Paying for our schools–competition

Most of us that live in El Paso pay almost half of our property taxes to a local school district.  Whether you live in a home that you own or a rental property, you are paying school taxes.

This post is not meant to argue that schools don’t need to be paid for.

Why is it that we pay for our schools through property taxes though?

Is there some other source that could be used?

The original purpose of public education was to develop citizens.

Now we hear about education training children to satisfy the needs of business.

Several alternatives to property taxes exist.

Without regard to how we might change how we pay for schools, shouldn’t we first return control of our schools to our local governments?

If education is in fact a large component of the environment that businesses need, wouldn’t we be better off if we created an education environment that featured competition and differentiation?

Wouldn’t  the free market reward those school districts that produced effective workers and shun those that did not?

We deserve better.



14 Responses to Paying for our schools–competition

  1. Anonymous says:

    I think we should use the Texas Lotto funds to pay for schoold. Oh, Wait.


  2. Deputy Dawg says:

    By the way, why don’t you think schools are NOT controlled by local government? What do you think a locally elected school board does? They control the tax rate, they control the budget, they control the hiring and firing of the superintendent, they control all local policies…How is that not having local control?

    It is akin to saying that there should be no state or federal laws, that all laws should be local.


  3. Judy Maddox says:

    While I agree it should be local options it is a know fact the officials could not get elected street sweepers in other Texas Cities. As it is look at our school boards . People are hired who can’t keep a job in other Texas Cities. So until we grow up and vote for qualified people and not the party line . There is no way Ibeant local control.

    Sent from my iPhone



  4. Reality Checker says:

    If one believes that a key goal of our schools is to educate people in accordance with the needs of businesses in order to turn out a qualified workforce, then education is yet one more way that taxpayers subsidize private sector businesses. We educate the workforce, we then give businesses job training grants and tax credits, and then we pay yet again to re-train workers laid off by companies that cut jobs for short-term profits.

    The private sector has a long history of pushing its costs onto taxpayers, while also using corporate money to manipulate politicians in an effort to reduce competition and control markets. The free market is a myth. Corporate CEOs and business moguls hate socialism, but love corporate welfare.

    You’ll never hear “too big to fail” used as a justification for saving our public education system.

    And don’t get me started on the for-profit education and companies like Southwest “University” that are profiting from government programs.


  5. Jerry K says:

    I attended private (Catholic) grade school and high school in the 1950s and 60s and it was not fun. Lots of strict and even physical discipline. I have zero respect for it and for that kind of education.

    When I see what students are studying today, especially in high school, I am amazed. The level of material is so much above what we were taught and really is more at the college level of my day.

    So test scores are a mystery to me. What concerns me from my experience working with Millennials is that we seem to be in a post-literate era and a whole generation has a kind of collective ADD and can’t stay focused on more than a sentence before they drift off. Then they are buried in their cell phones all the time and unaware of what is going on around them.

    This doesn’t bode well.


    • Deputy Dawg says:

      If they are at work and they are “buried in their cell phones” it is because they are allowed to be by their employers. That is not the fault of public education. If they are “buried in their cell phones” on their own time, who cares? How is that different than the folks in the 60s, 70s, 80s being addicted to TV?


      • Reality Checker says:

        Jerry is 100% correct. The problem with cell phones is significantly different than was the problem with TV because people, including students, are tethered to their phones 24/7 regardless where they are. The result is not only ADD, shallow thinking, and a loss of productivity, but also a rude, non-communicative society.

        In stores, etc., phones are not only interfering with customer service, they are also distracting employees from doing the routine work they should be doing when not serving customers; things like clean-up, stocking shelves, etc.


  6. Deputy Dawg says:

    You might also like her other book: Reign of Error where she demonstrates how privatization of schools simply does not work:


  7. Deputy Dawg says:

    Actually, the current form of education was developed during the Industrial Revolution, between 1820 and 1860, in order to assure that there was a workforce for the factories. (So guess who developed it? Educators? Nope. Business people.) Thus, the current model looks a lot like an assembly line where we put kids in at 6 years old and plop them out at 18 years old. If they learned some civics along the way, that was all well and good, but really the purpose was to create a pipeline of employees for factories. So for close to 200 years now, the REAL purpose of education has been to produce employees and workers for business.

    The schools are considered part of the public good, and so all things that are part of the public good in Texas are paid for at least partially with property taxes because Texas has no income tax system.

    The idea of having a “free market system” while making a great soundbite for libertarians and rich white Republicans, does not work in reality. You need only look at private universities as an example of what happens in the free market: Who goes to Harvard? Rich children of rich parents. Who goes to Stanford? Rich children of rich parents. See how it works? Poor kids or special needs kids, or minority kids quickly get left out of any kind of “competition” and free market system. Public education, even with its faults, is the closest thing we have in this country for children without means to actually get out of poverty.

    Brutus, there is a great book called The Death and Life of the Great American School System. You should read it. It addresses your blog entry very well, better than I ever could.


    • Fred Borrego says:

      Very Good Deputy Dawg ! Socialist education, paid for by our property taxes, fuels the free market system. Also, most of the graduates of the Harvard’s & Stanford’s fuel the free market too.


    • Brutus says:


      The post was not written to suggest turning over education to “for profit” organizations.

      The suggestion was that we should decrease the influence that the feral and state governments have over our schools, letting the local school boards and district administrators decide how best to educate the kids. The “free market” element was to question if homeowners would then make decisions about which school district to live in based partially on the quality of the education the kids receive.



      • Deputy Dawg says:

        The problem with eliminating state and federal control over things (again, a very Tea Party/ Libertarian sound bite), is that I assume, you also want to no longer take the state and federal funding that comes with that. Or do you want the money but not the strings attached to it? If you eliminate the state and federal funding, then good luck having schools in property poor cities like El Paso compete against say a Flower Mound Texas or a Plano. Even locally, could Anthony ISD with it’s 700 kids compete against EPISD with it’s 60,000? You quickly would see a system of have and have nots. A few Harvards and a whole lot of Community Colleges if you will. The free market works if there is a market.


    • mamboman3 says:

      Good comments, Deputy Dawg. Our system started with the goal of turning out good factory uni-minded robots…er, I mean, workers…and for the most part that’s what it has kept on doing over the years. The testing baloney has only worsened the situation. I think and hope that there have been innovative and creative and out of the box thinkers and teachers and schools and trends but they haven’t been sufficiently supported by the “system.” Today most efforts are back to producing the good ‘bot’ but a college bound one at that. The magnet trend, for instance, targets a kid as a freshman or earlier for a specific career, and on the one hand you might get a pretty well trained specialist in the end, but you have denied that kid the chance to explore and grow and maybe find the best fitting and most fulfilling career for that person’s future. I think there are a lot of great teachers out there who buck the system and help our society from becoming something Orwellian, but big business really does have the upper hand in protecting its interests and its profits, but I don’t think it can go on like this without doomsday putting an end to all of us sooner than later.


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