Regardless of the lip service we pay to it, we, as a society do not really care about education. While there are a lot of people who do care, and put in great work to better the lives of our children, globally we, as a society do not care at all. Look no further than the Hillsborough County School District in Tampa, Florida where the district is in the midst of a large budget crisis. If this was unique to the Hillsborough County School District it would be huge news, and the blame that is currently being spread around would be warranted, but it isn’t and the level of blame is unfair.
There should be no such thing as a school budget crisis ANYWHERE, period… end… final. In a society where the Cleveland Browns, one of the worst teams in the NFL can manage to pay Brock Osweiler, a mediocre NFL quarterback, 18 million dollars a year, we ought to be able to come up with the money to educate each and every child and educate them properly, whether that is preparing them for Harvard, trade school, or anywhere in between. As we all know, this is rarely, if ever the case. While society and the talking heads will give a myriad of answers as to why school budgets are in such dire straits (low property taxes, governmental regulation, charter schools, etc.) the truth of the matter is -if we really wanted to make education a priority we would fund it better.
We live in a world where the Kardashian’s who provide nothing to society and have no discernible talent-are multi-multi-millionaire’s. Meanwhile, the average teacher salary hovers around $57,000 per year. This number is of course somewhat skewed, as states in the Northeast which value education more, pay higher and pull up the number, as do veteran teachers. Using the $57,000 number as a guideline, the average teacher would have to work almost 316 years to make what one mediocre NFL Quarterback (see above) makes in one year. While an argument can be made regarding revenue and our capitalistic system, and how individual compensation relates to the economy, there is no reason the gap between our teachers and our NFL Quarterbacks (or CEO’s, entertainers, etc.) should be so vast.
The bottom line is, that the fault here lies not with the NFL Quarterback, the NFL Owner who pays the quarterback or even the television network that pays billions to televise the NFL. The fault lies with all of us. As consumers, we create the Kardashians by watching them, we fund the NFL by buying tickets and supporting the teams, and we create the budgetary issues in our schools, by not valuing them as we should. You have all probably seen it, the parent that drives up to school in a Hummer but has kids who are on free and reduced lunch. Until we stop being consumers and redirect our priorities to our education system, and our children, school districts will continue to have budgetary issues. Simultaneously, we will do nothing more than complain which does nothing to solve the problem. The bottom line, we really do not care about education, because if we did, we would fund it accordingly and school districts around the country would not be in the financial situations in which they so often find themselves.
Brock Osweiler NFL Contract Data. (2017, June 21). Retrieved from http://www.spotrac.com/nfl/cleveland-browns/brock-osweiler-9867/
Estimated average annual salary of teachers in public elementary and secondary schools, by state: Selected years, 1969-70 through 2012-2013. (2017, June 21). Retrieved from https://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d13/tables/dt13_211.60.asp
Sokol, M. (2017, June 20). Hillsborough schools’ budget woes were worse than we knew. Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved from http://www.tampabay.com/news/education/k12/hillsborough-schools- budget-woes-were-worse-than-we-knew/2327904
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