Just who controls the educational system in our country?
Most people would answer that we taxpayers do. But do we really?
Do you know anyone who thinks a youngster who brings a Lego gun the size of a quarter to school should be suspended? Or how about a day called ''gender bender'' when 5- and 6-year-old children are instructed to come to school dressed as the opposite sex? How about teaching children about Islam, but prohibiting the mention of Christianity?
I could go on to cite one crazy idea after another that seems to permeate our school systems. One has to ask, is our educational system guided by the views and values of mainstream Americans or are our schools controlled by an out-of-touch elite?
Consider the costs involved in education. According to National Center of Education Statistics, the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the U.S. Census Bureau, we spend approximately $600 billion each year, or about $4,500 for each working American.
Are we getting our money's worth? Can we provide education more cheaply?
Recently officials at one of our local school systems notified its citizens that they would be asked to approve a levy this November due to a $2 million loss of revenue. Last year the district spent $28 million to educate its 2,885 students, which comes to around $10,100 per student. The $2 million reduction it's anticipating means it would have to make do with $9,200 per student.
The article reporting the levy request claimed that the district reduced staffing in the last four years to adjust to the anticipated revenue loss; it eliminated 36 positions. What does that tell us? If you were in charge, would your district employ 36 more people than you needed in the first place? If not, would you eliminate 36 needed people, shortchanging the kids? It has to be one or the other, right?
We must face the fact that the education system in our country is largely out of control, or at least it is controlled by a small group of elitists. If we controlled the system, common sense would dictate that the children themselves would be the top priority, followed up by the people footing the bills. If that was the case you wouldn't want to shortchange the kids by reducing the staff, and you wouldn't want to make the taxpayers pay more when the country is in the grip of a major recession.
Common sense would then force you to find a way to educate the kids with $9,200 rather than $10,100. A 9 percent cut in employee compensation would make up the difference.
Did the administrators try to do that? Did they go to the employees and their unions, who proclaim that nothing is more valued than ''solidarity,'' and tell them that in order to save 36 jobs they would all have to take a 9 percent reduction in compensation? In a sane world, given the facts, that is what would be done.
If you're lucky enough to have a job today, you have seen your wages stagnate and chances are you took a cut. If you even have health care insurance you've seen its cost skyrocket; you're struggling to keep afloat.
What course would you take if you controlled our system of education? Would you raise your taxes? Would you put the burden on the kids by reducing staff? Would you make students pay for extra curricular activities, or maybe cut busing? Or would you look at the district's employees and conclude that they have been largely untouched by the country's economic hardships and reduce their compensation to make up for the shortfall?
But you aren't in control, and those who are will give you this choice: pay more or shortchange the kids.
In a free and sane world the levy would offer three choices. A. Place the hardship on the students by a ''No'' vote; B. Place the hardship on yourself by a ''Yes'' vote; and C. Cut the employee compensation by a ''Neither'' vote.
In a free society, you are free to search for less expensive providers for everything you spend your dollars on; that creates competition and ensures you get the best for less. Why should education be any different?
Moadus is a Girard resident. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.