Skip to comments.Education Spending Has a Simple Solution
Posted on 03/22/2011 7:56:59 AM PDT by Kaslin
As the new Republican House majority wrestles with ways to cut our unsustainable budget deficit, Barack Obama threw down the gauntlet. On March 14, he said, "We cannot cut education."
But why not? If we are going to cut programs that are proven to have failed to achieve their goals, federal spending on education should be at the top of the list.
Federal spending on public schools (which is only a small percentage of their school budgets) was given specific goals in the 2002 law called "No Child Left Behind," the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. It required states to set targets to have all students proficient in reading and math by 2014, to meet an annual benchmark of progress toward this goal and in particular to demonstrate a closing or narrowing of the gap between higher-income and minority students.
Education Secretary Arne Duncan threw a cannonball into the education debate this month by admitting that 82 percent of public schools could be labeled "failing" under No Child Left Behind specifications. His solution is to stop calling them "failing," extend the target date for student proficiency to 2020 and, of course, to appropriate more money to failed programs.
For years, education spokesmen have opined that kids should be able to read by the fourth grade. Good for Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who is now calling for the reading goal to be third grade -- and this goal is also being advocated by the Indiana and New Mexico governors.
Obama wants to put more money into the notoriously useless program called Head Start, and he increased its annual funding in 2009 by nearly $3 billion. U.S. taxpayers have given Head Start $166 billion of taxpayers' money since 1965 despite many studies proving that it was mostly wasted, did not give poor kids a head start and any gains made while kids were in Head Start disappeared within a couple of years.
Since conservatives famously lost the battle to prevent federal spending on local public schools (which they view as unconstitutional) a half century ago, Congress has year after year increased appropriations. In recent years, Congress identified two primary purposes: to raise student achievement and to narrow the gap between high- and low-income students and between minority and white students.
We the federal taxpayers have spent roughly $2 trillion on these efforts since 1965. It's reasonable to ask, did we get our money's worth?
If we look at the class that graduated from the public schools in 2009, we find that we spent over $151,000 per student to bring him from the first to the 12th grade. That's nearly three times as much as we spent on the graduating class of 1970.
Despite that massive spending, overall achievement has stagnated or declined. The gaps between minority and white students are unchanged in science and only slightly narrowed in reading and math.
We have precious little to show for the $2 trillion in federal education spending over the past half-century, and Andrew J. Coulson of CATO has the charts to prove it. It now costs three times as much to provide essentially the same education as we provided in 1970.
Even this bad news fails to give the big picture because, as productivity was falling in public schools, it was rising everywhere else. Nearly all the products and services most of us buy have gotten better, more affordable or both over the past two generations.
The fact that there is no education improvement even while spending has skyrocketed is a disaster unparalleled in any other field. In addition to the waste, this gigantic spending slowed our economic growth by taxing trillions of dollars out of the productive sector of the economy and squandering it on worthless programs.
Knowing that learning to read is fundamental to education, the public-school lobby is yelping about proposed cuts in grants for literacy programs. Yes, literacy should be job number one, but after all these years why do we have to go to the unnecessary expense of passing out money to find a good reading program?
Children should be taught to read in the first grade by an authentic phonics system in which they learn the sounds and syllables of the English language and how to put them together to read words of more than one syllable. There is nothing expensive or mysterious about this basic task.
Instead of wasting more federal money on grant-writers and grant-readers, tell local districts to award a bonus to first-grade teachers based on how many kids they actually teach to read. Let the teacher select the phonics system she thinks will help her win the bonus.
simpler solution. shut down Jimmy Carter’s Dept. of Education.
Instead, we have a permanent colony of illiterate slaves and entitled parasites.
People send their kids to private school or homeschool.
Trust Phyllis Schafly to be the turd in the liberal punch-bowl.
They HATE her because she points out their obvious failures that others, for some reasons (political correctness, etc.) are afraid to do.
Yes, close it down on every level!
If all government schools were to close tomorrow, the **same** children who are being educated today would be educated tomorrow. Why? Because the **only** children who are being educated today are either afterschooled or homeschooled.
Personally...I have never met an academically successful child who wasn't either afterschooled or homeschooled. The only thing the government schools are doing is sending home a taxpayer supported curriculum.
To all Freepers:
Do your own experiment. Ask parents of academically successful children what they and their children are doing **in the home** and **outside of school**. You will find that both successfully educated home and after schooled children live in homes that share the same values, many of the same home routines, and spend the **same** amount of **time** at the kitchen table or at the child's desk!
Even with the foreign parents that I meet. If their child is academically successful these parents have recruited relatives, older children, friends, and neighbors to help. Many of their children are in after-school study clubs and church tutoring programs.
So?....If the only thing that government schools are doing is sending home a tuition-free curriculum and providing day care, why are we spending $10,000 to $25,000 a year per child for a curriculum and day care?
>>>There is nothing expensive or mysterious about this basic task.<<<
I’m a teacher, and let me tell you something from down here in the trenches. This statement is true about everything that I do.
Good teaching requires a knowledgeable person with focused lessons and disciplined kids. But here’s an open secret known to many teachers.
It’s called Bloom’s Two-Sigma Problem. Bloom was a famous educator who came up with something called a taxonomy of learning. He also discovered this: if a student is taught one-on-one with a teacher, they score two standard deviations higher on a standardized test than a student taught in a typical classroom. The “problem” is how to get those results in a classroom with 25 kids.
Bloom’s “problem” is the strength of homeschooled kids. If we wanted to get really high achievement, we’d have a student-teacher ratio of 1:1. This approximates the homeschooling environment.
Of course, there are many situations where this can’t be done, and maybe there are arguments for teaching student en masse for some purposes. Educators know about the Two-Sigma Problem, though, and won’t talk about its implications.
And Schlafly’s right about the waste of money. Privatization can’t come fast enough. I’d thrive; the crappy teacher would go back to delivering pizzas. But homeschooling is the best option if you can do it, in my opinion.
Yes. And end the laws that threaten parents with fines and / or prison for not exposing their children to government-approved curriculums.
The government knows that if they stop providing "free" public education, they would not continue to penalize parents for not getting their kids into government-approved curriculums.
Would they ?
This was supposed to be a free country. Children are the responsibility of the parents, Period.
Government, get out of our business !
Actually, it's worse than that -- led by the minority "com-MUNE-a-tee's" (that's how the word is pronounced, when the speaker means minorities only), the citizenry is decomposing into a fetid mass of ignorant criminals. And the rot is spreading; you can see it in white kids who dress in banger clothes and listen to rap, but even moreso in statistics on crime, education, and teen pregnancy.
Less-educated people don't read, they don't correct their kids, they (and even UMC couples) don't make rules at home and enforce them. They let kids grow up like weeds -- and the commercial interests love that, it opens up the kids to their venal pitches for junk, and Jolt Cola, and ultimately for a life of drugs, crime, and delivery pizza. How can parents do that, if they love them? What's wrong?
How do you get a free people out of a mass of functional illiterates who swill Jolt and can't pass a citizenship exam? The late-night kids on ABC News Monday night ran that one by -- the public selected at random were failing the citizenship exam USG gives prospective citizens at a 38% rate, after education. How can we let people like that vote? It's a powerful argument for literacy tests and poll taxes, frankly.
And don't get me started on immigration. For which employers are responsible 70% AFAIC, and Lyndon B. Johnson the other 30% -- he started this. On purpose. Multiple attempts. He and his floor manager, Teddy Kennedy.
Please read my #7.
I've known large homeschooling families with 10 or more children. One very successful family had **14** children!
From speaking with these large homeschooling families and observing them, it seems that they have many of the qualities of a one-room school. The older children are recruited to help teach and supervise the younger. There is a great deal of emphasis on teaching phonics and traditional arithmetic. Once the child is a fluent reader he is **expected** to be a self-directed learning and autodidact, and, surprisingly, they are!
Prior to the 1950’s weren't most American educated in one room schools? Maybe that is why we had higher rates of literacy in those years. My mother who attended Catholic school in inner city Philadelphia went to a school that had on four classes, two grades per class.
By the way,....When our Founding Fathers spoke of education, they likely had their own educational experiences in mind. This included:
private tutoring as needed
one room schools organized by parents
dame schools in the homes of neighbors
home-based academies to prepare the brightest ( who could afford it) for entrance into college in the very early teens.
Think about it.
If a teacher were to run a dame school in her home, and had 10 children of various ages, She could make $30,000 to $40,000 per year for a 9 month school year. Add to that, day care before and after school and summer, and this would be a reasonable living for a teacher. If the teacher were to bring in help for after school art, theater, dance, and music lessons that would be even more income.
Excellent post. The left elitists want poor public schools because they want a dependent constituency. They doggedly oppose the establishment of charter schools in poor areas of cities, despite the fact that the locals want them.
Even affluent parents have been convinced by liberals that it is best to leave their children’ s upbringing to the schools. I hope that the ongoing spectacle in Wisconsin has at least some of them throwing up.
Bingo. I’m disappointed the Phyllis didn’t simply call for complete privatization of education. Pay tuition at the institution of your choice, or seek private charity.