Federal money shouldn’t be thrown at an already well-funded education

Idiocy once again reared its ugly head when an article in the Skiff came out saying that Gov. Rick Perry not accepting money for schools was going to hurt public schools.

The article was even titled “Refusal of federal money for education affects Texas schoolchildren.” Oh, no! Not the children!
The truth is that schools have plenty of money. Back in 2006, reporter John Stossel calculated, using Department of Education numbers, that spending for grades kindergarten through 12th was about $10,000 per student. That’s $250,000 for a classroom of 25 kids. Now you may be asking yourself, where is all that money going?

Mostly, it’s going to administrators and red tape. Back in 2007, the superintendent of my hometown district, Houston Independent School District, made $442,556 and was the highest paid government employee in the city of Houston, according to The Houston Chronicle. Administrators were also treated to a brand new building. What has all that spending done for education? Just this year, more than 400 teachers in the Houston school district have performed so poorly that their students have actually lost ground from where they were before, according to an article in The Houston Chronicle citing Houston ISD.

In 1985, a Kansas City judge ruled that schools were too segregated and ordered that the state and district spend $2 billion over the next 12 years to help improve facilities and test scores. The schools looked nice, had state-of-the-art facilities and even brought some children to schools in taxis.

The result, however, was less encouraging. Test scores did not rise and there was even more segregation then before, according to the Cato Institute, a nonprofit public policy research foundation headquartered in Washington, D.C.

Many school districts cannot even fire bad teachers because of union rules. There was a case in New York where a teacher sent a sexual e-mail to a 16-year-old student and even admitted he did it. However, it took six years and much litigation to finally fire him. During this time, he was also paid, according to a commentary on political Web site RealClearPolitics.com.

The truth is the solution is less government intrusion in education and more choice for parents. After Katrina, New Orleans was desperate to start a new school system and simply gave money to charter schools, schools that have more leeway with government rules. The result? Many parents are now more satisfied with their children’s school than they were before the hurricane.

Yet we are constantly told this lie that schools need more money, that teachers are not paid well enough and that a child’s education is the responsibility of the government. It’s time to look at the facts and take the power of our children’s education out of government hands and put it back into their parents’. Throwing money at the problem has not worked and never will. Only when government gets out of the way will this dangerous problem be solved.

Rick Perry denied the federal money because he said it came with too many strings attached. I agree with him, but I hope he goes on to improve Texas schools with voucher systems and enacting programs to free schools of red tape and bureaucracy.

Michael Lauck is a sophomore broadcast journalism and economics major from Houston.