Sunday, October 12, 2014

Do Governor Snyder's cuts to K-12 classroom funding help widen the wealth gap?

While our governor and state legislature continue to keep most of the deep cuts to public school classrooms from 2010-11 in place, a report by the Associated Press contends that school spending by affluent families similar to Governor Snyder have helped widen the wealth gap between the top 10 percent of earners and the rest of us.
Wealthier parents have been stepping up education spending so aggressively that they're widening the nation's wealth gap. When the Great Recession struck in late 2007 and squeezed most family budgets, the top 10 percent of earners — with incomes averaging $253,146 — went in a different direction: They doubled down on their kids' futures. 
Their average education spending per child jumped 35 percent to $5,210 a year during the recession compared with the two preceding years — and they sustained that faster pace through the recovery. For the remaining 90 percent of households, such spending averaged around a flat $1,000, according to research by Emory University sociologist Sabino Kornrich. 
"People at the top just have so much income now that they're easily able to spend more on their kids," Kornrich said. 
The sums being spent by wealthier parents amount to a kind of calculated investment in their children. Research has linked the additional dollars to increased SAT scores, a greater likelihood of graduating from college and the prospect of future job security and high salaries. 
The trend emerged gradually over the past three decades but accelerated during the worst economic slump since the 1930s. Now, enrollments at pricier private schools are climbing. Parents are bidding up home prices in top public school districts. Pay is surging for SAT tutors, who now average twice the median U.S. hourly wage of $24.45. The patterns suggest that the wealth gap could widen in coming years, analysts say. 
"If you're at the bottom and the top keeps pulling away, you're just further behind," said Melissa Kearney, a senior economics fellow at the Brookings Institution.
This is from Josh Boak, Associated Press: School spending by affluent is widening wealth gap. I encourage you to click on the link and read the entire article before proceeding.

Michigan's public education system is sorely underfunded and continues to be hurt by wrong-headed policies that are designed to pick winners and losers, with urban school districts servicing poor, minority, and limited English-proficient students squarely in the losers category. Some of these politically-motivated policies include expansion of an unproven (and under-fire) charter school movement, reducing payers to the state teacher retirement system which as a result is collapsing under its own weight, and spending far too much time, energy and money attacking schools and teachers when poverty and reduced K-12 funding for classrooms and basic operations are the real problems.

Remember when you vote on November 4, Governor Snyder was fine with the idea of spending $20,000 per year for his own daughter's education at the Greenhills School in Ann Arbor, despite the fact the rest of us (the 90-percenters) are expected to continue getting by with less. The governor has recognized the problem with the gap between higher and lower-spending districts and here's his response as reported from an interview with MLive's Dave Murray, now the governor's deputy press secretary:
“At some point I would like to start addressing that. But right now I want to look at the bigger picture of school aid and the funding formulas. But not this year.”
Well, he's done little since this comment thirty months ago to solve the problem and there's no indication funding for kids and classrooms will be any better in the next four years sans a change in leadership.

Anyway, the title of this posts posits a question and I'll let you answer it for yourself.