Peder D4

Discussion of politics and other odious things

Monday, October 29, 2012

Educational Spending

I found this interesting.  The United States spends more on education than the rest of the G8 countries combined:

Canada 65.4 (billion)
France 121
Germany 129.8
Italy 82 (est)
Japan 160.5
Russia 86.9
United Kingdom 122.6

Total 768.20 billion

United States 809.60 billion

If this was a comparison of military might, the obvious inference would be that we severely overspend.  But because this is about education, something that average US citizens have direct experience with, that's almost certainly not the first thought that comes to mind.  We more quickly understand that we judge education spending on things like 1) what is the goal of education?, 2) is that goal being reached with current funding?, and 3) resources are scarce, are we spending it wisely in this area?
This is exactly the approach that we should use when it comes to military spending as well.  Any static comparison of total budgets misses several of these points. 


Blogger Steve said...

Normally, I agree with everything you say. Its like reading the Economist, that way I don't I to think for myself...

However, I disagree that people in generael actually judge education based on goals, outcomes, and resources. Instead it seems more like buying a house, people check their judgement at the door and fall back on emotions with education. Whether it is a younger voter in or just past their formal education experience who thinks all education spending is good spending, or an empty nester voter who can't imagine raising funds to pay for a new building because the one they went to school in is still standing and worked for them, people seem to check judgement and rationale at the door and use only their emotions when they talk about education spending. And since there is not a widely visible price tag, just like with healthcare costs, education costs just keep going up because people can't make rational decisions on what is the appropriate price to educate and student and how best should the money be used to do it.

Too bad it is the same with miliary spending. I agree that few are having the conversation about what are the goals, how much will they cost, and resources are scarce so where do we focus our efforts. Instead, it becomes the classic guns vs. butter.

4:32 AM  
Blogger -Peder said...

Steve, you're probably dead on with your comments on both the more and less funding crowds. Which is a shame!

5:45 AM  

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