The rest of the story . . .
We all flinched at the headline on the lower left corner of the front Page of a recent Salt Lake Tribune issue which read: Utah Last Again in Per-Student Spending, telling the world, or at least implying, how little we really care about our children’s education..
But although we cringe to see such words, we also know that they’re not exaggerated. They are proclaiming the facts, for Utah is and always has been among the lowest, of all 48 and then 50 States. in how much we pay yearly, for each of our children’s education..
The point, however, is that we most certainly care deeply about our children and the above headline , is only the tail end of the story, for all that headline told is the Result, while the Cause of why we have such low funding, per student, is seldom, if ever, mentioned.
There’s so much more behind the words in that headline, and it takes a brave (gutsy?) (stupid?) soul to dare tell of the whole thing. And so, Ethel being Ethel, I speak out.
We all know the reason for the problem, seldom spoken about, for the answer comes in how many students that money must be divided amongst. And here is where the half-told and twisted news stories come about.
In any manner of reckoning, Utah is not a Poverty State, and yet those headlines make it seem as if we are poverty stricken, or worse still, and more untrue, is the implication that we care little about our children’s education.
The truth, of course, is that we are far from being a Poverty State, and we care deeply about our kids, and the solution is both simple and obvious. You can take $100.00 and divide it among ten students and each one gets Ten Dollars. Divide that same $100.00 among twenty students and each gets $5.00. But divide it among 50 students and each poor kid gets only $2.00 each.
We happen to be among the States with the most crowded classrooms, and so our tax dollars must be divided among the greatest number of students. Ergo, we’re among the highest in percentage of money received for education, but among the lowest in how much can be allotted to each child.
A few years ago a national weekly, (Newsweek?) pointed out the above truths, in a two-page spread, by naming every one of our 50 States, and showing the rate taxation for schools; and again, State by State, the number of students that money must be divided amongst.
It shocked me with its matter-of-fact telling of the situation for ALL States, and I vividly remember how clearly it showed, for uninformed ones, such as Ethel, why the rate of taxation for education ranked Utah among the highest, yet how we ended up among the lowest in what each student was ‘given’.
I am, I suppose, a slow learner, but I doubt if much has changed since I saw that graph which outlined the ‘why’ of where every State ended up, and Utah was not the only State to shiver over where ‘they’ each ended up. But for us, it showed that Utah is high in rate of taxes, but low only when that money gets down to each child.
And now when I read of how little Utahns spend per student, I no longer flinch, but become angry. The news ‘stories’ are giving people only half the story, and should either spell out all the details of the difference, or leave the story alone. We’re often given the ‘Result‘. but the ‘Why’ is slurred over, or seldom or ever mentioned.
This dichotomy, I’m sure, is one of the biggest causes of the escalating number of requests for Home Teaching and Private Schools. They can’t get away from being taxed, but they can control the kind of education their kids get.
And that’s not bad. We should look at the whole story, and then, perhaps begin helping the Private Schools, too.