August 13, 2020
- Teaching in the Midst of the Corona Crisis - March 18, 2020
- Five OUTRAGEOUSLY OUTDATED Things in Modern Education - October 4, 2019
- It’s Time to Replace the Fourth of July (Kind Of) - September 17, 2019
#3: Funding Schools Through Property Taxes: The United States is the only country in the industrialized world in which our poorest students receive fewer public resources than our most affluent students. It makes absolutely no sense that students with the most socioeconomic disadvantages (and who frequently lack other elements of social capital fundamental to academic achievement and growth such as quality health care, safe homes, stable family life) are allotted the least from our public coffers.
If you want a culprit it’s this: property taxes. In the United States, school funding is received from a variety of sources—45% state, 45% local, and 10% federal. While some states such as California and Illinois attempt to remedy these deficiencies by bolstering state monies, the end result is still one of socio-economic segregation. A powerful visual representation of this problem was demonstrated by NPR in 2016 who created maps of the disparity between geographic areas. In my home state of California, which suffers from high levels of income inequality, the disparity is especially intense.
Education has traditionally been the responsibility of local and state governments. The very design of our Constitution which is silent about any individual right to education ensures that educational systems—the curriculum, teacher requirements, funding levels—are going to be monumentally different from state to state. And in many regards, localism in education makes a lot of sense. Alaska suffers from transportation issues that a district in Los Angeles would never have to consider.
But as wealth and poverty become more stratified in American society, anchoring funding sources in local property bases will only serve to further inequality and engender resentment. Think about the insanity of the present situation: the surest path out of poverty and economic strife is a high-quality education and yet the resources needed to bolster this noble project of social mobility is denied to those who are most needing of it.
The achievement gap between rich and poor is widening. While I am conservative enough to acknowledge that funding is never the panacea my liberal friends argue it is, more resources for our most at-risk students is not just a moral imperative but makes practical sense in an era of increasing polarization.
Click here for reason 4.