Jul 17, 2011

Our Broken Escalator - Cuts to School Districts are UnAmerican

Nicholas D. Kristof has a piece in today's NYT on why public education is a good thing.

Scott Walker, Randy Hopper and the gang don't agree as they take their ax to school districts, demonize teachers, and take over community control.

Writes Kristof:

THE United States supports schools in Afghanistan because we know that education is one of the cheapest and most effective ways to build a country.

Alas, we’ve forgotten that lesson at home. All across America, school budgets are being cut, teachers laid off and education programs dismantled. ...

The immediate losers are the students. In the long run, the loser is our country. ...

it’s also true that blindly slashing budgets is making the problems worse. As Derek Bok, the former Harvard president, once observed, “If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.”

Still, we nation-build in Afghanistan and scrimp at home. How is it that we can afford to double our military budget since 9/11, can afford the carried-interest tax loophole for billionaires, can afford billions of dollars in givebacks to oil and gas companies, yet can’t afford to invest in our kids’ futures?

Sometimes I hear people endorse education cuts by arguing that “school isn’t for everybody,” which usually means something like “education isn’t for other people’s children” — or that farm kids in places like Yamhill [Oregon] really don’t need schools that double as rocket ships. I can’t think of any view that is more un-American.

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