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Myth: Schools Need More Money

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Cal

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January 18, 2006
Myth: Schools Need More Money
By John Stossel

"Stossel is an idiot who should be fired from ABC and sent back to elementary school to learn journalism." "Stossel is a right-wing extremist ideologue."

The hate mail is coming in to ABC over a TV special I did Friday (1/13). I suggested that public schools had plenty of money but were squandering it, because that's what government monopolies do.

Many such comments came in after the National Education Association (NEA) informed its members about the special and claimed that I have a "documented history of blatant antagonism toward public schools."

The NEA says public schools need more money. That's the refrain heard in politicians' speeches, ballot initiatives and maybe even in your child's own classroom. At a union demonstration, teachers carried signs that said schools will only improve "when the schools have all the money they need and the Air Force has to hold a bake sale to buy a bomber."

Not enough money for education? It's a myth.

The truth is, public schools are rolling in money. If you divide the U.S. Department of Education's figure for total spending on K-12 education by the department's count of K-12 students, it works out to about $10,000 per student.

Think about that! For a class of 25 kids, that's $250,000 per classroom. This doesn't include capital costs. Couldn't you do much better than government schools with $250,000? You could hire several good teachers; I doubt you'd hire many bureaucrats. Government schools, like most monopolies, squander money.

America spends more on schooling than the vast majority of countries that outscore us on the international tests. But the bureaucrats still blame school failure on lack of funds, and demand more money.

In 1985, some of them got their wish. Kansas City, Mo., judge Russell Clark said the city's predominately black schools were not "halfway decent," and he ordered the government to spend billions more. Did the billions improve test scores? Did they hire better teachers, provide better books? Did the students learn anything?

Well, they learned how to waste lots of money.

The bureaucrats renovated school buildings, adding enormous gyms, an Olympic swimming pool, a robotics lab, TV studios, a zoo, a planetarium, and a wildlife sanctuary. They added intense instruction in foreign languages. They spent so much money that when they decided to bring more white kids to the city's schools, they didn't have to resort to busing. Instead, they paid for 120 taxis. Taxis!

What did spending billions more accomplish? The schools got worse. In 2000, five years and $2 billion later, the Kansas City school district failed 11 performance standards and lost its academic accreditation for the first time in the district's history.

A study by two professors at the Hoover Institution a few years ago compared public and Catholic schools in three of New York City's five boroughs. Parochial education outperformed the nation's largest school system "in every instance," they found -- and it did it at less than half the cost per student.

"Everyone has been conned -- you can give public schools all the money in America, and it will not be enough," says Ben Chavis, a former public school principal who now runs the American Indian Charter School in Oakland, Calif. His school spends thousands less per student than Oakland's government-run schools spend.

Chavis saves money by having students help clean the grounds and set up for lunch. "We don't have a full-time janitor," he told me. "We don't have security guards. We don't have computers. We don't have a cafeteria staff." Since Chavis took over four years ago, his school has gone from being among the worst middle schools in Oakland to the one where the kids get the best test scores. "I see my school as a business," he said. "And my students are the shareholders. And the families are the shareholders. I have to provide them with something."

©2005 JFS Productions, Inc. Distributed by Creators Syndicate


http://www.realclearpolitics.com/Commentary/com-1_18_06_JS.html
 

Mike

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Our local private school gives a better education than the public schools for $3600 per year per student.

I think vouchers are in order.
 

Steve

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I sent my son to a K-8 Parochial school for a little over $1600, the local district cost per student is $17,000.....

He is now a senior....with a 4.34 GPA,.... fourth in his class, and accepted to one of the top schools in the country.....

our district also started a "technical" school that replaced the failing votech, which he attends....
 

theHiredMansWife

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I'm curious how much either of these private schools receives in private donations.

My husband attended a private boarding school for high school. He paid $X per year for tuition, but at the same time donations account for a large amount of the school's funding.



ETA: private schools tend to have a foundation/investment of some sort which also defrays a lot of the individual student's cost....
 

Steve

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theHiredMansWife wrote:
I'm curious how much either of these private schools receives in private donations.

$1600 part of which was "donated time" and the remainder Cash.....
each Parent had to donate time.....My wife worked as an aid, (not in the grade your child was in) and I did my time at other events........
By remaining K-8 they could operate on a much smaller budget....



Reaer 2 wrote: What I found with private schools was that quality varied with the teacher's personality and aptitude and experience. Some years were great and some were frankly dismal and not worth the money I paid and even counter productive.

I could easily say the same for our local public school system. which offers no programs other then those mandated by law.....at $17,000 per child...
 

theHiredMansWife

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No, you misunderstood my question.

most private schools fund differently than public. Tuition is only a part of the cost.
The rest is aquired via foundation payments, private donations (usually from alumni), support from the church they're affiliated with (in the case of parochial schools) and so on.

I guarantee your school is not getting by on an expense of $1600 per student. A class of 20 would barely be able to cover their entry-level teacher's salary...

I could easily say the same for our local public school system. which offers no programs other then those mandated by law.....at $17,000 per child...

Minimal requirements? $17,000 per student?!

Maybe you're just living in the wrong state. :wink:
 

koj

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I do agree with Stossel that most public schools squander their money. However, for the most part, the private schools have the "pick of the litter" if you will. All of the private schools here in Omaha have entrance exams that the prospective students must pass. Can you imagine if a public school tried to do that (it would be illegal)? I am not holding that against the private schools, in fact more power to them. But that difference alone accounts for the large gap in student achievement.

There is an up and a down side to all aspects of education. No child left behind is a flaming example of this. Yes, it is great that underprivaledged students and students that are behind get a fair chance at education. But, you cannot tell me that we are giving the same opportunity to the advanced students. These are the students that some people say we are wasting the money on. The computer and robotics labs, planetariums, and wildlife sanctuaries are the places where all students can go to learn, but they also allow the advanced students to challenge themselves and use their core curriculum in real life settings.

Argue any way you choose, but there is always another point of view that makes as much or more sense.
 

Steve

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Can you imagine if a public school tried to do that (it would be illegal)?

actually not in New Jersey....

as I said in my prior post....my son attended K-8 at a parochial school and is at a technical school ..

the tech schoool is a former failed votech.......the entrance requirement is grade point and an entrance test......once in you must maintain a passing grade in all classes...

there is no study hall period..and more credits are required then any other school in the state.....so if you fail a class you would not be able to make it up....and graduate......which means you would be out....

as it is called a choice school, they can and do demand more from the students.....

While I believe there is a better answer then giving up on public schools....it is clear in this state that more money does not get students a better education.......

The tech school is at about $5500 per student.....and our local school pays that tuition....but it still spends $17,000 per district student....and when taxpayers complain they are branded anti- education or anti children...

so even though they save $11,500 on my child it is still not spent well....

while it is fuzzy math it means one of the other students cost $28,500.....

but if that is not bad enough.........just over 10 miles away..........Cape May City is Paying over $41,000 per student due to a failed Regional plan.....


A recent report the city commissioned said Cape May is paying $41,199 for each pupil
http://www.pressofatlanticcity.com/news/local/capemay/story/5786606p-5803256c.html
 

theHiredMansWife

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The tech school is at about $5500 per student

I'm going to bet that's probably not the actual per-pupil expenditure there, either. Not for a tech school, particularly.

I've taught in a one room country school house (k-8 ) that, educating the children of three local ranchers, got by as cheaply as possible. Glut would not have been tolerated. The board were the parents/property tax payers.

No janitorial staff, no lunch (or lunch staff), no direct administration, no busing, etc, etc. Strictly teacher, building and books/materials. My salary was about 20% below the state's average starting salary (and Nebraska ranks about 47th for starting salaries).

They still had a per pupil cost of about $7,000. And this was eight years ago, so it's probably gone up a skosh since then.

I agree there is waste in public school (particularly in New Jersey, apparently!). But I think your perspective is a bit off...
 

crabby

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MY opinion is that ten year needs to go away, unions need to go away. This is especially true in colleges.
 

Steve

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But I think your perspective is a bit off...

I took thier cost per student cost right off the county budget.....

it is also sent out in a letter parents recieve informing them of his requirements for living in the county / area and if we fail to meet we must then pay his tuition......

the only cost not figured in is capital improvements....(new buildings)...

but if you would like me to reiterate my perspective......failing schools cost lots of money......successful schools are a bargain.........

I even used local schools and a failed regional school to back up my arguement.....


like any thing if it's mismanaged throwing money at it does not help..it just wastes more money......

so no I do not feel my perspective is off.....
 

theHiredMansWife

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Nebraska (a state with a considerably lower standard of living than NJ--meaning everything costs less) doesn't have a single district that is that low. Not even the ones that are scraping by with little or nothing. (certainly no "tech" schools where they need more expensive equipment than most schools)
We have also, historically, had some of the highest test scores in the country. Ie, failing schools are few and far between.

I still can not believe an east-coast's school's actual per pupil cost is only $5500. It just doesn't compute...
confused-smiley-013.gif
 

MsSage

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ok have to put my dog in this fight LOL
I work for the largest school system in NC & SC not sure about Va
OUr system bought membership in a video streaming ...you get educational videos 20 min-1.5 hours. I wanted to show the one on the moon to introduce the 3rd graders well due to firewall we CANT show it. call Downtown they said oh well sorry we cant remove the firewall but you can use the video at home. hmmmmm I tried downloading it and burn a dvd NO cant do it. there is a hidden block on the downlaod to prevent you from burning a dvd LOL How much was this wonder of the 21st century only $900 per school NOT system School we have 130 schools in our system YOU do the math. We can NOT use it and they will not try and get their money back.
Another they bought a new science program last year for this year.......Every grade level teacher book has atleast 5 errors in it.
If you ask the school board to explain you ge branded a trouble maker. Every time a group has risen up against the school board they punish that district.....Oakdale was taken out of a middle class neighborhood Middle school and put in the worst middle school. They said they had to redraw the lines due to growth........
CMS gave their land & building to the city for the new baseball team in exchange for the same amount of land NO building. Now we have to foot the bill for a new building which 2 years ago was renaviated.
YES Big school systems WASTE money I would venture to say 70% of the money never gets to the classrooms.
 

theHiredMansWife

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MsSage said:
YES Big school systems WASTE money I would venture to say 70% of the money never gets to the classrooms.

Doesn't surprise me a bit.
But speaking as a teacher who has never worked in a district with more than 500 students (that means around 40 kids per class) and hopefully soon to be back at work in a school that has so few kids there are only three teachers between the first 7 grade levels, I don't want blanket statements like "schools have plenty of money".
Because while it may be true in some cases it most assuredly is not true in all!
 

Steve

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School could add 200 more full-time students by 2007
More and more students enrolling at Technical High School

That’s good news for the county school, but not for the municipal school districts that are losing potential students – and tuition – to the Technical High School.
At a tuition cost of $6,000 per student,

so for 2007 right of the internet $6000...

as of this year it is right at $5500.....

oh yes the link......
http://www.shorenewstoday.com/Middle%20Gazette/story5MiddleGazette.htm
 

theHiredMansWife

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We are comparing apples and apples, right?



Ie, this school does provide an education for any student (particularly special ed. services), busing, extra curricular activities, etc, etc?

$6000 per student simply doesn't sound right...

But if there are services that most school districts are required by law to provide, and this school does not, that would account for a great deal of the difference.
Special ed, for example, is quite expensive.
 

Steve

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We are comparing apples and apples, right?

why is it when shown proof a liberal finds more to have verified?

it becomes a never ending arguement over technicalities..

first it was I was wrong...

then I had the wrong perspective,...

then I didn't take into consideration the extra cost of technical equipment...

now it's apples to oranges....

Next it will be I am getting defensive?

no it's not the same "apples to oranges", this is a successful school not a failing school......our local school is $17,000 and a near by district it is $41,000

but, if you would like me to reiterate my perspective......failing schools cost lots of money......successful schools are a bargain.........

like any thing if it's mismanaged throwing money at it does not help..it just wastes more money......


and this year it is $5500 and in 2007 it will grow to $6000 after they build the huge mega addition and hire more teachers.......

and for clearification....
capital improvement in New Jersey is not part of the per student cost...debt from the project is part of that Per-student" cost....
Most of the cost of the increase of $500 is to hire and fund the additional teachers and thier programs....but this is not now it is a year away and not to be compleated or increased until the 2007-2008 school year....

it is not about how I figure or the tech school figures thier Per student cost. it is how badly some schools spend this money.....and then when one person questions the outragious spending they are chastized for speaking out...

I am Pro-education, but not at any cost....there must be results that benifit the children......

thus I agree with the original article.......and those in favor of funding alternatives to failing public schools....kinda PRO-CHOICE type of thing....

Pro vouchers,...
Pro Technical schools...
Pro charter schools....
Pro magnet schools...
Pro rural schools,...
Pro public education,...

But,...ONLY IF THEY DO A GREAT JOB TEACHING OUR CHILDREN!

If I had my way every student would get his college paid for ,...as long as they maintained a B or better gpa. but thats another topic.....
 

theHiredMansWife

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I'm a liberal? You need to get out more. You'd discover I'm not much of a liberal. :wink:

If you will recall, last week you tried to say your k-8 parochial school was educating kids at $1600 per pupil. So you'll have to forgive me if I have doubts that now you're sure you have your numbers right.

And no, if a school is not providing basic services (like special ed.) that are required by law of most public school districts in the country, that is not a realistic comparison. ie, your perspective is off.

You're holding this up as an example of something other schools should strive for when, legally speaking, they can't!

If I had my way every student would get his college paid for ,...as long as they maintained a B or better gpa. but thats another topic.....

Now this I could agree with. :)
 

BBJ

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I have to admit that I have not read thru this thread, but I will say that the amount of money you spend per student won't make their education better. First off to make our educational system better things have to happen at home. Discipline is a big problem and it starts with the parents. Our teachers have to be able to effectivly punish students without being punished themselves, and in my opinion this problem starts at home. As for the amount per student, I graduated from a class of 10, we didn't hve anything fancy by any stretch of the imagination. In the summer we had class with the door and windows open and in the winter you kept your coat on because the old gas heater didn't work that great. Compared to my friends that attended bigger schools and compared to the people I had college classes with I feel like I got an excellent education. Mainly becasue our parents and teachers cared, and for the fact that we knew if we got out of line it would end with a paddle across the rear, then it would be worse at home. So instead of throwing more money at the problem lets talk about the real reason for our failing educational system.

Now HMW I would like to address your comment "If I had my way every student would get his college paid for ,...as long as they maintained a B or better gpa. but thats another topic..... " well lets get on that one for just a minute.
There are many ways for every student to get his college paid for.
#1 - Financial Aid
#2 - Grants
#3 - Scholarships
#4 - Student Loans
#5 - Hard work
#6 - Work
You see in this world (COUNTRY) we live in if you want something bad enough, no matter what the cost you CAN pay for it with out government assistance. Have you ever heard of our welfare system? That's a real success wouldn't you say? My story is a long one that I'll not get into here, but just so you know, I'm married(6yrs.), with a 3yr. old girl, new house built in '05, college graduate, that no the govt. didn't pay one dime for, 13 acres of land paid for by me, truck, trailer horses, cows and the list goes on. And the only significant debt we have is her car and our house payment. I have done this from working hard and saving. We currently live off just my salary, because my wife will graduate from college this spring w/ a 4.0 GPA, to become a teacher (how ironic) and she has done it all on her own thru scholarships and part time jobs. Nothing to pay back and no govt help. I could go on and on but I'll just stop here. :D

So your opinion is again flawed and not very well thought out, that mechanism is already in place. Thanks.
 

theHiredMansWife

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BBJ said:
I have to admit that I have not read thru this thread

You might want to do that before you head off on something no one has disagreed about. :)

BBJ said:
Now HMW I would like to address your comment "If I had my way every student would get his college paid for ,...as long as they maintained a B or better gpa. but thats another topic..... "

If you'll look at the post above mine, you'll see that's actually Steve's comment. I merely quoted him and agreed. You might wish to address your tirade to him. :wink:

And if you'll note, no one has argued that there aren't already numerous ways to go to school. You might consider asking before assuming...
 

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