As a civilized country, our main asset isn't our currency or as we have seen of late, our economy. Instead, it is domain-specific knowledge we have discovered, developed and improved over the years in Engineering, Medicine, etc. Anyone might benefit directly or indirectly from this research and know-how. Our governments continue to hope for the next incandescent bulb, steamship, or even telephone, and for this reason, large sums of money are being "spent" on research.
However, research goes hand-in-hand with education. If there is one thing governments should be focusing on, is improving education. Utah wants to make 12th grade optional. Following their reasoning, society would gain too little from an extra year of high-school compared to how much it actually costs. They don't deny the advantage of research, or that of education.
My question is simple: why not review the high-school curriculum, in the hope of producing more researchers, engineers or doctors, instead of cutting budgets?
Their reasons might be threefold: given the recent economic crisis, they need to tighten up their budgets. Secondly, they choose to go for an instant win, by improving the balance sheet, and risking losing their economic edge in the long term. Thirdly, aren't ignorant masses easier to control than those able to form an educated opinion?