We need to change the way we pay for public education. There is a direct relationship between education and inequality. In the past education was less of a necessity. Here in the Midwest you could work in an auto plant without graduating from high school and earn a solid middle class living with health insurance and a pension. Things have changed.
Today you not only need a high school diploma but some additional technical training to qualify for that same line job. Further, we are all competing in a global economy and as a result the domestic auto industry can no longer go along with raising the wages of union members and pass that increased cost onto the consumer. The consumer will go elsewhere.
It is not just the auto industry. The world is more competitive and will become more so as developing countries, such as the BRIC nations, the South African countries and developing countries in South America advance further. The good news is as these countries advance so will the demand for American made products. In the meantime these countries are catching up with us economically.
Our country was created on the concept of equal opportunity and not equality of income You had to earn that. In order to have a chance of earning a good living everyone should have a chance to work hard and obtain a good education. The way we finance education in Michigan does not provide a level playing field for the poor and underprivileged.
If you are fortunate to live in a wealthy suburb the community can afford to invest heavily in the education of the community’s children. If you live in a poorer community the tax dollars collected for education will be smaller and as a result the quality of education provided to the community’s children will be lower. This needs to change for the sake of the children, but also for the sake of the local community and the country.
As mentioned earlier, we live in a very competitive world. We cannot afford to waste any of the country’s assets. We have no greater asset for our future than our children. Somewhere in a poor community there is the next Einstein that is not getting a proper education and as a result we are not getting the benefit of her intelligence. This needs to change.
We need to switch how we pay for education The best way probably is to increase the state income tax rate and distribute the income on a per pupil basis.