Since February 1, 2016 the Oklahoma State Legislature has been scrambling and continues to scramble to figure out how to work a budget that is in severe crisis due to the current oil economy. This budget crisis seems to be par for the course for every level of government really: state, local, national, it doesn’t matter; everyone is in crisis when it comes to money so I am not picking on Oklahoma. I’m just using my state as a reference point for my topic.
Every time there is a financial woe there are basically two schools of thought. We either need to raise taxes or reduce spending. Or, of course, there is the American way where we do neither and simply go into more debt. Come on now, you do that at your house personally, so let’s not throw stones at our elected officials. We NEED that new car so we just get a loan and figure out how to pay for it, somehow.
Given my conservative bent, however, I lean heavily towards the idea of NOT raising taxes and reducing spending. For that matter, lower taxes and eliminate spending. Why does the government do everything for us? A better question is, “Why do we let them.” Let’s just take education for example. As Americans it is our RIGHT to get a free education. Correct? Unfortunately, that FREE public education costs an average of $10,000 a year per student (national average). What? $10,000 a year!! That is crazy!!!!! Why?
This homeschool momma spends less than $1000 a year for both my children which includes EVERYTHING (memberships to museums and the zoo, supplies, curriculum, music classes, sports clubs, etc.). And there are lots of families that can do it for close to free given the online resources available.
On the flip side of that, I have a dear friend who sends her children to a high performing and well respected private school where the classroom sizes in elementary are an average of 12 students and will never be over 16. The average tuition at this school is even less than what our nation spends on public school students where classroom sizes are constantly growing. In fact, there are rumors that because of the budget cuts in Oklahoma classrooms will grow to as large at 35 students. Holy cow! My hat’s off to the hard working teachers who can pull that off. I do not envy them and truly honor their sacrifice and hard work. I have only two students in my “classroom” and have a hard time keeping up and getting it all done so I can’t imagine 35 or only 20 for that matter. And just in case you think I’m not a professional because I’m just a homeschool mom, I actually am certified to teach.
So what is the answer to our financial crisis in these public schools? While I am not an economist by any stretch of the imagination and this will be way over simplified, but why not just eliminate public schools? Everyone agrees that they are failing, and honestly, nothing we have done to date has helped. We continue to fall behind as a nation. Why not stop paying our hard earned money in taxes that the government then poorly spends to educate us and let the free market take over. Why not give that tax money back to hard working families (I am not talking about vouchers…just stop taxing everyone so much.) and let them choose where to send their kids to school? Instead of paying the government, we can pay the school of our choice?
I know that is over simplified, but honestly, that is me. Life is not complicated. It’s pretty simple. I don’t want the government to do for me what I can and am supposed to do for myself. And sure, I understand that this doesn’t work for everyone who is without work, chooses not to work, or doesn’t pay taxes because of legal status, but I can’t fix everything in one article you know.