I have never understood the logic of comparing education spending to defense spending.My reply (no caps b/c I started it in comment mode and then thought 'wait, this turned into a post!' ;-)
So we spend more on defense? So what? That critique has nothing do say about the quality of either.
But I can play the game, too: I spend more on Peanut M&Ms in a year than I do on jewelry for Kellsey. Now, tell me: is that bad?
The question around dollars and education and defense is: are we getting our money's worth? In defense, I leave that up to you, Sean. ;-) But I'd say being the most dominant military in the world means we might be getting some of our value out of the spending.
In public education? I think not, but I lay the blame squarely at the feet of a bloated bureaucratic superstructure and Teachers Unions, not because there is insufficient funding.
it seems obvious to me, Macon, that the comparison b/t defense and education is supposed to be a comparison of priorities (self-evidently bad priorities to those who make the argument). however, you make a very good point: it's not apples to apples.
we do have the world's biggest gun, and it is worth something, not only for our own defense but also for the elimination of great power war. no one is really challenging us as military superpower. China's growing their military, but they can't compete (eg, they have almost no expeditionary capability). Russia's trying to recapitalize, but the economic downturn and their Georgian aggression are limiting them somewhat.
(tangential point: at the same time, no, we're not getting our money's worth. taxpayer money could be invested much better, like all government enterprises (oh, wait. i'm playing right into your anti-tax hands! ;-))
the bloated bureaucratic superstructure applies to defense and education.
hypothesis: Sean's Law: more money is wasted the further away it gets from the taxpayer. discuss.
in my mind, the biggest problem with education is societal, especially the lack of interested, supportive, involved parents.