Plainly and obviously, California and Arizona in particular have been on a drunken spending spree in education! Didn't you know that?
Ooops. Crap... the data show something totally different, with both lagging well behind and not even experiencing that supposed spending bubble we hear of?
But, we know they've dramatically increased their teacher ranks... stupidly and inefficiently reducing class size - which everyone knows doesn't work? Wait, ... crap... the data don't support that either.
Actually, Arizona in particular has seen increases in pupil to teacher ratios for decades now as they have starved their system of funding. Hey, what wrong with a little more starvation in the name of fiscal austerity?Every argument the 'formers make has to be countered FIRST by challenging the premise that we are spending too much on our schools. I continue to believe that a country that spends at least double what every other industrialized country spends per capita on health care has plenty of money available to adequately fund our schools. I believe a country that has allowed vast amounts of money to be concentrated in fewer hands than ever before has plenty of money available to adequately fund our schools. I believe a country that has spent years fighting wars of choice with no end in sight has plenty of money available to adequately fund our schools.
After all, perhaps they've put up as much effort as they possibly can?
Taxed themselves to death, eh? Well... crap... the data don't support that either. Well then screw the data. Cut, Cut, Cut... it's absolutely necessary. It's reformy. It's our only choice!
The recession is a convenient excuse for those who say "There's no more money!" There is more money, but we're spending it on other things: wars, health care excess, and making rich people richer.
We've made a CHOICE not to spend this money on education. We could CHOOSE to, instead, put it in the schools. But those CHOICES have nothing to do with merit pay or tenure or charter schools or VAM or any other scheme the 'formers happen to be promoting at the moment.
Again - the 'formers want to pay great teachers more. They want every kid to have a great teacher. What does that mean for the overall amount we spend on education?
The conclusion is rather obvious.