Lieber for Congress, P.O. Box 410064, Creve Coeur, MO 63141

Question on funding our schools

Question from Fawn on funding our schoolsQ&A

What can Congress do to reform public K-12 education? Do you have any brilliant ideas on new ways to fund public education? What do you think about the 6 year tech high schools collaborating with corporations?

Response from Arthur

Fawn, we talk about equalizing educational opportunity but that’s difficult to do with a property tax-driven system. Some states try to help students in poorer districts with a formula that provides more aid for students in economically impacted districts. However, this does not address the fact that some states have far more money to spend on education than others.

So you ask what can the federal government do. What I’d like to see I a movement away from local and state funding and have it replaced by federal funding. This does not mean federal control of education; rather it means equal funding. Citizens would be relieved of the burden of much of their property taxes and have it replaced by increased income taxes – a progressive tax. The money collected by the federal government could go directly to local districts, perhaps by-passing states because we see how they misuse block grants such as those for Medicaid. A federally funded system would have to be tweaked to deal with disparities in costs of living in various locales and also to address funding for capital improvements. But federal funding would be neater and cleaner and would be consistent with the federal government’s role as the primary guarantor of human rights for those living in the United States.

I don’t know enough about the 6 year tech high schools to really comment. What I do favor is exploring ways for employers to hire workers based on their skills rather than their credentials. College is not for everyone and the fact that someone does not attend or graduate from a college should not put him or her on the slow path to economic success. In this regard, the federal government, as an employer, can lead the way.