The Ottumwa Courier

Letters to the Editor

October 31, 2012

President wrong to create emotional issue

OTTUMWA — In one of the recent debates, the president said he would hire 100,000 new math and science teachers. That sounds nice and rings well with the teachers’ union, but he is wrong to make it an emotional issue to gain votes.

One reason he is wrong is we would have to borrow 40 percent of the cost with no earthly idea of how to pay it back. A second reason can be discovered from the Friedman Foundation (Milton Friedman) website www.edchoice.org. Between Fiscal Year 1950 and FY 2009, the number of K-12 public school students in the United States increased by 96 percent, while the number of full-time equivalent school employees grew 386 percent. Public schools grew staffing at a rate four times faster than the increase in students over that time period. Of those personnel, teachers’ numbers increased 252 percent, while administrators and other staff experienced growth of 702 percent, more than seven times the increase in students. There is more to this report, if you have interest, on the website.

It is obvious that the reason we have hired so many more teachers and administrators than the growth of students is that government has become more involved in education. Just as in other businesses, government mandates and regulations throw sand in the gears. If the federal government got completely out of education and let the money fall back to the sates, we would have a much better and more manageable education system.

Martin Helgerson

Ottumwa

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