Broadcasting misinformation

A story in one local media outlet about the declining population in Jacksonville’s government schools displayed an incredible amount of ignorance about school financing.

What has the TV station’s newsreaders upset is that parents are being given a choice and more are choosing private schooling. That was once a choice only the more affluent — like television anchors — had but now the poor and middle class have opportunity as well.

Reading more like a press release from the teacher unions than a news story, the story lamented the declining population’s effect on school finances.

The problem is, declining student population in government schools has no adverse effect on school finances.

Because the money to educate the children goes with the children, it is being spent correctly.

Government schools are paid by the state on the basis of their student population. A certain amount is paid for each child.

Thus, it is not the least surprising or upsetting that with fewer children to educate the schools will be paid less.

The TV station said that the schools still have to deliver the “same level of service.”


That’s like saying Walmart would stay open if it had no customers.

Fewer students mean fewer teachers, fewer books, fewer lunches and even fewer schools to build or maintain.

Furthermore, vouchers are a net benefit to the taxpayers.

In addition, parents with children in private schools continue to finance the government schools via sales taxes.

Finally, what the Education Blob and its devotees never tell you: Their financing does not all come from the state. It also includes the revenue from local taxes – and they keep getting that revenue even if the number of students is declining. The same is true for federal funds.

What the station presented was an editorial disguised as a news story, and it was an editorial not based on fact or reason.

Lloyd Brown

Lloyd was born in Jacksonville. Graduated from the University of North Florida. He spent nearly 50 years of his life in the newspaper business …beginning as a copy boy and retiring as editorial page editor for Florida Times Union. He has also been published in a number of national newspapers and magazines, as well as Internet sites. Married with children. Military Vet. Retired. Man of few words but the words are researched well, deeply considered and thoughtfully written.


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