Monday, March 12, 2012

Pennsylvania Cuts to Education -- Proposing New Ideas

Pennsylvania, like a lot of states, are facing huge budget deficits like the federal government, and they are forced to make some pretty tough decisions. Unfortunately, those decisions often lead to cuts to education.

Though this is a noble effort, it doesn't seem like raising taxes is on the table at all. Arizona passed prop 100 several years ago which has provided millions of dollars of funding to schools. This program is flawed because it doesn't indicate how much money goes to education from this fund, and realistically, a lot of the money that was expected to go to education went to other programs. But this is certainly a step in the right direction.

Though it is not societies job to ensure that each and every person gets a good education, it is the job of a democratic society to ensure that access to education is available. More so, it just makes good economic sense. For every dollar you put into education, eight dollars of economic growth are produced. College graduates fuel the workforce and are the leading cause for our massive success. And it has been proven that countries that focus on areas like education and research and development are overwhelmingly more successful than those that don't. Countries like China and India are experiencing huge economic growth, which easily stumps ours, because higher education is so affordable in those countries, and it is truly paying of for their economy.

"Where would you have me take it from? Would you have me take it from social services? Would you have me take it from law enforcement or from the functions of government?"

-Corbett (R) Pennsylvania

Corbett raises an excellent point. There is just not enough money to fund all of the programs we have. We need to cut back unimportant programs and cut the fat (reduce money leakages) in other existing programs. However, this only solves 1% of the problem, if that. Most of the cutting that can be done has already been done, and this puts legislatures in a very tough position. That is why the people need to be supportive of other alternatives, mainly temporary tax increases. It is difficult to say this because of the fact that the whole country is facing tough times, but those tax increases don't have to be all encompassing either!

For instance, we could put an increase on taxes for alcohol and earmark that money to go towards education. Or we could increase taxes on cigarettes, or put an additional fee for certain tickets or something of this effect for people who break the law earmarked to go towards education. The government could even start a fund and simply just ask for people to make donations to education such as putting such a request on tax return forms. There are SO many options for getting more revenues to schools that don't impose too much burden on society at large.

And what's more important, as executive vice president for Pew, Paul Taylor said, "'What the public understands is that the only thing more expensive than going to college these days is not going to college,"

Education is our future. It is our way to a stronger economy. It's our way out of debt. It's our way to grow our influence in the world (which has been diminishing all throughout my lifetime), and it's a way to strengthen other social programs as well. We have to invest in our education. We have to invest in our future.

--Koi

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/12073/1216289-454.stm#ixzz1oydCf87b