A War for Education
Those of us who write about education often play the what if game, trying to envision one cool ideal or another, and it's usually a policy tweak here or a structure kluge there.
But you know what would be cool? If we treated public education like war.
When we decide as a country that war is necessary, we do not screw around. We decided to fight World War II and in six years we spent almost 300 billion dollars-- and that's 300 1940 dollars. We spent over a full whopping third of our GDP. We scraped together every cent from under every couch cushion in the country.
And even when we aren't exactly all on the same page, our leaders find a way-- even an unscrupulous underhanded way. We were so sneak about Vietnam that without even declaring a war, we managed to spend 100-200 billion (depending on who's counting) over eleven years. That's approaching one trillion 2016 dollars.
And back then we were spendthrifts, drunk on cheap oil and prosperity that seemed indefatigable. Fast forward to, say, Iraq. A more frugal nation with a bigger political concern about things lie budget deficits was sold a $100 billion, two year war. We got eight years at maybe over a trillion. Maybe a lot more.
Here are some things that almost nobody said about these wars:
We just can't afford it. Nobody much suggested that wars should be fought with fewer troops or resources because it was just too pricey. Nobody said that we should pull out because we had CURMUDGUCATION: A War for Education: