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Public education does receive federal funding but most of their budget comes from state and local resources. This is the biggest reason for the inequities between students. The students who live in high poverty areas don’t have a chance to get the same opportunities as students who live in low poverty areas. If we continue to base funding on mostly property taxes, we can never expect that our children in this country are going to be given a fair chance to be successful. In states like Texas, they have tried to share the funds by recapturing funds from excess property taxes and redistributing it to schools that cannot meet their entitlement funding. People who live in wealthy districts with high property taxes feel like the money they are paying should stay in their districts for their students. People who live in high poverty areas feel like the wealthier districts have plenty for their students and see their students doing without the basics. If the states don’t redistribute the funds, the high poverty areas would have a problem meeting the needs of the students and the schools they attend. Student vouchers will not change this problem. In fact, they may even make the problem worse.
As the price of goods and services continue to rise along with the salaries of educators, it is imperative that we put more money into education in this country. Even though we rank #1 as the best education system in the world, our students rank lower in math and science by a wide margin. As that gap continues to widen, so will our place in the world. It is time to decide if we want to continue the status quo with these results or decide that we want to improve this disparity. While throwing money at a problem is not the only answer, it is apparent that we are not staying up with the cost of inflation and wages. China leads the world in their students scoring highest in math and science. There are more reasons for this than the money being spent per student. It is the emphasis on education, the discipline of their students in education, and the expectation level set by parents and educators in their country. This needs to be addressed as well but we have to start with the federal government being more involved in leveling the playing field in the budget dollars they give to the school districts.
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