"Would you ever be prepared to see all those extra-curricular school
activities that you enjoyed and your children would enjoy flushed so
that the schools would then have the money to hire enough extra
teachers to see their working time spent in front of a class cut
almost in half and thus their working time spent not in front of a
class almost doubled, even if the standards in terms of minimum
requirements to become a teacher became the highest in the world?
Are you telling me that Finnish students don't play sports? Japanese students don't play baseball?
This is a good discussion, about where the money goes and why teachers can't get a raise. I personally would have voted for teacher raises before iPads. Actually, I would have voted for a dozen things before iPads. But when we have this discussion we can't mix apples and grapefruit. It is pretty safe to assume that Finland and Japan have sports programs for their children and these sports programs are funded, but they are not funded through the school budgets. It is also safe to assume that the same people that pay the school budget pay the sports budget and that the don't pay the same money twice (the school budget is less due to the absence of sports).
This is like comparing Finish taxes to American taxes, without comparing the income statements of a Finnish citizen to that of an American citizen you can't make such a comparison. For example, Finland has nationalized health care, we on the other hand pay for healthcare (or insurance) ourselves. In Finland, college and living expenses are covered, here, we must pay for them.
Over the last few decades, public school has become public social service (in this country). First you had Title 1, then IDEA, then Title IX. Free lunch, free breakfast, NCLB, etc, etc. I am not picking on any one of these things individually, but they all cost money. We pay taxes. We pay health care. We pay college tuition. If you can't get any more money from us (the taxpayer) then won't you have to eventually reevaluate all of the "other" stuff eating up school budgets? Or move to Finland.