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Funding in the Education System: Charter Schools as a Potential Solution

Persistent issues regarding the education system in the United States reflect ideological debates regarding politics, economics, values, and priorities. Politically, education is implemented to inform the people of the county's complex system and political culture. Socially, education is seen to help individuals understand the nation's morals and give them a chance to better themselves. Often, the mass media glosses over fundamental conflicts that lay below the surface of the news. Since few media sources provide alternative perspectives, this conceals important aspects surrounding school controversies. For decades, society has agreed on the importance of education. Specifically, some argue that education prepares students for careers, a higher education, enhancement in the arts, music, and sports, and addresses physical and mental health. However, many have differing views on implementing, funding and organizing it. Emergent thoughts continuously create debates over education and encourage society to further controversy.

To understand the root causes of funding issues, it is necessary to acknowledge how schools are run and ultimately funded today. Individual schools are now run by principals but are bound by district politics and state and federal law. Districts are governed by school boards and superintendents but bound by state boards and state and federal law. Teachers often have a significant voice through collective bargaining, except in states that ban public employee unions. Traditionally, school funding is entirely local, rooted in property taxes, creating school funding in areas with more or less valuable property. This is where inequities between districts, and in some cases, within communities rise. Property taxes do not generally keep pace with the inflationary costs of providing education. So while teacher salaries, a growing administration, significant pension obligations, textbooks, school supplies, and other costs continue to increase, the amount of the money supplied through property taxes remains unchanged. In essence, schools have to offer more services with few resources. This can be particularly problematic with increasing costs and an unwillingness of local or state governments and voters to increase revenue by raising property or state taxes. 

Another area for improvement is equity. Property tax revenues directed to public schools vary considerably among the fifty states and within states. Students from some states or poor areas within a state may be receiving a lower-quality education. Differences within states have led to lawsuits, and states have been sued for inequitable funding distribution. Many believe financing education with local property taxes is inequitable and should be replaced with a state or federal funding system to ensure more significant equity. On top of this, many white citizens have resisted the means that require them to finance education for colored students. More recently, though, states and the federal government have stepped in to provide more equitable funding for low-income school districts where most marginalized students reside. Lack of school funding can also directly affect the quality of education. 

Thus, school districts have to deal with growing costs and flat-budget resources. Schools cannot hire well-qualified teachers, provide the needed books and supplies, use technological resources, or even give students a safe building without adequate resources. The funding issues also affect teachers because teachers are at a high cost in education. So, there are frequent attempts to lower labor costs in education. This has recently led to high-profile-teacher strikes. However, some argue that expenditure waste caused the problem and not a lower budget. Segregation of students and funding has been an ongoing problem that has not been solved. School funding matters when it comes to students' success.

Many solutions circulate the issue of funding in the educational system, specifically, charter schools acting as a phenomenon in education. However, they attract attention and controversy because of their place in the system. Charter schools aim to provide more services with fewer resources and bring back relevancy to the quality of education. Vouchers and charter schools attempt to address educational inequality without spending more money. A significant portion of funding comes from local property taxes that do not keep pace with inflation costs. In other words, charter schools are unique in that they are government-supported but independent. Local boards draw district lines that determine which school students attend and the captive market whose single provider-or a monopoly-supplies their public school education. To break up the public school monopoly, parents must be given the option of where to send their children to school. Vouchers and, subsequently, school choice programs allow for precisely this. The government provides a specific dollar amount that parents can apply to private or parochial school tuition or part of the total cost of public school education. 

As a result, parents can send their children to any public school in a particular area. The government encourages competition by relieving families of financial burdens by bringing private schools into the education market. School selection is no longer based on school districts but on where the child might receive the desired education. Various schools might improve the education they offer to increase the size of their student body. It should be noted that many education reformers use the term school choice to encompass all reform efforts that provide parents with an option. In addition, proponents argue that the voucher system will improve the quality of all schools; to entice students to enroll, administrators will do everything they can to improve their schools and compete in this open market. The school voucher programs became politicized when opponents, who see them as unconstitutional, sued, asserting that the programs violated individuals' religious freedom and the church and state principle. 

Nonetheless, there is potential to drive the system to a more equitable pattern of educational outcomes by focusing on the current inadequacies at the bottom of the resource distribution. As a result, the more successful strategies to make student achievement comprehensible require making every dollar cost-effective. The challenges of aligning funding with broader educational goals are a constant, dynamic, and approachable public policy issue. To take the case at hand, society must consider knowledgeable and beneficial solutions to proceed best. 

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