Sunday, May 6, 2012

Part 3. "Follow the Money"

Taken From
Does money seem to talk? The answer most would say is yes. To have money within our society seems to bring a type of stigma along with it that others look up to. For some reason money goes hand in hand with social status, and if you are rich you must go to a prestigious school. Why though is ones personal economic status linked with a public schools economic status, or the fact that it may be any different form a school in the mid-west?
The answer to that question is the way in which schools are funded within the United States. Most schools receive funds based upon the property tax associated with the district it resides in. This is because of the type of government that we have. It is run across three levels; the local, state, and federal governments. The two major entities responsible for the providing the school system with any type of funding are the local and state governments. The federal government is only responsible for under ten percent of all money given to a school. Now the system of getting money for schools dates back to the colonial era, and is quite out dated in today's modern society. The unequal division of money to students, with some getting almost twice that of students in other districts caught the attention of many people. Some court cases were even brought about trying to divide money across districts. This though soon failed because tax payers were afraid of increased taxes. This though is not the only way in which schools are funded. The state government makes their money in a multitude of ways. Mostly through taxes on certain goods, like regular sales items, and excise taxes on tobacco, gasoline, and liquor.
The reason the federal government is not fully responsible for school funds is because education was ruled not a "fundamental right" and is in turn left up to the states to run. The federal government has though found a way in which they can be influential. This is through categorical and block grants grants. Categorical grants were issued to specialized programs within schools, and block grants were just large sums of money given to states with which they could spend as they saw fit. DOE grants, or PEP grants are issued to schools by the states department of education in this sort of manner if the school is qualified. This qualification is if the school falls below a certain test percentage over a course of a few years. This type of funding I have seen first hand helps to drastically change the demeanor of a school for the positive. Now an issue arises when this type of funding is unavailable; where to find money? Some schools turn to corporate sponsors, like large pop, or candy companies. This brings the money that is needed, but it has been found to hinder students development. The messages that are being sent to students goes against any type of nutritional idea that is being taught, and it also influences how students purchase their food items. It causes them to not be careful consumers.
Money will always be an issue within schooling if this type of decentralized funding is allowed to stay in place. Sometimes I feel as though we as a nation should not be so head strong and look to others as role models, or at least for some type of influence. I know many would disagree to this, but I feel as though it would indeed be to some benefit in the long run.

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