Sunday, March 30, 2008

The problem with education is not money

Nicholas Stevens at Cyberhillbilly has this to say about the demise of the casino bill in the Kentucky legislature:
The casino bill is dead, what is not dead is the realization of education in the state with being overall underfunded and not performing to national standards, which even our national education standards are behind.
Let's see now. We were whining about education being underfunded in the 1980's in this state, so we instituted the lottery in 1988. So what were we whining about in 1990? Not enough education funding. So we passed KERA, the financial part of which was the greatest increase in state history. So here we are again. And the problem? Not enough education funding.

Exactly what do we have to do to please the people who say we are not doing enough to fund education? We currently spend about 65 percent of the state budget on education. How much of the state budget is it going to take to satisfy them?

The answer to the question, of course is: No amount of education funding will cause the people who say there is not enough education funding to stop calling for more.

The irony is that the problem with education is not money. For one thing, there is little correlation between more money spent and better education. Not only are the states with the best education systems necessarily the ones who fund it at higher levels--nor are the ones with the worst systems the ones who spend the least, but private schools, who spend less that public schools per student, generally outperform public schools.

Could it be that THE PROBLEM WITH EDUCATION IS NOT MONEY? Maybe the biggest tax increase in Kentucky history did not produce what we hoped because of what was done with the money. Instead of doing things that have demonstrably worked in education, like a greater stress on basic skills and a greater emphasis on solid content (and less on amateur psychology), we spent the money on warmed over experiments from the 60s, like nongraded primary programs, whole language, and the newest version of the New Math.

I say we put a moratorium on new money for education until we have some assurance that the money now being given to schools isn't being misspent on the newest educational fads and gimmicks.


Anonymous said...

The only correlation between money spent and a better education is reducing the individual class load. That is, putting more front line teachers in the classroom and reducing total class size.

However, the money in KDE is not spent that way. I think the estimate is that there is over a hundred attorneys that work for KDE alone in Frankfort. Does that tell anybody anything??

Anonymous said...

You were very kind not to point out Mr. Stevens' poor writing skills. That sentence (?) is un-readable.

Anonymous said...

Cyberhillbilly works for Morehead State. Their English Department must be proud.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.