Culture Wars/Current Controversies

The Myth of the Underfunded School

TAC Editor’s Weekly
The latest in Main Street conservative news
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Dear Reader,

Ohio Representative Warren Davidson, a former Army Ranger, wants President Biden to define the American mission in Ukraine. In an opinion piece for TAC Wednesday, Davidson asked his colleagues to stop funding a fight for which no finish has been defined: “To date, Congress has appropriated more than $113 billion to Ukraine, even though it’s impossible to properly allocate resources to a cause without first defining what the United States intends to accomplish.” With rhetoric promising American commitment “as long as it takes,” and no definite end in sight, this administration risks turning a proxy war with Putin into open war between the United States and Russia.

Chicago school districts spend more than $17,000 per student per year, and the figure jumps to almost $30,000 when you include all sources of funding. Only 20 percent of the districts’ students can read at grade level. In his column this week, assistant editor John Hirschauer wrote up a new report from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute that found “students from poor families generally attend better-funded schools than students from wealthier families.” The myth of underfunded schools, however, persists, trotted out over and over again to excuse failures of culture and discipline that have led to decades of academic underperformance and high drop-out, truancy, and delinquency rates.

Featuring this week from the print magazine was Institute for Family Studies executive director Michael Toscano’s essay on the work and thought of social critic and motor mechanic Matthew B. Crawford. In his books and essays, the author of Shop Class as Soulcraft has sought to champion the human and the real against an increasingly fake world mediated by technology and bureaucratic systems of control. His unsystematic approach sketches out a technological republicanism that, as Toscano put it, calls for “designing machines to extend human mentality outward, complement human skill and assert their rightful dominion.” Anyone familiar with my own writing will not be surprised that I particularly enjoyed this essay.

Micah Meadowcroft
Web Editor

Define the Mission

The White House has an obligation to explain, explicitly and officially, what we are trying to achieve in Ukraine.

The Myth of the Underfunded School

A new report casts doubt on the old “underfunded schools” trope.

The Soul of the Machine

Matthew B. Crawford offers a vision of technology for free men.

Society is a partnership of the dead, the living and the unborn.

―Edmund Burke

From the Archives

Does Male Suffering Matter?

Oliver Traldi

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