I was surprised to read that out of the three major funding sources; state, local, and federal, that, in Texas, federal funding is the lowest contributor to the education system.
They wrote the federal government primarily targets funding for specific groups such as Special Education and low income students. The funds are generally supposed to be used to supplement programs not "replace or supplant state dollars"(TX, 2012).
This is very disconcerting.
Why would the United States Constitution promise Americans a free and appropriate education, commit schooling as the foundation to what makes this country so great, then neglect to fund it? I know in the golden era women used to teach at (one room)school houses for little or nothing, but the cost of living has increased and (generally) men are no longer taking care of women like they traditionally did back then, so a decent salary is a must. There is money to fund finding life on Mars, but no money to fund the education of American students? That is ridiculous.
It was also startling to read that Section 21.402D entitled teachers, librarians, nurses, school language pathologists to maintain at least their year 2010-2011 salary levels; no pay cuts were allowed, but in 2011 with Senate Bill 8, this mandate was repealed. An article from my current residence, Georgia (a state I will be leaving soon!) warns;
"For local school officials, this a financial storm brewing:
--Less state money coming in.
--Less local money coming in
--More students coming in.
--Higher costs for fuel, insurance and other items"(Buffington, 2012).
More and more it looks like closing public schools and only offering homeschooling/online learning are the only affordable options, not because it is better for the students, but because busing kids to school (gas cost) and paying operating bills for the campus is getting to be too much for the state and local government to bare. For some reason, the federal government is not funding education at a level it needs to be funded. Yes, the nation is in debt, but education should not be on the table as an area where the fat needs to be cut. What would our country be without public education? I am scared, afraid of what the future holds for public education in the United States of America. This is a crisis.
Buffington, Mike, (2012). Perfect storm brewing in Georgia school finance in Editorial Archives, Top Stories & Breaking News Friday, May 25. 2012