Understanding the Adults' Insatiable Thirst for School Spending

Kyle Olson

4/13/2011 12:01:00 AM - Kyle Olson

We continue to hear from teachers unions and the rest of the education establishment that if public schools aren’t up to par, it’s because they’re “underfunded.”

That’s natural response from the adults – 80% of every education dollar goes to benefit them, so of course they would be fighting for more spending.

As we’ve seen in Madison, Trenton, Columbus and Lansing, the unions are making good use of their First Amendment rights “to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

But the unions have no right to conscript students to help fight their battles.

In Wisconsin, the union was exposed for busing kids to the Capitol protest without having the faintest idea of why they were there. One student interviewed on camera couldn’t even name the governor – he called him “some guy.” How’s that for government-school civics?

Now, the geniuses of Michigan Big Education aren’t even hiding their idea to use kids for their protests. As a “revenue enhancement” is to a “tax increase,” Grand Rapids teachers union president Paul Helder is calling for a day off from school so kids can take “educational civics field trips to Lansing to teach our students about the importance of having a voice in government." You must listen to the audio clip to fully appreciate his arrogance and gasbaggery.

The union’s idea of “a voice” in government consists of shouting out well-phrased slogans at the Capitol dome and carrying signs comparing the governor to Hitler and Mussolini.

But they already have some politicians on their side.

FoxNews.com reports that President Obama’s 2012 budget increases federal funding of education by an astounding 21%. Talk about good money chasing after bad. What will it be used for? Most likely, keeping the teachers’ cushy health care plans and pensions whole. After all, 80% of the spending ends up in the adults’ pockets.

For example, Michigan school districts are now currently paying a staggering 24% of their payroll towards employee retirement. Does that improve student learning?

The reality is public schools – like the rest of government – are not underfunded. Their priorities are screwed up. And they want taxpayers to bail them out.

But they, unlike the federal government, must live within their means. So they should start now. And while they’re at it, they should make every effort to see to it that students are not used as pawns in the unions’ political game of protecting the interests of adults.