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Give to the Rich
Written January 8, 2012


Teacher says we’re going to be taking a bunch of tests next month.  She says they’re really important.

“That’s right.  You know it takes money to run a school, don’t you?”

Sure.  They have to pay the teachers, and buy books, and fix the leaky roof, and stuff.

“Well, some of the money comes from a government grant, paid for by the taxpayers.  And the amount your school gets depends on how well you kids do on these tests.”

You mean the money isn’t divided equally?  Some schools get a bigger share and some get less?


But some schools already have more money.  The schools the rich suburban kids go to?  They’re palaces compared to this place.  The kids there have fancy football stadiums and language labs and TV studios.  They get to learn a lot.  And then there are other schools that have less money.  The school my cousin goes to can’t even afford to fix the broken windows, let alone the roof.  They don’t have enough teachers to keep the kids from acting up in class.  My cousin doesn’t learn much there.

“Yes, unfortunately, there is a great deal of disparity in our public school system.”

And these tests will be used to decide where the money goes?

“Correct.  We need hard empirical data on the performance of students at a given school, in order to determine what proportion of the grant that school deserves to receive.”

So when we take these tests, I guess all of us kids should pretend to be stupid.

“What?!  No, of course not!  You must do as well as possible.”

Don’t we need to do as poorly as possible?  If we miss a lot of the questions, the government will think our school is doing a bad job of teaching us.

“They certainly will!”

And that means our school deserves the money more.  We need the money to improve, so we can do a better job.

“No, no, you’ve got it backwards.  The fact that you need help is proof that you don’t deserve help.”


Sixth graders in the richest school districts are four grade levels ahead of children in the poorest districts.  –New York Times, April 29, 2016

“The better schools, where the students do well — those are the ones who’ve proved they deserve the money more.”

But they already have more money.

“In many cases.”

And the poor inner-city schools have less.

“And if those inner-city schools fail to educate their students, they should be penalized by getting even less money.  Why should we reward them for failure?”

It shouldn’t be about punishment and reward.  It should be about where the money will do the most good.

“No, it is a matter of punishment and reward.  That’s how the free market system works in America.  It’s like capitalism.  Money goes to people who earn it, not people who need it.”

Matthew, chapter 13,
verse 12, the Good
News translation

Money goes to people who already have more than they can spend?  Not to people who can really use it?  Seems like a waste of good money.

“You’re a Christian, aren’t you?  Jesus tells us, ‘The person who has something will be given more, so that he will have more than enough.  But the person who has nothing will have taken away from him even the little he has.’”

That’s not fair!

“Pay no attention.  Just shut up and study for those tests.”



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