Essay: Community Investment Lack of Investment in Education

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Community Investment

Lack of Investment in Education and Community Degradation: Why Many Social Problems Persist

There are many different expenses that a community must make sure are met in order for the basic operations and the daily lives of the individuals within that community to be carried out in a secure and productive manner. Police forces, road maintenance, utility provision, and a variety of other immediate and day-to-day concerns all cost a great deal, and with the limited revenue and assets available to many states and smaller communities it can be easy to overlook more subtle community needs. That is, things that only cause problems over the long-term and do not clamor for immediate attention can be underrepresented in community budgets, to the great detriment of the community once the problems are noticed. It is not that utilities, roads, and police are unimportant, but some of these long-term issues are actually much more fundamental to the proper and productive functioning of a community.

Education is one such community need, leading to immense long-term benefits or detriments depending on how adequately it is funded (and how effectively the funds are used, of course). Without education, the knowledge and skill level in a community remains highly limited, which means that the earning capacity and the general economic opportunities available to the community will also be limited. A lack of education also leads to a lower degree of cultural cohesion and progression, and many other concrete and more abstract community detriments, while effective education leads to successful development in all of these areas.

As will be demonstrated in this paper, not providing the proper funding for education is harmful for communities, yet it can be difficult to determine what the appropriate level of funding is and even more difficult to justify increasing revenue (i.e. taxation or bond selling/increased community debt) in order to meet these costs with other more immediate needs also requiring funding. By outlining the negative impacts that underfunding education can have on communities, it is hoped that the following argument and the research provided helps to encourage the more ample and more effective funding of education in all communities that are currently underfunded in this regard. While perhaps being seen as a budget strain in the short-term, over the long-term this increased funding for education will lead to tremendous benefits for all communities and for society as a whole.

The Negative Impacts of Underfunding

The negative impacts of inadequate or ineffective education are quite diverse, and range from very direct and concrete effects to more indirect and abstract but still quite profound detriments. In a very simple and straightforward manner, a lack of proper education leaves students without the proper skills and knowledge necessary to be successful both in higher education (which leads directly to job opportunities) and the ability to be responsible and informed citizens. These are needs commonly recognized as the purpose behind education, such as in the Colorado state constitution (Denney, par. 6). Lack of successful education thus leads to a less productive and less effective populous in the future.

On a more abstract and subtle level, education provides a means for developing critical thinking and development in terms of culture and other areas of social interaction and progression, beyond simply being a good and productive citizen to helping to shape the very fabric of the community itself through discussions of values, building understandings of others, and truly making learning and investigation a lifelong pursuit. Good education can truly help to develop better people -- people that are more connected to their world, more aware of their actions and the effects of those actions, and generally more thoughtful and open-minded. All of these things have practical benefits when it comes to building a better, stronger, and more productive community, but they also have intrinsic value. Education is thus important not only because of what it can achieve, but as an end in and of itself.

The argument for proper education should be clear, but what does this say about funding for education? Surely, money is not the only thing that a… [END OF PREVIEW]

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