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The Love of Money
Jonathan Pait
May 9, 2001

A certain axiom continues to entrench itself in our community. Its genesis can be argued, but its prevalence cannot be denied. It seems to have first come into vogue among the education intelligentsia as they experimented with our national education system. Soon politicians followed suitwho where they to argue with the experts? Now it threatens to become accepted among the common citizen.
The performance of an educational system is directly proportional to the amount of money spent.
Now, typically, when a proposed axiom is introduced, those proposing the “truth” for acceptance must prove the validity of the statement. It can be argued that in certain cases a point can be made in its support. However, such cases rarely involve the public school system.

More often than not we read stories such as appeared in the April 3 New York Times : “New York City's neediest community school districts spent the most money per pupil last year and the wealthiest spent the least. … The disclosure is sure to raise questions about whether spending more in needy schools is necessary to raise performance.”

I am reminded of words of Apostle Paul to his young student Timothy, “For the love of money is the root of all evil.” Notice Paul did not say, “Money is the root of all evil.” He did say, “The love of money is the root of all evil.” (A little extra for you here; most scholars would translate the passage “is the root of all kinds of evil.”)

So, what does this biblical reference have to do with the above axiom? Simply, the money is not the issue. At issue is the philosophy behind the spending of the money. One group says, “Things are not working with the status quo. We need more money to build a better environment for our students and implement these new programs that the education establishment say are the going trend.” The other group says, “Things are not working with the status quo. Where did we go wrong? Let’s get rid of those things that are neutering our ability to produce educated children. Once we ‘clean house’ and get back to the basics we can start looking at adding icing to the cake, if we want.”

Of course, those who support the axiom would paint its challengers as saying, “Don’t take my money. Those teachers and students are just going to have to make due with what they’ve got.” Perhaps there are those on the extreme who take that position. Those I know who share my concern for our school system are not of that extreme.

Another biblical reference for you, Solomon said, “The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.” The battle between holders of these two philosophies has existed for years. It is the age-old battle between conservatives and liberals.

Until now, Greenville has been a place where the majority of voters did not accept this statement as truth. May 19th could be the day when we find that the flow of battle has shifted. The war still won’t be over, but conservative values will have lost ground and the liberals will have seized the advantage and confidence to try yet one more flanking move.

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