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Texas Gutting Education But Spending $4 Billion to Widen 28-Mile Highway

The Lone Star State: Still not convinced that schools need money.

If you have $4.4 billion to spend, what's more important, widening a 28-mile highway or stopping devastating school budget cuts? According to the State of Texas—the same state that's subsidizing Formula One racing while preparing to lay off 100,000 teachers—the highway is the priority.

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Texas to Layoff 100,000 Teachers While Giving Millions to Formula One Racing

The Lone Star State plans to fund a race track instead of schools. Really.


Talk to any pretty much any state legislator these days and they'll tell you that they're broke because of the economic downturn, and that's why they have to slash billions from education. While it is true that states coast to coast are hurting, and there are plenty of examples of misplaced funding priorities to be found, I haven't heard one as egregious as Texas' plans to slash education budgets and layoff almost 100,000 teachers, all while agreeing to pay $25 million per year through 2022 to Formula One auto racing.

Investors are "building a 3.4-mile (5.5-kilometer) track to bring the event to Austin" and the $25 million government handout from the state will subsidize the costs Formula One will incur. The office of one of the project's main investors, Clear Channel Communications Inc. co-founder B.J. “Red” McCombs, told Bloomberg News that "Formula One race in Austin next year will spur $300 million of spending" and building the "$242 million track, which has begun, is projected to add 1,300 temporary jobs and pump $400 million into the economy."

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America Cares About Buying Guns, Not Educating Kids

America is set to spend 20 percent of our federal budget on defense and a mere 3 percent on education.

In this year's State of the Union speech, President Obama called for a "Sputnik" movement in education, and asked our nation to do what's necessary "to give every child a chance to succeed" and compete with their international peers. Sadly, the latest federal spending bill includes more than $38 billion in cuts to K-12 and higher education programs. When you look at how much we're spending on defense, it's pretty clear: Our national priority isn't really education, it's buying guns and missiles.

Indeed, on Tuesday, our culture editor Cord wrote about Swedish-based think tank SIPRI's latest report, which details that since 2001, the United States' defense spending has increased 81 percent. And, we spend almost 43 percent of the money the entire world allocates to defense.

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