What’s wrong with school funding?
Dear Future President,
As president, you can fix many influences on the decisions the government makes as a whole. Because you have the power to raise awareness and make situations known, there is an issue I would like to address. Even if you can’t change this, it would be great to make this issue known for the benefits of your students. One issue I think most students can relate to is the issues with school funding. The issues include where the money comes from, what the money is used for, and how it’s distributed in different areas. School funding affects student’s every day. I understand that the government thinks they know what is best for schools and the students, but shouldn’t students have a say in what they think their school funding should be spent on. Where the funds are distributed influences the education of the students and their security about their school. So, where does this all start?
From 2007, schools are funded through taxes and a small amount of federal income, so for the money they get, they don’t spend it fairly. One thing we should consider is how to manage where the money goes. According to PBS in Finance: How Do We Fund Our Schools? , “the U.S government contributes about 10 cents to every dollar spent on k-12 education less than the majority of countries in the world”. So not only does the federal government contribute very little to schooling, they pay less for it than any other country, which shows how this issue can be fixed if the government was more open to contributing. This has two sides showing how little the government cares for our education, or how different our economy has changed over the years. Aside from the federal government, based on PBS’s work in Finance: How Do We Fund Our Schools? , “most of the money for public elementary and secondary school districts comes from state and local governments. In most states, its sales and income taxes pay for the districts”. Local level funds usually come from property taxes which are set by the school board, local officials, or citizens to fund neighborhood public schools. Depending on the wealth of a community, money is distributed unevenly. Richer communities would have a greater supply of money which would allow local schools to be highly funded for advanced education or supplies. Lower income communities would have a lower supply of money, which impacts where they can spend their money. So there is inequity of funding based on the economic status of an area and that’s where the problem with funding is.
I personally have seen experience with this situation. When my mom files her taxes and gets very little to nothing back, she doesn’t have the money to balance her other bills out. It isn’t easy on my mom if she struggles with income and then has to deal with expenses for school. All over America, families struggle with income, which causes students to be restricted of going on school field trips, joining sports, getting books, and paying for extracurricular activities. If schools were evenly funded, it would put less stress on parents to have to pay for school expenses because the school would be able to cover it. This is why I believe schools should change their funding, so situations like these can be avoided and more families are supported in their child’s school needs.
So where does this money go? Depending on the community’s wealth, schools may spend money on technical buildings and improved equipment. Schools that lack money may not have high tech buildings and equipment which may affect the students’ learning because some students learn best electronically. Another thing schools spend most of their money for is teachers and staff. Higher paid teachers go to more advanced schools which can be good and bad. Students want better teaching so they have a better understanding of their learning. The negative is most of the funding gets spent on teachers, so where is the funding coming from for extracurricular and optional activities? In fact, as shown in the Intercultural Development Research Association’s How Schools Are Funded, most of federal funds go to free and reduced lunches, technology, bilingual education, and special education. Although I do agree students whose parents can’t afford to buy their kids’ lunches should get free and reduced lunch and there should be special education, I think money could be spent elsewhere instead of bilingual education. I think basic education is more important than speaking another language and if schools were more advanced, I think that would improve education.
However, imagine a school being more than the math, reading, and writing we are required to know. Think about how students would feel if activities in their benefit were funded. If sports were highly funded at schools, kids would be less prone to being out on the streets and it can make them focus more on getting school work done after school. Personally, sports help me keep a regular schedule. Every day I go to school, go to practice afterwards, and that leaves me with time to eat and do homework. Another thing I think could be funded is resources for better learning. If teachers are paid, they may teach better, but I think better resources would help kids get a more advanced education. For example, personal computers with Microsoft, or learning modules could help students understand what they are learning more clearly. Improving the actual school can make students have more pride in their school because they can feel like they are actually a part of the school instead of just going to the school. It also shows that their community and country wants to invest in the people instead of basing all economy on politics. I think it’s best to put their beliefs first when it comes to funding schools. To change funding and make it more of an evenly distributed system, you could address the idea to congress about having all schools federally funded instead of schools solely depending on taxes. Because it’s up to you to make the big decision on how schools get funded and where the money goes, I ask you, future President, to survey students to see where their interests are at. Help our schools become a better environment for the students.