Miller proposes that Obama and the Democrats issue a new national tax, tied to the elimination of some state and local taxes, that would increase the federal government’s contribution to 25-30 percent of all education spending, up from the current 9 percent—a proposal similar to what Nixon advocated before Watergate sent his administration into a tailspin. Good idea…but…I don’t see it having a chance of getting passed. What keeps school funding the way it is not as much a pure philosophy of “local control of schooling” as it is suburban politicians who fight tooth-and-nail against any new approach that would transfer property tax revenue from their constituents’ schools to less well-financed schools. Plus, if it were to happen, what would prevent the affluent districts from raising property taxes higher just to keep their schools one step ahead of the schools in the neighboring district? Nonetheless, Miller’s point that Nixon took leadership on the issue is important in setting a precedent for Obama to step up to bat for schools, including spending federal bailout dollars on education programs in under-funded districts.
The grim equation by which accident of birth determines educational quality in the United States is straightforward. The poorer the district and the state, the lower the local tax base, with less money for students. No other advanced nation tolerates such inequities.
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