I avoid my neighbor this time of year. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a nice enough guy. He keeps his place looking nice, has 5 good kids, and is willing to lend a hand when you need one. Why do I avoid him? Because he is always complaining about paying taxes. During tax season, he never misses a chance to bemoan government waste and how they are wasting HIS hard earned money. He says we live in a "welfare state," where everybody expects something for nothing. Honestly, I couldn't agree more, which is why I told him to stop being such a freeloader and start paying up!
Man was he MAD when I called him a freeloader. But think about it:
- He has five children that attend the public schools
- The state pays the schools approximately $7,000 per annum to educate each child
- By the time all of his children graduate, we will have spent $420,000 educating his children
- He pays approximately $2,500 per year in property taxes
- He would have to live in his house 168 years to pay the state back for the money spent on his children
He's right, everybody wants something for nothing, especially when it comes to education. We live in a world where people want great schools, but low taxes. We want high quality teachers to perform for a low salary. We want state of the art education in outdated facilities. We want 21st century knowledge with 20th century textbooks and technology. In other words, we expect things that we are unwilling to pay for. I have a term for that; I call it “educational shoplifting.”
Follow me for a minute… If I were to walk into Target, pick a piece of clothing out that costs $24.95, slap down $12.35, and walk out with the item while indignantly accusing them of waste and fraud, wouldn’t they call the police? Wouldn’t I be tried and convicted for shoplifting? After all, I took and used a product without paying the full price for it.
As a country, we have come to expect more from our schools than we are willing to pay for. Would parents' attitudes and our schools be different if everyone had to pay “full price?”
As I said, my neighbor is an educational shoplifter and shouldn’t be trusted, but you shouldn’t take my word for it, I am one too.