“Our No. 1 priority … must be education”

by David Safier

From Nicholas Kristof this morning:

So maybe I was wrong. I used to consider health care our greatest national shame, considering that we spend twice as much on medical care as many European nations, yet American children are twice as likely to die before the age of 5 as Czech children — and American women are 11 times as likely to die in childbirth as Irish women.

Yet I’m coming to think that our No. 1 priority actually must be education. That makes the new fiscal stimulus package a landmark, for it takes a few wobbly steps toward reform and allocates more than $100 billion toward education.

He goes on to ask:

So for those who oppose education spending in the stimulus, a question: Do you really believe that slashing half a million teaching jobs would be fine for the economy, for our children and for our future?

If Kristof read the Goldwater Institute's regular emails and research pieces, which come out in the morning and are Arizona Republican talking points that afternoon, he would know the Fools Gold folks think that, yes, slashing teachers is just fine — so long as you make sure to get rid of the bad teachers, then load all the students into the classes of the good teachers that are left. Kristof agrees, excellent teachers are critical, but it sounds like he'd rather find more top quality teachers than crowd more desks into fewer classrooms.

We'll find out in short order whether the Republicans calling the shots in Phoenix will take the real education money from the stimulus package or grab for the fools gold and shout, "We're rich [in ultra conservative ideology], I tell you! Rich! Rich!"

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