Tuesday, June 14

Funding education

Our illustrious Oregon House Majority Leader, Karen Minnis, was on the radio this morning spouting off on her plan to "save" education funding in Oregon.

I'm pissed, so I'm going to do a bit of spouting of my own.

  1. "Half of all income tax revenues will go to education"
    Gee, that's nice to see education gets higher billing than prisons for once, but what about all the other programs state government provides? How many more of them are going to be cut so that Mrs. Minnis can beat her little drum and pretend to care about funding state services? Oregon Health Plan, it's gone - go bleed somewhere else. Services to Children and Families, those foster kids can go live under a bridge - it's not that cold out there and they're all delinquents or illegal anyway. Roads, oh quit whining and just drive around that sinkhole pothole - that's why you bought that massive SUV.

    Moreover, how do we know "half of all income tax" is even an adequate number? As we precariously balance on this lovely but completely insufficient little two-legged financial stool of property taxes and income taxes, does sawing off half of one leg to give to education really do any good? Especially in a state that is (if I recall correctly) 48th in the nation for total per-capita tax burden. I find it excessively hard to believe that half a leg will ever be enough to properly fund our schools.

  2. "Reward schools that are doing well"
    This one really pisses me off. The schools that are doing well are exactly the schools who need extra funding the least! Time and time again it's been shown that poverty has a strong negative impact on student achievement. (Hey! That's why they call it the "achievement gap"!) Students also tend to do as well as the other students around them, regardless of other factors. Poor students in rich districts do disproportionately better while students in schools that have a high number of students who qualify for free/reduced lunch programs - even if they themselves are not poor - do not do as well academically as their counterparts in other districts/schools.

So. What does that leave us? Poor schools, who already have greater need for things like after school programs, lunch programs, health programs and the like are now being financially penalized because they are "failing" academically while schools in wealthier suburbs (where they have foundations and booster clubs giving money to the school to pay for that librarian who was laid off last year) are being given even more state funding. Toss in "No Child Left Behind" and you've got an exponential curve. Going the wrong way.

Gotta love that math. Too bad nobody gots enuf skoolin no more to know what dat 'eggpoonetnil' ting meanz.


  1. Very true. The worse that kids are doing in school, the MORE help they need, not less!

  2. Although money doesn't solve everything (DC spends more per student than any other school system in the country yet is one of the worst school systems in the country) but the ones who are doing well, are the ones who should get less money, as they don't need it.

    I am a true socialist when it comes to education. No one school should have something that the other doesn't.