16 September 2010

More Money for Public Schools! Not.

I still maintain that the best way to improve any community in this country is to cut both the public school budget and the police budget in half.

KMOV's Craig Cheatham ran
a story tonight about the excessive salaries pulled down by many area prison school wardens superintendents. You don't see as many "progressives" lamenting the Potemkin-CEO compensation packages scored by these public servants. Check out the interactive map on the website to survey the relative looting.

The big winner in the Superintendent lottery comes from the 5,000 student Kirkwood school district, who draws a $242,000 annual salary, plus $42,000 in benefits, and a $500 a month transportation allowance.

I don't know if this compensation package makes his district's graduates any less likely to mindlessly follow the socialist diktats implanted by the state into its other (re)education programs. Maybe.

(But don't worry-- public education is


Anonymous said...

I agree that the public schools are bad, even intrinsically. I have been discovering traditional catholiccism in the past year and a half and also attend the oratory. While I share your view that the public schools are bad, this is the source of income for my family without which, my wife and children would be homeless. While reading the "Church and the Libertarian", this source of employment is even more difficult for me because it contradicts Catholic Social Teaching in its Traditional sense.
If you wish to see the public schools abolished, I hope that at the same time, you are praying for the employees as well as the children since this IS the situation in which we presently find ourselves.

thetimman said...

I think you are too hard on yourself and the schools. I don't believe public schools are intrinsically bad, regardless of the major problems in this particular system. Parents are still the primary educators no matter what, and sometimes it impossible to school at home or privately. In such a situation it just requires vigilance and care. So it can't be intrinsically wrong to teach there either.

Haven't read the Ferrara book yet, though it's on my list.

I think the public schools have too much money and especially for the product. Both are issues, but together they're really bad.

Rachel Gray said...

If the media wasn't so useless, they'd offer more stats to accompany stories like this, such as: the average amount spent per student on public schools in the past, and the average amount today (adjusted for inflation). Better yet, they should show a graph from 1960 to the present, with costs skyrocketing on one line, and test scores plummeting on another line. It wouldn't be fair to blame poor student performance entirely on schools; the breakdown of families is probably the primary cause. But such a graph would at least help everyone get it through his head that we're not being stingy with our public schools, and whatever problems we have certainly can't be blamed on a shortage of money.

Anonymous said...


Admit it, you're trying to pull my chain.


Proud SLPS Parent


I agree with the Timman, you are being far too hard on yourself. The public schools are full of people like yourself, caring, wanting to do the right thing. While public schools may have been built to inculcate youth with whatever ideas the government wants, when has government ever accomplished what it set out to do? Certainly, the school system can have undue influences on the world views of kids, but the antidote for that is vigilant parenting. Is that a perfect solution? No, of course not. But perfect solutions don't exist. Many saints have done their work in far more godless environments than the American public schoool system.

Rachel Gray:

I don't know that those graphs would show what you think they would show, particularly if you adjust for inflation. I also think that education measures are not the back side of the hill that you think they are. I agree with you on two things at least: (1) the breakdown of the family is the single biggest factor in explaining education's failure (when it fails), and (2) throwing more money at education will not fix it.

Rachel Gray said...

Anon, I looked for some graphs and was surprised to see that test scores (at least the NAEP test scores) have been pretty steady since the 1970's. I thought they'd gotten much worse. Spending has been shooting way up, though, and that's after adjusting for inflation. The two graphs I saw (pretty much the same info) were here and here.

latinmassgirl said...

Public schools are a a waste of tax payer's money, but it is more of the Department of Education's fault than the individual teacher's fault. The government has a monopoly on public schools and there is no incentive for them to offer discipline and a challenging curriculum. Teachers are not allowed to discipline bad kids and they are given politically correct, mindless curriculum, not to mention the sex education indoctrination. And has anybody seen how the girl's dress for school?!

I hope that someday vouchers will be given to every family and then the looser schools will have to improve in order to compete!

Peggy said...

Even in the early 1990s, I read an economic journal article which indicated, from statistical empirical studies, that as funding amount increased for public schools, scores remained stagnant. No improvement. Also, as authority and control over schools became centralized, at the state level, there was none to less score improvement. Ditto with increased union control over schools. In any case, those 3 factors had neutral or negative effect on academic scores. I recall that KS schools were the example. This more recent econ article's intro has some references to earlier studies involving KS. One of them may be the one I read in 93 or 94.


I believe some Chicago activists have initiated a school funding lawsuit which can only hurt us in So-IL, financially and academically.