In case you missed them, here and here are accounts of Alan Greenspan’s comments the other day about entitlements. If you care about education finance this is not an arcane or irrelevant issue. In fact, it’s a central one. The looming resource squeeze as the baby-boomers head into their golden years threatens to swamp all kinds of social spending.
In addition to entitlement reform, this means that different priorities must make themselves as competitive as possible in the fight for resources. In the case of public education (where relatively few Americans are direct stakeholders in terms of having their kids in school) this means broadening the coalition supporting education funding. It seems that (a) improving the schools serving poor and minority kids so that parents there are more satisfied and less eager for other options (b) expanding customization within the public sector to again bind more people to public education and (c) improving overall performance and productivity.
Continuing down the current path of denying that serious problems exist seems like a sure way to end up fighting a constant rear-guard action when the geezer war comes.
Also, Columbia TC’s Levine makes a similar point in today’s LA Times.
Update: Eduwonk leaves a big irony behind. An alert reader writes that: I was looking forward to Eduwonk pointing out the irony of it all: Levine is concerned that policymakers might focus more on healthcare than school improvement efforts, which is exactly what Richard Rothstein’s book, published by Teachers College with a glowing foreword from Levine, tells them to do.
There’s a nice Chicken Little meets Lizzie Borden aspect to it. Good point!