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The Ripoff of School Taxes

Why do we tolerate paying more for less?

By Guest Editorial  |  September 18, 2020
by Richard W. Morris

“I’m sorry the quality’s so bad,” the grocery clerk said, “and not much of it either.” She handed me an unopened box of food and charged my credit card based upon what the government determined I should pay — not what was in the package. She sighed, “We need more funding.” I was not supposed to look inside the box - just take it and go away. I had to eat whatever some bureaucrat thought I should eat.

Ask yourself: exactly how long would you put up with that?

Guess what? You already do precisely that when it comes to education in government schools. The quality’s bad, and there ain’t much education in the package. Most people pay according to their home’s value because the school tax is part of the real estate tax; renters also pay as part of their rent. Live in the district, pay the tax.

In essence, owners rent their homes from the government - if you don’t pay the money, they take your home. Think of it as a legal protection racket

In return, the governments taking the taxes are supposed to provide such “protection” as police, firefighters, and “public education.” If the taxpayers are not getting what they pay for, the taxes are a rip-off.    

Where We Are

How bad is it? Damn bad. How about the University of Illinois (government school) professor that teaches: “On many levels, mathematics itself operates as Whiteness.” Say what?

Yes, she says, math might as well be called “white math?” Why? Because “curricula emphasizing terms like Pythagorean theorem and pi perpetuate a perception that mathematics was largely developed by Greeks and other Europeans.”

Who cares who developed it? Students need to learn math. Can you imagine a teacher saying: 2 + 2 = white?  Everywhere and everyone knows 2 + 2= 4, and pi = pi. Math has nothing to do with color - but everything to do with the quality of education spewed to students who actually wanted to learn math.

The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) shows the percentages of proficiency in a subject for the 12th grade:

U.S. History 12%
Science 22%
Geography 20%

Pitiful! Generally, the trend has been  downward, not upward, as time has moved on. No matter what the price, it is a rip-off.

Nonetheless, the #REDFORED folks in Arizona (and similar groups elsewhere) have been making a lot of noise, and education is getting more and more money. At the same time, the students have been getting less and less education. I call that a rip-off.

Government educators have never had as much money as they do today. Look at this from the National Center for Education Statistics: Nationally, taxpayers spend $15,000 per student per year.

Compare your local private school tuition prices. Other than for a handful of “elite” schools, I think you’ll find the government school prices are higher. Ignore the unfairness to people who have no children in school but pay for their neighbor’s thirteen kids from K through 12, and you still see the rip-off. Churchill would have said: Never has so much been given to so many for so little.

Economist Daniel Mitchell pointed this out in his 2016 article entitled “More Tax Dollars for Government Schools ≠ Better Education.” His argument applies today, and was reprinted recently by the Foundation for Economic Education under the title “The Failure of Public Schooling In One Chart.” One chart, that’s all it takes to expose the rip-off:

In one chart, Dr. Mitchell exposes the lie that schools need more money. Schools need a lot of things, but money is not one of them. Yet, every time one of the teacher’s unions honchos gets on TV, the first whining words are: “We need more funding.” Humbug! We taxpayers are being ripped-off.

What to do?

If we’re going to have taxpayers pay for the children’s education, let’s make sure we get our money’s worth. On August 5, 2020, Senator Rand Paul introduced a bill (S. 4432) to provide that government money would “follow the student” rather than be paid to a school. The school could be public or private. This bill is a major step forward.

If Paul’s bill passes, which it won’t, the schools would have to compete on both price and quality. Government schools and private schools would be on a level playing field. That’s why it won’t pass.

You can already see who is jumping up to oppose this. The unions and bureaucrats do not want quality or competition. They want children to go to the school they designate and accept the stuff they serve.

They want things to be just like the grocery clerk I started with. You have to take it, because you can’t leave it.

Freedom will always triumph over force. Let’s free up education!