Congress may say education is vital to the nation’s future, but lately, it has failed to put money where its mouth is.
Americans took notice when Thomas Friedman pointed out that the “flat world” we live in is going to make it harder for them to compete on a global scale. President George Bush is so worried about competitiveness that he made it the star of his education budget this year. But, despite this lip service to the importance of education, despite the mounting costs of NCLB, growing enrollments, inflation, and the need to revisit not only how we educate our students for the global marketplace, but also the way we measure those efforts–despite all of these things, the House of Representatives voted to cut education next year.
The cut is small–0.7 percent–but at a time when we ought to be investing more in education instead of less, disappointing doesn’t begin to cover it. There is no shortage of excuses–members of Congress argue that that districts and schools don’t make good use of the money, that funding does not solve education’s problems, and that national security and emergencies like Hurricane recovery mean less money to go around. But, to get to the heart of the matter, a savvy voter has to see past the excuses and realize that Congress has made a calculated political decision.
Congress believes it can under fund education without having to pay the price at the polls. This election year, the polls weigh heavily on the minds of the men and women who set the nation’s laws from Washington, D.C. The Labor-HHS-Education bill they agreed to shows that members of the House do not believe education stands between them and another term in office.
ASCD is working to change that through Educator Advocates. We know that Congress will only do what’s right for education when their constituents show them its importance, so we are making it easier for educators and others who support education to show Congress just how important it is. Please join us by contacting Congress and urging them to fund our future!