The scene played out on the steps of the Wisconsin capitol yesterday are being replayed in capitols and city halls around the nation, with protests against budget cuts in education and essential services people expect from government.
It is a cornerstone of President Obama’s campaign and his presidency, and was also a principle cause for his predecessor, but today, education is becoming a costly budget killing problem for 40 of the 50 states. As governors and state legislators deal with this rising cost they are forced to curtail not luxuries, but essentials that provide basics for our children.
With all the funding provided to the economy, our states and municipalities are compelled to cut back, selling off schools, closing entire classrooms, and laying off teachers, increasing the unemployment statistics all that stimulus was intended to resolve. Ironically, Wall Street may be on the rise, but American education and our employment rolls are heading downhill.
A quality education is essential for the success of the nation, so our present crisis in this area will have long lasting impact on our future.
While it is terrible that our education system is being curtailed, one must also remember that we’re using a different method of education today that is far easier on children, but less effective, irrespective of the reports from teachers, boards of education and even the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare.
Our children cannot read, cannot write nor spell, can’t do their basic arithmetic in early education, and those skills (or lack thereof) carry forth into their college years.
“My elementary school had 51 children in my kindergarten class, and by 8th grade, there were 54 of us. Our teachers were older women and short, elderly nuns. But out of our class, we have produced 4 economists, 12 doctorates, seven medical doctors, three bankers, an award winning zoologist and assorted other professionals. Two of them died as heroes in the World Trade Center, serving in the NYFD…” said Dr. Angelone, our founder and chief economist, “but we were very well educated, can write, spell and do our math.”
Soon, all the economic stimulus and Quantitative Easing II (QEII) will end, at which point we’ll know how well or bad the nation’s economy really is, and our prediction is that it will be a huge blow to this nation. We are paying the price for the Iraq war, deregulation and the inability to properly regulate those industries where regulation was still in force. As a result of our folly, we now reap the harvest of discontent, dissatisfaction, massive debt and a diminishing society.
This Institute has long held that we are not in a recession, but in a true economic depression. The effects of stimulus and TARP were to stabilize, but the placement of such funds in the economy did not cover every aspect of finance, such as the reduced revenues to municipalities and states from high unemployment and loss of businesses. The tax rolls have dropped, and as a result, cuts must be made. Education, unfortunately, must bear its share of the burden, and that’s clearly, the deepest cut of all, for it will produce a new generation of less than well educated Americans.
That means less world competitiveness; less innovation; fewer creative minds and greater political instability. This is not a happy time for America, and things are more likely to become worse before they improve.