-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger
America likes to think of itself as a country where one’s abilities determine one’s fortune. America was founded by those fleeing European countries where upward mobility was restricted by the state.
The opportunity to obtain a good education is essential to a society that values meritocracy.
James Bryant Conant, president of Harvard University from 1933 to 1953, recognized that students should be chosen based on their intellectual abilities rather than their family connections. A meritocracy, based on equal opportunity, is the cornerstone of a free society. Without free public education, there is no mechanism allowing the talented to display their abilities.
Educational opportunity should be the great equalizer in our society, it should not be reserved only for those who can afford the costs of private schools. Yet numerous states are using tax payer funds to subsidize the rich who treat their kids to an education at a private school. These states are cutting funding to public education, and using those same funds to provide
vouchers subsides to those who least need them.
Yet the rich are not content with being able to afford the costs of private education, they expect tax payers to subsidize their expenditures. In Colorado, the board of the Douglas County School District voted for a pilot program that provides parents $4,500 for each student. That falls significantly short of the tuition that ranges from $7,000 to $14,000.
In states across the nation, lawmakers slash public school spending while funding voucher programs. In New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) slashed $820 million in school spending last year while financing a school voucher expansion which “would cost about $825 million.” In Pennsylvania, Gov. Tom Corbett (R) proposed nearly a billion dollars in education cuts, while pushing a voucher plan that “is estimated to cost taxpayers $730 million in the first four years.”
When Republicans talk about cutting spending, they are excluding the rich from those cuts.