When respondents learned the true costs, support for additional funding for public schools dropped 9% with the majority not being willing to pay higher taxes to increase spending on public education.
So, why the public’s perception that the states spend 60% less than they actually do to fund public schools?
Consider some recent poll data from the Commonwealth Foundation of Pennsylvania:
- Pennsylvania spends $14.6/student. In fact, 73% of those polled believed spending was 46% lower ($6.7k+) than its actual level ($14.6k+/student) in 2012-2013.
- 66%+ were surprised when told that Pennsylvania spends $3.k/student more than the national average.
- 82% underestimate the average public school teachers’ salary by 26% (the actual average salary is $63k).
- 66% were surprised when informed that Pennsylvania spends $2.9 more/student than the national average
A question: If Pennsylvania’s schools are so well funded, then why are so many school districts having to cut the number of teachers and curtail programs?
An answer: Pension payments that are unsustainable for the long term yet are being politicized by public school teachers’ unions, their bosses, and their compliant media. The costs of teachers’ pensions have increased by 500% (that is, $2B—the equivalent of 30k teachers).
In Pennsylvania, the loss of $1B in federal stimulus funds—President Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act—meant the public school system and its proponents had to launch a public relations campaign to make it appear that spending on public education has been drastically cut by the Commonwealth’s Governor, Tom Corbett, who just happens to be up for re-election this year.
Perceptions oftentimes are the reality but this particular campaign isn’t a “misinformation” but a “disinformation” campaign, one aimed at duping the public into believing the Commonwealth’s public schools are underfunded. In contrast, the reality is that those who are waging the campaign—and the public school teachers’ union bosses, in particular—want an ever-increasing stream of tax $$$s flowing into their coffers.
One lesson? Always “follow the money.”
A second lesson? Low information voters get exactly what they deserve. So much for hopium and changium.
Let the discussion begin…
To read the Friedman Foundation poll, click on the following link:
To read the Commonwealth Foundation poll, click on the following link: