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|Los Angeles County, CA||March 2, 2004 Election|
Karl Marx, Public Schools and the Profligacy of Government Education
By Leland Thomas FaegreCandidate for United States Representative; District 32; Libertarian Party
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Back in 1983, members of the Reagan-era National Commission on Excellence in Education wrote that, "if an unfriendly foreign power had attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational performance that exists today, we might have viewed it as an act of war."Karl Marx, Public Schools and the Profligacy of Government Education
"Free education for all children in public schools."
---Communist Manifesto, published 1848
Establishment bellows to the contrary, as one can see by the aforementioned quotation, government education is not uniquely American. More importantly, it is the most historically efficient method of indoctrinating children; and the educational method of choice for despots Hitler, Stalin and Mao who, like contemporary educrats, were not school choice advocates.
Back in 1983, members of the Reagan-era National Commission on Excellence in Education wrote that, "if an unfriendly foreign power had attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational performance that exists today, we might have viewed it as an act of war."
Little has changed since the commission's report, A Nation at Risk, was released. Despite a decade and a half of rhetoric about basics, merit pay and standards, and a one-third increase in the amount spent on each pupil in public school, it is by now familiar news that American high school seniors rank 19th out of 21 countries in math and science scores. Perhaps most alarming, Professor John Lott of the University of Pennsylvania has presented evidence that across national boundaries, increased expenditures on public schooling "are positively correlated with levels of totalitarianism."
Here in West Covina, a $40 million General Obligation Bond known as Measure G will raise property taxes ostensibly to renovate bathrooms, upgrade classroom interiors and upgrade campus exteriors. Money is fungible -- money not spent in one place can be spent elsewhere. We already pay enough for all the items in the bond proposal. The problem is, the money is spent primarily on salaries for the education establishment that far exceed what the marketplace would tolerate. Approximately $.50 cents of every education dollar actually gets into the classroom.
This bond measure is another attempt to free up EXISTING funds so that they can be spent on salaries, perks, bureaucracy, busing, Goals 2000, "prevailing wage" high construction costs and other unnecessary or even harmful expenditures. Spending on K-12 education is up over 35% in four years, with per student spending up almost 23%, twice the rate of inflation! And the figure DOES NOT include private donations.
Total public funding for education exceeds average private school costs by over 50%. If we ever get serious about improving education and dramatically cutting the cost, we'll need to adopt a voucher program, as a first step towards private choice in education.
Here's what the profligate education establishment doesn't want you to know. Government education is AWASH in money! The latest state budget included over a $3 BILLION increase for K-12 education, one of several major increases planned. When lottery money is included, next year we'll spend over $7,500 per student, far more than most private schools cost. In addition, a gigantic $9.2 BILLION state education bond measure was passed in the last general election. Revenue is POURING into education.
And now with Proposition 26, the education monopolists seek to eliminate the 2/3-majority requirement for bond approval. For over a century, the 2/3-majority requirement for passing bonds has been in effect, and Californians have managed to house and educate their students at relatively high levels.
By making it so easy to ramrod a bond through, taxes for property owners would soar. The bond proponents are callously silent regarding the effect that increased property taxes could have on struggling families, the elderly on fixed incomes and those families who are paying twice for education because they have already given up on the education monopolists. Is it at all fair, that someone without children pay for the children of someone else?
It is entirely appropriate to place a 2/3-majority requirement to levy a 25-year tax on property. GOVERNMENT BONDS, unlike private bonds, cost far in excess of what is being stated on the ballot. In the private sector, FULL DISCLOSURE of total costs over the life of the bond is required by law.
But in the public sector, politicians lie, and the media ignores the full cost of proposed bond issues, including the fact that when bonds are used for construction of public facilities, the further corruption of unionized prevailing wage enters into the inefficiency (though not the bond principal) of a government approach to solving a public need.
Perhaps most importantly, the government education bureaucracy is prohibited from appropriating taxpayer money for the advocacy of such a bond. California Education Code Sections 7053, 7054, 7056 18521, Penal Code Section 424 and Government Code Section 8314, all prohibit government advocacy in political campaigns punishable by incarceration in State Prison.
We Libertarians have successfully sued in the past to stop some of the illegal expenditures in other districts, but hundreds of thousands of dollars have been wrongfully spent, including advocacy letters mailed en masse from superintendents and elementary school principals. We should not reward such calculated wrongdoing with a tax increase. What kind of message do we send our children when we reward criminal behavior?
At the California Teachers Association's Equity and Human Rights Conference in 1998, Lee Berg, of the National Education Association's, Center for the Revitalization of Urban Education, discussed the internal campaign to swing teacher union members away from support of Proposition 226 (which would have required unions to annually obtain their members' permission to use any portion of their dues for political purposes). Mr. Berg warned the audience that if 226 should pass, school vouchers and tuition tax credits would soon follow. He proceeded to alert everyone to the dangers of vouchers. "When education is not public," he said, "we no longer have the ability to control what is taught and what is not taught."
Exactly right Mr. Berg. We want to end the State Monopoly on Education.
Leland Faegre, Libertarian Candidate, 29th State Senate District
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