Rethinking expenditures and policy priorities

The National Association of Science Teachers reports that we currently have approximately 180,000 science teachers in middle schools and high schools. We could replace all of them (which I hasten to add is not necessary) and give their successors full 4-year scholarships as science majors to the State University of New York (where in-state tuition and fees run about $7,000 per year) for less than half the cost of a single $11 billion Nimitz Class aircraft carrier. With the money left over, we could buy new inquiry-based science curricula for every elementary and middle school, train all existing elementary school teachers on the new Next Generation Science Standards, and provide high-quality professional development for every math teacher in the country.

Harold Levy via

3 Responses to “Rethinking expenditures and policy priorities”

  1. Tough sell. One aircraft carrier or a future? Or are both options here about a future?

    Mine has been such a sheltered life that I have a hard time thinking so much money should be spent on defense. But then again, maybe that’s because so much money has been spent on defense.

  2. Here’s a similar tidbit also with defense comparison I stumbled on researching a paper.

    “The Pentagon is buying 2,443 F-35 joint strike fighters…If we just bought seven fewer F-35s, we could buy a handheld computer tablet for every first-grader in America.” Jim Toedtman

    • That’s not actually true, most of the cost is R&D, which is why the cost per item looks ridiculous (using the same type of analysis shows that GM loses almost $40,000 per Chevy Volt sold… the R&D is not paid for by sales of one product). The marginal cost increase is always much smaller. The costs and expenditures are ridiculous, but we should at least be honest in attacking it.
      What I think is far more disturbing is the “we can’t afford ____” mentality. Look at the actual GDP per capita now vs. the 1970s, 80s or 90s. In inflation adjusted dollars 1970 was less than $5000, 1980 was $12000, 2010 was $46,000. The difference was how much of that GDP was/is going to Public Good and how much is going to the Plutocracy. The rich got very rich and everyone else has suffered.

Leave a Reply to Darren Draper