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September 8th, 2008
Segment Five from Full Episode
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  • 45 out of 50 states have been sued for the way they fund their schools.
  • 24 out of 50 states spend less per pupil in low income districts than affluent ones.
  • The U.S. ranks at the bottom worldwide in percentage of federal spending on education.


  • Julie

    It was really interesting to hear how different countries fund schools. The program compared US schools to Finnish schools. The problem with that is that Finland is a MUCH smaller country than the US, and does not have near the socioeconomic diversity the US does. I do think we need to change the way we fund schools. It is definitely true that disadvantaged schools do not have near the facilities and opportunities affluent advantaged schools do. If school funding continues to come from neighborhood property taxes, schools will never be equal. I would like to see funding be per student equally across all schools in the nation (with possible adjustments for cost of living differences). This would mean that regardless of neighborhood each student would recieve the same funding for their schools.

  • Jill P

    Funds should come from both Federal and State coffers per student. Then schools could face similar needs to updated equipment, books, supplies so that there would be more money all schools. That way the word “disadvantaged school” would not exist. All students should be held up to the same high standards regardless of race, religion, etc. That is what they may find in the job market, so this prepares them for reality.

  • Alison

    I think the Where We Stand program is especially important at this time of elections and economic instability. I worry that because of the financial issues the US is facing, the pressing need of supporting education in the US is being put by the wayside. It is ironic how funding is spent some times. The district I work in has been trying to put a high priority on literacy. A little over a year ago they cut out librarians/media specialists and combined that job with computer technical support. I am really not sure just how much the federal government should oversee schools and funding but I do think the funding per student in each state should be equaled so everyone has the same advantage.

  • Dan

    The President of the Harlem Education project has it right.

    We need leaders willing to stop playing politics with the future of our children. It’s time to stop the political blame game at our highest institutions nationally and in our state leadership. It’s time for our national media to quit promoting the rhetoric of our Congresspeople, Executive and Judicial branches who do so, and instead to report the true work they are doing to make our nation’s educational system strong.
    It’s time for parents to shoulder their responsibilities, instead of demanding that our teachers make up for their parenting deficiencies. It’s time to put the power over our students education back into the hands of those who come into contact with them each day, the teachers.
    It’s time to take the best of NCLB legislation and to demand that those who choose to go into teaching are doing the job for which they are being paid for and that we are doing our best for all of our children.
    Its time to fix the ailing culture of this nation and to demand that all citizens shoulder the responsibilities that come along with our freedom. Freedom does not mean entitlement.
    It’s time to punish those who drain our nations resources through unethical business practices leaving only a pittance for our educational system, then complaining that the educational system isn’t producing citizens capable of making our businesses strong.

    Ranking last in the percentage of federal budget spending on our educational system among ALL of the developed nations of the world is shameful.

    If a humble teacher from China can see the obvious, if a 17 year old Finnish exchange student can see the obvious, if a senior from Ohio can see the obvious, why can’t we?

    It’s time…because soon we will be out of it.

  • Brad

    The school voucher system is much better. Subsidize the consumer and not the producer.

  • Pingback: Where We Stand . Finance - Video Report | PBS Video

  • Jon

    There are some very good ideas out there, some of them are being voiced right here. However, the major problem with it all is that education isn’t written into the Constitution, in fact public funding of it was ruled VERY liberally to be covered by the Preamble. Thus, if any one citizen gets peeved enough, any forward movement we’ve made can and will be stricken down by the State and Federal Supreme Courts. Furthermore, people are more interested in flashier issues, like Iraq or gay rights, which is yet another reason for a lack of funding. The real solution to our woes is a constitutional amendment that sets up a federal right to education and amending the 16th amendment to allow for funding for public education, followed by a national curriculum and national testing standards. I also believe that the first two years of college should be covered by the federal government, the first year for an associate’s, and the first month to six months, depending on program, for vocational certificates. Education is one of the few places that Socialism has it over the US.

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