Skip to comments.Union Testimony: Lower K-12 Spending State Does Better Than Michigan
Posted on 01/07/2014 5:52:47 AM PST by MichCapCon
A teacher speaking on behalf of the Michigan Education Association wandered off the union's message at a Senate committee hearing when he said Tennessee's education system performs better than Michigan's in at least one key area.
Year after year, the MEA lobbies for more money and equates spending with education quality. Larger class sizes typically rank highly on the unions complaint list and the MEA says that is a problem that comes from insufficient education spending.
But Martin Garay, a Kentwood elementary teacher and MEA member, contradicted his own union's talking point.
Garay told the Senate Compliance and Accountability Committee on Dec. 4 that large class sizes are a problem in Michigan. He used Tennessee as an example where class sizes are required to be smaller.
"Coming from the state of Tennessee where we had state laws mandating class size, the difference ... every one of those students is a life that belongs to somebody, and when you have a classroom of 23 as opposed to 29, that's six whole lives, six whole families that can be impacted. These are the things that made me want to [come testify]."
According to figures from the 2010 U.S. Census, Tennessee ranked 47th nationally in per pupil spending at $8,065. Michigan's per pupil spending was the 23rd highest in the nation at $10,664.
Garay's testimony comparing low-spending Tennessee more favorably than higher-spending Michigan seemed out of sync with that of Chandra Matafferi, a Novi teacher who also testified before the same committee on the same day in support of the MEA. In her testimony, Matafferi stuck to the traditional MEA line about Michigan not spending enough on K-12 education.
"We can do better and come together and protect adequate funding for our classrooms," Matafferi said. "We share stories of challenges in public education are harming our schools . . . our students ability to learn. As you know many of us go above and beyond our jobs and were all doing this with less and less financial support a year."
In reality, Michigan's K-12 spending has not been "less and less" each year. It has increased since 2010 and now is over $13,000 per student.
Both Garay and Matafferi were brought in by the MEA to testify at the hearing, which was part of the Senate committee's investigation of allegations that the MEA is not fully complying with the state's right-to-work law.
Tennessee has been a right-to-work state since 1947.
MEA spokesperson Nancy Knight did not respond to a request for comment.
Oops. Speaking of education. Sounds like SOMEbody is in for some RE-education.
At this point, K-12 education is maxed out with four different systems: public, private, parochial, and home schooling. Of these, the first three need to be “normalized” as far as resources, standards, and goals, in a more competitive and dynamic environment.
The way to achieve this in realistic terms is computerized individual student tracking. Such a system recognizes that students learn at different rates, and learn different subjects at different rates, and that this changes throughout their school years.
Currently, this is a longstanding problem, that teachers teaching a class at the same rate will either teach to the slowest students, or at best, deprive the faster students by teaching to mediocrity.
By individualizing things, student age grades are far more administrative and social, that is, a student is “in third grade”, with his peers, but studying at 5th grade level in Math and English, at 4th grade level in Social Studies and History, “on par” at 3rd grade level on other subjects, and still at 2nd grade level on one or two more.
And the computer can provide the student information beyond their class, to catch up in the subjects they are behind, and “reward” them with access to information beyond their grade level.
Computers can likewise review and evaluate learning, and cover so much “tailored” material so efficiently that subjects usually not taught can be introduced. That is, an enlarged curriculum.
And because students could follow different curriculum designs, as long as they had access to a computer they would not lose educational momentum from things like their family moving, sickness, or other disruptions.
The government is the answer to every single problem.
When I argue with lefties lately I keep saying that over and over and over “oh so you think THE GOVERNMENT can fix everything?”
After a while even some of them start to think “well, maybe not” and that is when I pounce and say “often THE GOVERNMENT is the SOURCE of the problems”
Schools are top heavy there are way more chiefs than indians. Everyone in a school system should have assigned classes to teach. My daughters school has a principal and an asst principal for each grade and a guidance counselor for each grade and God only knows how many other administrators for a fairly small high school then there is a whole level of bureaucracy at the district level that includes who knows how many people. Education must change because our current system is a huge failure