On Sept. 8, President Barack Obama proposed the America Jobs Act, a bill intended to help spur job growth in America. Part of the proposal included financial relief for the nation’s troubled educational system.
The price tag for that section of the bill is, admittedly, a hefty one. Obama asked for $30 billion to help stop rampant teacher layoffs as well as an additional $30 billion for renovations on K-12 and community college facilities.
No one can deny that $60 billion is a large amount of money. But at the same time, no one can deny that America’s schools have a great deal of room for improvement and busting out the checkbook is the best way to right the ship.
It only takes a quick glance at the U.S. Census data concerning the amount spent per student in each state along with Education Week’s Quality Counts state education ranks to see the correlation. The more you spend, the better the quality of the education will be. That’s simple math.
Apparently, Speaker John Boehner spent that class doodling in his notebook because he and other republicans in Congress aren’t exactly raising their hands to sign. Instead, Boehner promoted a different American Jobs Act: one that would consist of further tax breaks for the wealthy.
Boehner justifies such a proposal by saying that “job creators in America are essentially on strike.”
Well, sit down Boehner because there’s a lesson that you should probably learn. Class is in session.
It’s already been well established that money directly correlates to the quality of the education. So then what does a lack of money mean? Poor performances in primary education, of course.
And if a student doesn’t do too well in school, chances are that the student won’t be too prepared for the vastly more demanding college curriculum, which means that Temple classrooms could soon be filled with students who lack the critical thinking and writing skills necessary to succeed in this environment. Those students are not only unlikely to do well–they will also miss out on the most important lessons that college teaches: hard work, dedication and innovative thinking.
This is a shame, since hard work, dedication and innovative thinking just so happen to be three of the most critical traits a potential employer would be looking for in a candidate. They’re also the characteristics employees in successful businesses usually display. That’s not a coincidence.
A hard working, dedicated and innovative employee brings a great deal of value to a business. With that value comes the potential for expansion (more hiring) and greater financial incentives (higher salaries).
Wouldn’t you know it, but that sounds like exactly what our struggling economy could use right about now.
Sure, it may take a few years to be realized, but Obama’s American Jobs Act is exactly what it claims. It’s designed to help create jobs by making future job-hunters more employable.
Meanwhile, there is Boehner’s plan. He said that cutting taxes to the wealthy will help stimulate job growth. In theory, he’s absolutely right. But, then again, if the people that employers would go to hire aren’t properly educated and won’t bring much value to the company, then it will hardly do any good.
Obama’s plan may circumvent the immediate relief in favor of the future, but it does so in a way that promises much greater success. Boehner’s plan, on the other hand, is short-sighted and would ultimately be ineffective.
There is no doubt that $60 billion is a big amount to spend, but the costs to the nation of not investing that money into the future are much greater.
Zachary Scott can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.