While the Obama Administration and Congress continue to spend hundreds of billions of dollars in Iraq and Afghanistan, legislators continue to dismantle our public services, parks, and educational programs due to budget shortfalls. In Utah, state Sen. Chris Buttars proposed one way of dealing with a budget shortfall: just eliminate the 12th grade. It is not clear why legislators have decided to keep public education at all. If we simply eliminate education, we can send children directly into military training or to work for foreign companies from countries that are expanding their research and educational budgets at the same rate of our decline.
Buttars suggested that 12th grade is really not that important and most kids are ready for the workforce or life at 17. The move would save $60 million out of the $700 million shortfall in the state’s budget.
Buttars appears to be backing off a bit under criticism from educators, but the proposal captures our self-destructive path. While nations like China are massively increasing research and educational budgets (here), we are selling off public lands and buildings, (here), while pouring money into Iraq and Afghanistan. What do we think is going to happen? Because few of our politicians have the courage to demand a withdrawal from these countries, we are raising our debt limits, destroying our public programs, and undercutting our ability to compete in the future marketplace.
Buttars is a Republican on the Education Subcommittee of the powerful Appropriations Committee in the Senate. He represents a district in Salt Lake and lists his occupation as retired. He holds Bachelor of Science, Marketing/Economics, Utah State University.
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