A modest, free-market American proposal
by David Weinshilboum
The United States of America is facing an education crisis. The average American high school graduate is only expected to read and write at the junior high level, and higher education is rapidly becoming inaccessible to more and more U.S. teens due to rapidly increasing costs. All this while funding for education disappears amid state and federal belt-tightening.
As a parent of two boys, ages 10 and 2, I am extremely invested in our country’s educational system. What, you might ask, am I doing to support my children’s academics?
I am buying shit.
Specifically, I am buying stuff that, indirectly, funds education. Throughout the years I’ve purchased books, plants, baked goods… You name it and I’ve probably purchased it, all because some portion of the proceeds goes toward my son’s school. Fruit chews? Yup, been there, done that. See, those pieces of fake fruit shaped like Scooby-Doo have a “box top” attached, a piece of paper that, if redeemed properly, translates to 10 cents toward my son’s school.
I came, I saw, I bought.
That’s how my son’s school district generates revenue. They can’t be bothered by state funding — goodness no! That goes against the American way circa 2012. Nowadays we must rely on the purity of the market. No need to tax people. We must accept that, if the market wants an educated America, the laws of supply and demand will create a place for education. In this purely capitalist system, schools either survive or die based on the market. In essence, our electorate wants us to go back to the days when only rich people could pay for their children’s education.
Thank goodness we’ve outgrown our communistic, Keynesian economic past.
In the ’80s, when I was a student in grade school, America was just a bunch of pinkos who didn’t believe in a pure market system. We were led by the biggest commie of them all — Ronald Reagan. He insisted on raising taxes to fund stuff like education. Dude was nuts, and by nuts, I mean RED colored pistachio nuts!
Back then taxes helped to fund stuff like science, music and art education. Mind you, there were still fundraisers, but the money usually went toward extracurricular school activities—sports, band or various clubs.
Luckily we’ve wised up and decided that science, arts and literature are ancillary to K-12 education. Sorry, Shakespeare, the market says you’re “not to be.” DNA? SOL.
Apparently, getting parents and students to seek out donations is all part of the free market economy. One of the popular fundraising activities that my school district employs is getting students and parents to sell things to their neighbors. Last year, I received a catalog chock full of overpriced stuff like magazine subscriptions, wrapping paper and candies.
But how does the school district expect me — a parent of two — to approach my neighbor who has three kids and urge him to buy a subscription to the Wall Street Journal?
Hypothetical pitch: “Hey, how’s the furlough going? Oh, while I’ve got your ear, wanna buy a rag that thinks your union should be disbanded and your job eliminated?”
Keep in mind, I live in Davis, California, the last bastion of the communist ’80s. People here still think that taxes should go toward schools. In fact, the city has repeatedly voted to tax itself to fund education. (If George W. were still in office, the entire city would be housed in Guantanamo!) Still, funding for education remains so inadequate that parents and kids are still going door-to-door.
But here’s our real problem: schools aren’t selling the right products. Chocolates? Who needs ’em? Magazines? Uh, there’s this thing called the Internet! School districts across America need to start selling things that people want, tap a market that, up until now, has been limited to mostly rednecks and Charlton Heston.
Kids should sell guns.
Semiautomatics. Glocks. Uzis. Forget about a $1 mark up per chocolate bar. We’re talking a $300 net per gun! Twenty-five guns in a year, and that’s more than the state of California funds annually!
For you bed-wetting liberals out there who are pitching a fit, please calm down. It ain’t as if I want to eat your kids. I just want ’em to earn a dime, contribute to their education the American way and help us adjust to the FREE MARKET. I am thinking about their future, you know.
Every school district will want a piece of the action. In Davis, we can go to the biggest houses and offer the “home protector” double-barrel shotgun. If they say no, we can teach kids the hard sell, maybe hint that the very same gun could be sold in a West Sacramento hood as a rebranded “home destroyer,” and the aforementioned Davis address could be included as part of the deal.
Even better, foundering school districts like Oakland would have the best markets.
Sure, kids might be at risk in certain neighborhoods, but you can’t let the children stay in the nest forever. Besides, in our current form, we’re just delaying risk. A crap, underfunded education isn’t a risk; it’s a certainty.
Granted, we’ll be dealing with a few injuries, perhaps a few deaths. But you know the old saying, “Better dead than red.”
David Weinshilboum, who is really just a moderate trapped in an era of political extremes, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org