When It Comes To Schools, Money DOES Matter -- Even in Michigan
$14 BILLION dollars!
I've become something of a connoisseur of a particular genre of opinion writing: the "We can't just throw money at schools!" op-ed. These pieces have a style all their own: they use the same talking points, the same context-free data points, and the same appeals to the same authorities.
The goal of these pieces isn't to give a nuanced view of the role of funding in public education. Instead, they exist to place just enough doubt into the reader's mind about the need for equitable and adequate school funding so the status quo of public schools withmushrooms growing on the walls seems almost acceptable -- or, at least, better than the alternative.
Here's a fine example of the style -- Ingrid Jacques in the Detroit News:
Jacques undoubtedly knows that calling for increased funding for any government function these days is hardly "easy." Decades of conservative rhetoric (transmitted through outlets like Jacques' editorial page) have made it nearly impossible for even the most liberal politicians to advocate for significant tax hikes to support public programs, especially education.Michigan is at an education crossroads. As its public schools continue to plummet in performance, state leaders can either demand proven accountability measures and smart investments — or they can take the easy way out.In this case the easy way is to call for more money. And that’s exactly what school unions and administrators are doing. The State Board of Education is also singing that tune.
The "easy" way to justify the horrible conditions found in Detroit's (and Michigan's other disadvantaged cities') schools is to pretend that all sorts of vaguely described Jersey Jazzman: When It Comes To Schools, Money DOES Matter -- Even in Michigan: