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Letter: Public susceptible to tax increase for education

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Note: The statements, views, and opinions contained in this letter to the editor are those of the author and are not endorsed by, nor do they necessarily reflect, the opinions of The Republic.

From: Drew Robertson


Those who believe that an addendum to the upcoming referendum on a tax increase explaining that it is for education will increase its likelihood of passage are almost certainly correct. The public is very susceptible to this argument; Hoosiers with long memories will recall that the lottery was sold to us with just this pitch.

One reason for this broad acceptance is that the public is grossly uninformed on current education spending. In recent surveys by the Brookings Institution, the public underestimated K-12 per pupil spending by 45 percent to 60 percent.

(Teachers underestimated it by 40 percent). Fifty-six percent of those respondents supported increasing education spending.

Here’s a useful figure that should be easy to recall. In 2012 the U.S. spent about $12,000 per student for primary and secondary education.

When given this figure, many people apparently conclude that schools should make do with the current level of spending. Support for increasing it plummets to 38 percent.

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