The following is from the George Will column in the June 7, 2010, edition of The Washington Post. Expertise for this column was provided by James Guthrie, a professor in the Department of Education Policy & Leadership in SMU's Simmons School of Education & Human Development and a senior fellow at the George W. Bush Institute, where he also serves as its director of education policy studies.
By George F. Will
Jay Gould, a 19th-century railroad tycoon and unrepentant rapscallion, said he was a Democrat when in Democratic districts and a Republican when in Republican districts but that he was always for the Erie Railroad. Gould, emblematic of Gilded Age rapaciousness, was called a robber baron. What should we call people whose defining constancy is that they are always for unionized public employees? Call them Democrats.
This week, when Congress returns from its Memorial Day recess, many Democrats, having gone an eternity -- more than a week -- without spending billions of their constituents' money, will try to make up for lost time by sending another $23 billion to states to prevent teachers from being laid off. . .
Although the public education lobby's cry of "Parsimony!" is not much of an argument, it is persuasive to Democrats comfortable in a relationship of co-dependency with teachers unions. But before Congress is stampeded into spending yet more (borrowed) billions, it should read "The Phony Funding Crisis" in the journal Education Next by James W. Guthrie, a professor at Southern Methodist University, and Arthur Peng, a research associate. They say:
"For the past hundred years, with rare and short exceptions and after controlling for inflation, public schools have had both more money and more employees per student in each succeeding year." Indeed, public schools have been so insulated from economic downturns that "there have been 11 periods during which GDP declined but mean total real per-pupil revenues still increased."
Read the full column.
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