Thursday, July 13, 2006

$22,000 Per Student and the Schools Still Suck

In Marin County, liberal stronghold and home of American Taliban John Walker, sits little Sausalito. Joanne (see blogroll at left) reports that in upscale Sausalito they spend over $22,000 per student per year in the local schools and the performance of students still sucks.

You can go read Joanne's post; I'm going to quote one of her commenters here:

But the point is that bags of money, contrary to the never ending complaints by supporters of the status quo, won't do the job. Not that we need this further datapoint but it's nice to have the observation confirmed, again.

Also, it's my opinion that elevation-by-osmosis is a crock as well. Just dragging kids twenty or thirty miles so they can rub up against all those suburban kids, with their disciplined and purposeful life (yeah, right), is both patronizing and unsupported by any evidence.

The problem isn't that there are struggling urban schools. The problem is that there are urban school districts. A couple of cities may be trembling on the edge of addressing that problem. Bloomberg wants to do an end-around the state legislature which won't officially raise the charter cap by creating defact charters and the mayor of Indianapolis has gone to the state legislature to get the city district rolled into the municipal government.

It'd be nice to have a reason for the continued existance of school districts other then inertia and political will but I don't think there is one.

I'm sure the NEA and CTA can concoct reasons why even more money should be spent on these kids. And I'll only mention in passing that direct instruction with standards-based curricula might help here....


EllenK said...

I agree, the amount is ridiculous. But then again, look at programs that have been federally inflicted on public schools such as ESL, free lunch and special needs programs. On our campus we have TWO Special Ed teachers and an aide, plus a car paid for by district funds for transportation to therapy for TWO students. The girls are profoundly retarded, and although their parents certainly win out on getting them services through the district, the financial outlay for services is absurd. I hate to sound cold, but at some point the schools cannot serve students and its only the feds at the courts behest that make these situations exist. If you took the total amount spent on just those two students and applied that to getting three more regular classroom teachers, you would lower the student teacher ratio, or provide more books or do any number of things for the average students. I think the reason so many parents try to get their children identified as either gifted or special ed is because that is the only way they get any measure of meaningful attention. I know SpEd teachers do a great job and for most students it makes it where they can move past school, but in some cases, it's not the best use of funds.

freethinker_LIRN said...

I think this exposes how naively the stereotypical liberal thinks, in terms of solutions to complex issues. Their solution to everything? throw tax payer money at it and it'll eventually go away, or (more importantly) at least they'll look like they "care".