What are we willing to pay for? That is the question that comes to mind for me when I read Thomas Friedman’s opinion piece in the New York Times called “Average is Over: Part II.”
The article discusses the disconnect between what politicians espouse about keeping jobs in the United States and the current realities facing CEOs whereby, through necessity, work is becoming more globalized every day.
Friedman argues that parents in the United States believe that their child is simply competing with her neighbor or with other kids in the United States, but that that is simply not the case today.
He argues that in a globalized society, kids compete against their peers all over the world. He goes on to say that this insular view of the United States education system is one reason that investment in K-12 education has suffered, because parents are content with the quality of education in their child’s school as compared to the school down the street.
He points out that soon there will be a way for parents to easily compare their child’s school with schools around the world, which he says will enable parents to advocate for better schools with policy-makers.
Friedman has a point, but he is missing a significant contributing factor in this discussion – namely, our unwillingness to raise our taxes to invest in our infrastructure. Once we are able to compare our schools with schools around the world, we must also find a way to compare the tax rates between countries.
It is a commonly held belief by many in the United States that our taxes are too high. A blogger friend has written extensively on this subject and you should check out his thoughts when you have a moment. I have also written about this previously.
The fact is, you get what you pay for. Educating our children comes at a cost. Taxes are the price we pay to educate our children, protect our streets from crime and pave our roads, among many other things.
And,really, what price can you place on our children’s future?
What do you think? Why do you think people are so vehemently opposed to higher taxes for better schools? Have you seen your schools suffer as a result of this lack of investment? Do you think that there is a better way in which our tax dollars could be invested?
I would love to hear your thoughts. Thank you for reading.