All too often, it seems, the media fall into
the trap of equating dollars with progress. All things being equal,
they reason, a $10 billion program should solve a problem better and
faster than a $5 billion program ó and the level of a politicianís
commitment can be judged by the amount theyíre willing to spend on
But MRC news analyst Paul Smith caught CNNís
Charles Feldman offering a contrarian position in a report that
aired on The World Today on January 13. Feldman seemed to
question the conventional notion that spending more on education
programs is always good for students.
"From the East Coast to the West Coast,"
Feldman reported, "states flush with budget surpluses are seemingly
giving education a blank check.... But over the past five years,
spending on education has already grown, by some estimates, at a
rate of more than seven percent."
Feldman then related that "Nina Reese,
education analyst with the conservative Heritage Foundation, says
that although $125 billion in federal money alone was spent since
1965 to close the gap in achievement between high and low income
students, that gap has not narrowed. Some argue that states should
be less concerned with spending more money on education than with
spending existing dollars in smarter ways."
Thatís a perspective thatís not usually given
much time on TV news, but itís a timely reminder that journalists
need to dig into the details whenever politicians propose new
spending programs, as they certainly will this election year. Kudos
to CNNís Charles Feldman for at least asking whether more government
spending is always the best policy.