Guns vs. Schools: The Onion Satirizes Our National Spending Priorities

Posted by Liz Dwyer

protests.war.economy

The education funding crisis facing our nation's schools has caught the attention of The Onion. In a new piece, "Budget Mix-Up Provides Nation's Schools With Enough Money To Properly Educate Students," their writers expertly skewer just how screwed up our national priorities really are—especially when it comes to defense funding and education funding. 

Sources in the Congressional Budget Office reported that as a result of a clerical error, $80 billion earmarked for national defense was accidentally sent to the Department of Education, furnishing schools with the necessary funds to buy new textbooks, offer more academic resources, hire better teachers, promote student achievement, and foster educational excellence—an oversight that apologetic officials called a "huge mistake."

And what is the response to this disastrous mistake—one that none of us can ever imagine happening in real life?

"Obviously, we did not intend for this to happen, and we are doing everything in our power to right the situation and discipline whoever is responsible," said House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI), expressing remorse for the error. "I want to apologize to the American people. The last thing we wanted was for schools to upgrade their technology and lower student-to-teacher ratios in hopes of raising a generation of well-educated, ambitious, and skilled young Americans."

The piece goes on to make fun of House Speaker John Boehner, who's quoted as saying, "Once these kids learn to read and think critically, you can never undo that. In 20 years, we could be looking at a nightmare scenario in which vast segments of our populace are fully prepared to compete in the new global marketplace."

Unfortunately, the real-life impact of the financial crisis hitting our nation's schools is no joke.

State budgets are tight everywhere thanks to the economic downturn, and, sadly, the books are being balanced on the backs of schoolchildren. Just think, if $80 billion could be funneled from defense into education, we wouldn't have school districts planning a four-day school week, 30,000 teachers in California wouldn't be pink slipped, and kids wouldn't feel the need to empty their piggy banks to save teaching jobs.

photo (cc) via Flickr user Fibonacci Blue