Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: What! You too? I thought I was the only one.

-C.S. Lewis

Friday, January 05, 2007

Public Education

The property tax has always struck me as an odd source from which to fund public schools. Here in Illinois, of course, this is exactly how we do it. I'm willing to be convinced otherwise, but it seems to me that unless you're pooling the property taxes statewide, the natural result is wild inequality in the quality of public school districts.

People tell me it's their right to have a relatively better local public school district, because they're the ones paying the higher taxes, but I don't buy that for a second. Either you support a public school system, or you don't. Either you're OK with subsidizing the education of the community at large, or you're not. If a rich dude wants to send his kid to school with only other rich kids, there are plenty of private schools in this country. If he's going to say, "so why should I then pay taxes to fund public schools?" it's a fair question, but once he agrees to do it, he can't ALSO insist that those funds only go to his neighborhood school. In other words, if you don't want to fund public education, as opposed to free-for-the-people-lucky-enough-to-live-in-my-neighborhood education, kindly have the balls to say so.

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