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A Lesson in Education Hyperbole
Townhall.com ^ | March 9, 2013 | Ed Feulner

Posted on 03/09/2013 6:41:46 AM PST by Kaslin

Dire predictions about the fate of certain government programs were hardly in short supply recently, as sequester-related budget cuts loomed. So it was hardly a surprise when Education Secretary Arne Duncan got in on the act.

“It just means a lot more children will not get the kinds of services and opportunities they need, and as many as 40,000 teachers could lose their jobs,” he said in an interview with Face the Nation. “There are literally teachers now who are getting pink slips, who are getting notices that they can’t come back this fall.”

Turns out, though, that it isn’t true. Glenn Kessler at The Washington Post confirmed this in a fact-check column that awarded Duncan no fewer than four “Pinocchios” for this whopper.

“Oddly, however, the Education Department for days was unable to cough up the name of a single school district where these notices had been delivered,” he wrote. “Then, on Wednesday, Duncan appeared before the White House press corps and produced a name -- Kanawha County in West Virginia -- with a major league caveat. ‘Whether it’s all sequester-related, I don’t know,’ he said.”

Facts matter. They may ruin your PR spin, or fly in the face of your talking points, but they can’t be ignored. And the facts are this: We’ve been hiring new teachers over the last four decades at a clip that far outpaces the increase in students.

From 1970 to 2010, student enrollment in the nation’s public schools increased by only 7.8 percent. The number of teachers, however, increased by 60 percent.

And even that number is dwarfed by the increase in non-teaching staff positions that occurred during that time: 138 percent. That’s right -- it more than doubled, despite the fact that the percentage of students was going up by a very small amount.

“Twenty-one ‘Top-Heavy States’ employ fewer teachers than other non-teaching personnel,” according to a new report by the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice that focuses on the worst offenders. “Thus, those 21 states have more administrators and other non-teaching staff on the public payroll than teachers. Virginia ‘leads the way’ with 60,737 more administrators and other non-teaching staff than teachers in its public schools.”

Certainly puts a new light on those predictions about a parade of pink slips.

The fact is, real federal spending per pupil has nearly tripled since the 1970s. And as education expert Lindsey Burke of The Heritage Foundation points out, there are plenty of places for the budget axe to fall without hampering education in the slightest.

Consider Head Start, the nation’s flagship pre-school federal program. Taxpayers have spent more than $180 billion on this program since it began in 1965; it currently costs $8 billion a year. Yet a recent evaluation by the Department of Health and Human Services, which shows “little to no effect on cognitive, social-emotional, health, or parenting outcomes” on the participating children -- suggests very little return on that investment. It’s also rife with fraud and abuse, with staff misreporting income to enroll more students.

There are plenty of duplicative or ineffective education programs that could be cut as well, such as: • Native Hawaiian Education Program ($34 million annually) • Alaska Native Education Equity Program ($33 million annually) • Foreign Language Assistance Program ($26.9 million annually) • High School Graduation Initiative (Dropout Prevention) Program ($50 million annually)

The list goes on and on. There are 150 federal education programs, in fact. And that’s on top of state and local spending, which comprises the bulk of all education funds.

The unfortunate thing is not that budget cuts are occurring. As the deficit continues to soar, it’s clear that they’re badly needed. No, the problem is that they’re not being targeted more effectively.

The nation’s teachers have proliferated a great deal over the last several decades. So have many programs that should have been expelled long ago.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial
KEYWORDS: arneduncan; education; hyperbole; sequestration

1 posted on 03/09/2013 6:41:46 AM PST by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin

>>From 1970 to 2010, student enrollment in the nation’s public schools increased by only 7.8 percent.

That’s all??? I didn’t believe it and had to look it up. You are right.

Here’s an interesting table:
http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=65

Homeschooling is not covered. Here’s an interesting chart for that:
http://www.intellectualtakeout.org/library/chart-graph/homeschool-population-growth-1983-2000


2 posted on 03/09/2013 8:23:04 AM PST by generally (Don't be stupid. We have politicians for that.)
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To: generally

I still don’t believe it. In 1970, we had just crossed 200 million for our population. We are now well over 300 million. And I never once taught at a school that wasn’t growing by at least 10% every 2-4 years.


3 posted on 03/09/2013 9:01:31 AM PST by Teacher317 ('Tis time to fear when tyrants seem to kiss.)
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To: Teacher317

“I still don’t believe it. In 1970, we had just crossed 200 million for our population. We are now well over 300 million. And I never once taught at a school that wasn’t growing by at least 10% every 2-4 years.

Me too.

But look at this:

http://www.childstats.gov/americaschildren/tables/pop1.asp

The total number of children in the US increased from 69.8M in 1970 to 76.1M in 2012, and even that looks like a quirk as it was about 74.0M for the prior 5 years. So, even with the high number, it’s only 9% more. Now home schooling is taking 3% of that number, so (assuming no change in private schooling) - the increase would be right around 6%.

The population of this country has grown greatly due to people living longer and immigration (i.e., family unification). The fact that we can’t seem to have kids in the numbers that we did does not bode well, at all, for our future.


4 posted on 03/09/2013 10:54:33 AM PST by BobL (Look up "CSCOPE" if you want to see something really scary)
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To: BobL
The fact that we can’t seem to have kids in the numbers that we did does not bode well, at all, for our future.

But it's great for those in the Education racket, because they can have those secure government jobs with great benefits without ever having to see an actual child, except when holding a media event to demand more money.

5 posted on 03/09/2013 12:15:54 PM PST by Tax-chick (Don't panic until Rrrod panics.)
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To: Teacher317

Well, when you consider the tens of millions of aborted babies since 1973, and that much of our population growth over the past 20 years has been from immigration (illegal and legal) while birthrates have dropped, it’s not that outrageous. It sounds like you were teaching in districts that had a good bit of people moving in from outside.

}:-)4


6 posted on 03/09/2013 12:29:05 PM PST by Moose4 (SHALL. NOT. BE. INFRINGED.)
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To: Moose4; Teacher317

School districts hide their falling overall student numbers by operating (usually) center-city schools far below reasonable student capacity, but packed with employees, while operating more-successful suburban schools way over student capacity, and also packed with employees.

My county district is practically paying students to go to Monroe High School (motto, “If you’re scared, go somewhere else, wimp.”) ... and yet, there are only a couple of high schools (out of more than two dozen) in the neighboring urban county with better student results than Monroe High’s.


7 posted on 03/09/2013 3:05:47 PM PST by Tax-chick (Don't panic until Rrrod panics.)
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To: Kaslin

Those 21 top heavy states, very liberal states mostly I bet


8 posted on 03/09/2013 3:16:24 PM PST by GeronL (http://asspos.blogspot.com)
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To: GeronL
It's not that simple. Some of the states are "liberal" in the sense of heavy Democrat voting (Oregon), and some are not (Utah). From the Friedman Foundation site:

It found that, in 2009, administrators and other non-teaching staff outnumbered teachers in Virginia, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Colorado, Oregon, Maine, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Mexico, Louisiana, Wyoming, Vermont, Utah, Georgia, Alaska, New Hampshire, Iowa, and the District of Columbia, which is treated as a state in the report.

9 posted on 03/09/2013 4:32:51 PM PST by Tax-chick (Don't panic until Rrrod panics.)
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To: Tax-chick

Anyways public education is stillpublic education no matter what state they are located, look at the recent stories from Texas


10 posted on 03/09/2013 4:43:29 PM PST by GeronL (http://asspos.blogspot.com)
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To: GeronL

Education as an occupation is overwhelmingly chosen by liberals.


11 posted on 03/10/2013 7:24:47 AM PDT by Tax-chick (Don't panic until Rrrod panics.)
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