Faithful Observations: Education Spending

By Bob Shillingstad

To quote Peter Brimelow, “There is no particular relationship between spending and educational results. Most education spending is actually on salaries and that’s allocated according to political muscle”.  Idaho is flush with cash this legislative session and power players are ready to grab the money- mainly the teachers’ unions, school boards and administrators.

Here is a statistic that is thrown around a lot and used to shame the voters.  Idaho ranks 48th in per pupil spending barely above Utah.  Now that may be correct, I haven’t all of the facts to check the results, but let’s take this the next step and compare results.  NYC, Washington D.C., Chicago and other urban areas spend insane amounts of money with abysmal results.  Not a fair comparison, but let’s look at Wyoming who spends double Idaho on per pupil  education. How do we compare? Both Idaho and Utah are in the middle of the pack beating Wyoming more often than not.  What will we get for doubling our spending?

We will be hammered with adding early childhood education and fully funding not only kindergartens but also down to four year olds!  Studies have shown that at the end of elementary education you cannot tell who were in school prior to first grade or not.  A very large Dept. of Education study confirmed and concluded that Head Start was largely a waste of money. The next “solution” is smaller class size and again studies have shown that there is no measurable advantage to this spending.  What both of these do accomplish are more dues paying members for the unions and higher taxes.

We have most Idaho districts asking for voter approval of a levy in March and we need to do our homework and decide how to vote.  How have districts handled the emergency declarations during the COVID scare.  We have been lied to all during this last year.  If you are under the age of 24  is nearly impossible to find anyone in the country with complications. A UK study and another from Brown University clearly showed that students do not transmit the virus to teachers and even to parents or grandparents. Sweden never closed schools and we have a lot of data to support schools being open and yet across the country the majority of schools have insane policies. How did your district do?

The Coeur d’Alene district is asking for $40 million over the next two years to fund the district.  This is a district that has reacted as if their hair is on fire during the “pandemic” and can’t decide how to proceed.  Understandably when they opened the doors last fall they realized enrollment down by 8%.  Parents had already voted with their feet. They now are saying that they will go to four days a week instruction……no guarantees if they continue.

The Lakeland School District with Rathdrum and Spirit Lake schools have continued schools as normal all year.  Masks are voluntary. Most charter schools and nearly all private and Christian schools have had traditional instruction all year also.  Surprisingly, there have been no reports of students dying or transported to the hospital from these schools.

When Joe Biden promised to “follow the science” regarding school reopening in the “pandemic era”, we should have realized he was talking about political science rather than good old fashioned science-science.  He is basing his “keep em closed” policy, according to Stilton, on the Teachers Unions’ compelling argument that “actual work is for losers who don’t make massive contributions to Democrats.”  Jen Psaki has now clarified that defines successful “opening” as 50% of schools offering “one day of in-classs teaching a week. Considering that the numbers were already slightly better than that, it’s a low bar that satisfies the donors.

There has been an effort to combine school levy and trustee elections to coincide with either primary or general elections to generate turnout.  In the past the teachers and spouses can decide most of these elections with their vote alone.  It is imperative to have everyone vote!

The real solution is to cut off the funding and convince the legislature to allow the free market to dictate education.  Vouchers, educational savings accounts or a variety of means to allow the dollars to go to the student much like we do for college costs. Choice is the only answer to so many of the issues of education.

The legislative roundtable for Kootenai County was held this past Saturday at The Altar Church and a question was presented to the group about sex education issues in the CDA district and whether a law should be passed requiring parents to “opt-in”  if their child should be included in the indoctrination.  Rep. Vito Barbieri had an amazing answer that brought down the house when he said, “Take them out of the institutions. You are not going to control this bureaucracy, it is taking a billion and a half dollars now and those that are homeschooling we are double paying…….get them out of the system. They are propagandizing….come on….we recognize this!…..The world has gone crazy, nothing makes sense.  Take the kids out.”

You can watch the entire session on You Tube.  Vote March 9th, make your voice heard and let your legislators know that our vote is more important than the unions.