Friday, January 9, 2009

Dear Federal Government: Invest in Schools

When you're scrambling to figure out how to inject nearly a trillion dollars into an ailing economy, please consider some of the more obvious "trickle down" venues for spending (yes I'm fully aware of who coined "trickle down" and that it was squarely focused on private markets, but I like the irony of using it here). I appreciate the thought of converting government buildings to be more energy efficient, but when you're having trouble spending a trillion dollars because so many of the potential programs don't pass the "pork barrel spending" test, consider our public education system. Any American would appreciate any amount of money going into schools, and I suspect you could easily burn a few hundred billion dollars to set the stage for a highly educated USA in coming generations.

I'm lost when I read in the New York Times that the Obama crew is struggling to find programs that add up to $800B, and there has never been any mention of public education as an outlet. The jobs created in building new schools, renovating old ones, employing more teachers, finally getting teacher pay to a livable level (at least!), providing modern learning tools and programs, modernizing the public schools bus transportation program in an energy efficient manner, and on and on. Open your eyes folks, or explain to me why the schools aren't a good place to dump untold sums of money; "privatizing schools" doesn't count as an answer BTW.

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