Straightening out the ‘facts’
Dear Editor:Chase Putnam’s letter, published under the headline “Disconcerting facts” (Letters to the Editor, Dec. 5) contains some statements that are in fact NOT facts. When I read the claim that the “U.S. spends an astonishing $6.4 billion on the education of your children” I thought that figure couldn’t be right. It isn’t.According to the U.S. Department of Education website, the U.S. spent $536 billion on K-12 education in the school year 2004-05. That is, if my math is right, nearly $17,000 per second – considerably higher than the $3,000 per second Mr. Putnam says we spend in Iraq. The Department of Education alone spent $38 billion on K-12 education in the fiscal year 2005-06. If you included higher education, the number would be truly “astonishing.”Now, Mr. Putnam was trying to make a point and used “false facts” in his effort to make you think. I don’t want to debate the merits of the Iraq war, but I do want to declare that his efforts to make it “either national defense or education” is, like almost every effort to cast choice as “either/or,” the wrong question and a false choice. The right policy response is almost always “both/and.” But more to the point, anyone trying to “open everyone’s eyes” needs to at least get their facts straight – I don’t believe the facts are disconcerting at all.R. Barry CrookAspen
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