Education Presidents And Governors: Ain’t Gonna Happen

In last week’s State of the Union speech, President Obama put great emphasis on expanding early childhood education. He’s not alone in recognizing the vital role of education as the launching pad for 21st century growth. George W. Bush wanted to be known as the “education president,” and so did his father, George H.W. Bush.

Many governors have similar aspirations. Jerry Brown, for instance, has gotten headlines for his efforts to restore the California university system to its former high status. State support for higher education has fallen dramatically there, particularly as a share of the budget and of Californians’ incomes but also in real terms. Brown even supported a tax increase to try to reverse this trend.

While I strongly support these types of effort, right now pro-education governors and the president are fighting a losing battle. Their new initiatives merely slow down their retreat against a health cost juggernaut.

California isn’t much different from many other states. The college bound and their parents witness this declining state support in the form of ever-rising costs and student debt. Less recognized is the fall in academic rankings of the nation’s leading public universities, such as many of the formerly extolled California universities and my own alma mater, the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

State support of education hasn’t just declined at postsecondary schools. In recent years, legislators have assigned K–12 education smaller shares of state budgets as well. During the recession, teachers were laid off and not replaced in many states. Efforts to expand early childhood education have also stalled, although the president’s initiative may give it some temporary momentum.

Federal spending policies only reinforce the longer-term anti-education trend. An annual Urban Institute study on the children’s budget suggests future continual declines in total federal support for education as long as current policies and laws hold up.

Education spending will continue to decline as long as health costs keep rising rapidly and eating up so much of the additional government revenues that accompany economic growth. The figure below, prepared by National Governors Association (NGA) Executive Director Dan Crippen and presented by his deputy, Barry Anderson, at a recent National Academy of Social Insurance conference, tells much of the state story: health costs essentially squeeze out almost everything else.

State education

Fiscal 2011 data based on enacted budgets; fiscal 2012 data based on governor’s proposed budgets
Source: National Association of State Budget Officers, as presented by Dan Crippen, National Governors Association

These rising health costs don’t just place a squeeze on government budgets; they also are one source of the paltry growth in median household cash income over recent decades.

Within states, health costs show up primarily in the Medicaid budget. As the NGA numbers demonstrate, recent federal health reform did little and is expected to do little to control these state costs, despite large, mainly federally financed subsidies for expanding the number of people eligible for benefits.

With populations aging, state and federal governments now also face demographic pressures to increase their health budgets. Large shares of the Medicaid budget go for long-term and similar support for the elderly and the disabled. This budgetary threat also extends to revenues as larger shares of the population retire, earn less, and pay fewer taxes.

The next time someone tells you that we should wait another ten years to control health costs because we’ll be so much smarter and less partisan then, remind him or her that this procrastinating implicitly advocates further zeroing out state and federal spending on education—and the children’s budget more generally. Presidents and governors will never succeed with their education initiatives until they stop the health cost juggernaut in its tracks.

26 Comments on “Education Presidents And Governors: Ain’t Gonna Happen”

  1. Aleen Pate says:

    The progression of the education system starting with the basic K-12 system then progressing through post-secondary education. K-14 refers to K-12 plus 2 years of post-secondary where training was received from vocational technical institutions or comminuty or junior colleges. The K numbers refer to the years of educational attainment and continues to progress upward accordingly depending on the degree being sought…;’*

    http://www.healthmedicinebook.comKeep it up

  2. We need to fund a larger child tax credit at the expense of the mortgage interest and property tax deductions. As for health care, either single payer or directly provided healthcare by employers will be required to lower costs (or a hybrid of the two where companies with their own doctors can opt out of part of the taxes to fund single payer – which would have to be funded with employer rather than income taxes).

  3. Magnificent site. Plenty of helpful information here. I am sending it to a few buddies ans additionally sharing in delicious. And obviously, thanks for your sweat!

  4. more info

    very interesting subject , great post.

  5. Nice article.thanks for sharing this info

  6. i love your site keep up the good work

  7. Valuable info. Lucky me I discovered your site by chance, and I’m shocked why this accident did not took place earlier! I bookmarked it.

  8. Major says:

    It’s awesome for me to have a site, which is valuable in favor of my knowledge.
    thanks admin

  9. Hello there, I found your website by way of Google whilst looking for a
    related subject, your site came up, it appears to
    be like great. I’ve bookmarked it in my google bookmarks.
    Hi there, simply became aware of your blog thru Google, and located that it is
    really informative. I’m gonna watch out for brussels.
    I will appreciate should you proceed this in future.
    Lots of other folks shall be benefited out of your writing.


  10. Since they consider clients as their foremost
    priority and are totally customer focused. These contain
    married drivers who are around twenty five years ancient, individuals in respectable professions like lawyers, doctors and engineers.
    You can ask the company for referral check and
    talk to their past customers directly to know about the company
    and its services.

  11. site says:

    ‘ After graduating from college, Einstein didn’t locate a job
    associated with his field, physics. Regardless of whether it is workplace politics
    deciding who gets that increase you’ve been dreaming about metropolis politics determining in which
    you are entitled to park downtown county politics dictating
    your quarterly property tax as well as nationwide politics determining how your colleges are funded, politics plays an important part with your everyday life.

    Keep your vision and ears open for virtually any new site
    polices regarding this issue.

  12. big trucks says:

    This post is actually a fastidious one it assists new web viewers, who are
    wishing for blogging.

  13. I enjoy reading a post that can make people think. Also,
    many thanks for allowing me to comment!

  14. It has been simply tremendously open-handed with you
    giving unreservedly just what many of us could have made available as an e
    book to help make some money for themselves, and in particular
    since you might well have tried it if you ever
    wanted. The smart ideas also worked as the great way to fully grasp
    that the rest have a similar keenness similar to my very own to know the truth
    a little more with regard to this condition.
    I think there are numerous more fun moments up front for individuals that take
    a look at your website.

  15. MrQ says:

    Nice article.thanks for sharing this info

  16. Levi says:

    Hello, of course this piece of writing is really fastidious and I have
    learned lot of things from it on the topic of blogging.

  17. Louisa says:

    These are genuinely impressive ideas in concerning blogging.
    You have touched some nice things here. Any way keep up wrinting.

  18. Hello, Neat write-up. You will find there’s downside to your web site within ie, may perhaps test this particular? For example even now is definitely the current market key along with a beneficial component men and women will leave from the fantastic writing because of this problem.

  19. There is definately a lot to learn about this subject.
    I like all the points you made.

  20. Hi colleagues, how is everything, and wat you desire to say concerning this paragraph, inn my view its really amazing in
    favor of me.

  21. I’m not sure why but this website is loading extremely slow for me.
    Is anyone else having this issue or is it a problem on my end?
    I’ll check back later and see if the problem still

    my web-site: ask fm pirater

  22. Great post however I was wanting to know if you could write a litte more on this subject?

    I’d be very thankful if you could elaborate a little bit more.

    Also visit my webpage … Free Google Play Redeem Codes

  23. Terra says:

    Excellent post. I’m dealing with a few of these issues as well..

  24. Amazing issues here. I’m very glad to peer your post.

    Thanks so much and I am having a look forward to contact you.
    Will you please drop me a e-mail?

  25. Very good write-up. I absolutely love this site.
    Keep it up!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.