Sunday, June 1, 2008

A Politically Incorrect Thing to Ponder...

I'm probably asking to get flamed on this one, but...

There was an interesting post over at the Scratching Post the other day that had a plot showing the expenditure rates of schools and the reading rates over the last couple of decades. The reading scores are flat, while the costs (inflation adjusted costs) are growing seemingly exponentially (since about 1995).

What I started to wonder about was, if the money isn't improving instruction/learning. then where is it going? Now, I don't know the answer, but I starting poking around and found one thing that does seem to correlate with the break point in the expenditure curve.

It's a series of court decisions concerning how schools must handle kids with disabilities (see this). Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not sure this is the cause. I also don't want to suggest that disabled kids shouldn't get the best education we can give them. But if this is the reason, then I have to wonder if we are doing the right thing.

We all know there are only so many dollars available. We must have an educated next generation. We must spend the available dollars in a manner that maximimally ensures that our children are educated such that they are able to compete effectively in an ever more competitive and ever more information intensive future. If we are spending this much money on a non-productive process, then we need to stop it.

That said, does anyone out there really know what has cause the rise in the cost of education?


K T Cat said...

I wondered about that. I figured it was just enormous pensions and a bloated staff.

By the way, did you notice the first thing the education department threatened to do if their budget got cut? Fire teachers.

Ohioan@Heart said...

But of course. If they threaten to cut administration, not only would people not protest, they'd probably bury Sacramento in letters asking for more school budget cuts (at least until the school boards stopped cutting the administrators).

See also my previous comments to your post here .

K T Cat said...

So just what do those administrators do all day? The subjects being taught in K-12 haven't changed substantially in 50 years. If anyone would be a test case for LSS, it would be the Education Department.

Hmm. There's a blog post in this somewhere.

Ohioan@Heart said...

First what's changed in the last 50 years (more like 15)? Diversity. English as a Second Language. The explosion of the Creation/Evolution Debate. Day care on high school campuses. Computers / Calculators (and the decline of basic math skills they produce). State and Federal guidelines (interference). Main streaming.

An LSS event run by the school administrators? Yeah, that's a great idea. BUt I think I'd like to read the blog post. ;-)