Monday, September 21, 2009

Education - Is We Learning?

Education is wonderful, everybody can learn something from it. Here in Colorado, for example, our budget is busting with more spending than receipts. Ask the pols for cuts, and they tell you things like 90% of the budget is entitlements that can't be touched. Well, if you cant adjust them, then maybe you could eliminate them. If the funding is all that important, then bring it back, at a lower level, and as a discretionary item.

What's interesting is a study of expenditures on education, the most sacred of sacred cows, by professor Mark Perry. Think spending more helps?
Not so you'd notice. The implication here is that at least since 1970, anything you spend over $5500/student is probably wasted. For myself, I've known this since about 1980 when comparing notes at the aerospace company I worked at showed that Iowa, while spending $7000/student produced more sharp engineers than New York, at $11,000/student.

While having an Olympic-sized swimming pool, imported dance instructors, and reserved parking with outlets for the EVs the students and faculty drive to school is nice, you get more bang for your buck by piling on homework, and informing the students that if they don't do it this year, they'll be doing it again next year. And no athletic eligibility for anyone repeating a grade.


Brad K. said...


I would like to see a chart showing dollars from local taxes, dollars from feds, classroom spending (facilities, teachers), and special ed spending. Also extra curricular activity spending and income (plays, band, sports, etc.) And include fundraisers - a serious imposition on community tolerance, and an evasion of the discipline of the budget process.

I suspect we could free up a lot of education dollars, by
1) Returning to making parents responsible for the kid's education through 8th grade
2) Drop fed dollars - and fed guidelines
3) Drop kids that don't have a realistic chance of passing 4th grade in this lifetime - public schools should not be babysitters on tax dollars. Move them to medicaid/medicare.

Billll said...

My thoughts on education:
1. since it's unlikely that withdrawing free federal education will go over very well, let each kid be his or her own voucher. Wherever the kid goes, the money goes with. Parents can decide which school to use.
2. When I am dictator, the department of education will become a small committee writing the tests that each kid MUST pass in order to get beyond 4th, 8th, or 12th grade. How they learn this is the kids problem. If a kid wants to take the test early, then fine, if you pass, then you're in the 5th or 9th grade, or you get your diploma.
3. interesting potential for corruption. Implement item 1. Hey kid, if you're dropping out, enroll at my school, and if you never show up, I'll kick back 30% of your voucher money at the end of the semester.