It should be pretty clear now that less money equals shittier schools, but aside from being punished by the government for bad standardized test grades, why would one school get less money than another? Two words: property taxes. Most school budgets are funded by the taxes on the property in the area, which leads to some headachingly obvious problems -- namely, that kids who live in neighborhoods where closets count as extra bedrooms get way worse schools than kids who live in neighborhoods where extra bedrooms count as servant quarters. In some places, like Chicago, inequality is so severe that a school in the wealthy suburbs can spend three times as much per student as one in the inner city. It's like the plot of an '80s movie about a rivalry with the rich kids' summer camp on the other side of the lake, only less wacky and more irreparably devastating.
This kind of survival-of-the-richest might work on Wall Street, but in schools it's as lethal to education as all that asbestos we're still pulling out of the classrooms. It would be great if there were a way to make sure every school received the same amount of money, but surely such a system would be crazy, right? Yeah, crazy like a Canadian!
Pictured: A Canadian, going crazy.
In several Canadian provinces -- the best-performing ones, incidentally -- schools are funded at the province level, which means schools get funded by the relative wealth of a 10th of the country and not just the 10 blocks surrounding the school. While we did hint at the dastardly commie nature of this system, it still doesn't mean that every school receives the same amount of funding. Instead, they take the more classic Marxist approach of "to each according to their needs," using complicated formulas to determine how much money should go to which schools in order to do the greatest good. In other words, they use money as an aid instead of a reward. The American education system operates on the exact opposite principle.
Different countries have different educational needs, of course, and this admittedly might not be a perfect system for the U.S. That said, it has to be better than determining the quality of a child's education based on how big the pools in the neighborhood are.
Also check out 5 Reasons You Hated School (That You Were Right About) and 4 Ways Your Education Was A Conspiracy To Make You Bored.
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