Points taken but more money is NOT the answer otherwise why do DC public schools perform so poorly? I worked in inner city schools (public relations) and let me tell you our work was gearing up for one more tax increase as soon as we got the last one. School levies, etc. then get the next one. Always a push to get more and more and more funding. Otherwise, how would we justify our own jobs. The reason public relations works is to show dollar value to the school district no? We were working full time to flood newspapers with stories about poor education, etc and how this would put our children at a disadvantage vis a vis foreign countries. This was all PUBLIC RELATIONS. Until the school choice movement started, we had an open field with getting our stories in the newspaper and NO ONE challenged our findings, our “experts” our “research.” Please remember that in some instances especially business perhaps 70 percent of the stories you read are pr agency placed. I think that for schools and education that number is probably just as high.
Beyond the actual figures you see for school funding (public-government) is that they get huge numbers of grants from foundations etc. which are NOT counted in these totals, but these corporations do it for public relations benefit especially since they can deduct these charitable donations from their TAXES thus reducing the amount of money the federal government would get so these figures do not reflect the reality on the ground. Look at the Gates, Ford foundations, etc and all the money they give that does not get paid in taxes because of charitable giving. I think this tax loophole should be closed. If you care enough give, but otherwise you pay taxes on it.
The biggest factor in my opinion is lack of accountability. The Dept of Education should be scrapped. Each school district should be allowed to set their own standards or don’t you think that states can manage to see if their standards are below those in other places and negatively affecting their performance? After all, if they can do it with taxes and regulations, they sure as hell can manage without federal control when it comes to which books to use and what to focus on. The only thing federal control does is remove the accountability of decision-making one step farther and make it much more concentrated and therefore susceptible to “monetary pressures” from well organized groups like teacher’s unions.
The problem in inner city schools is NOT that funding is inadequate, it is that it is poorly spent on minority encouragement this and Indian Affairs that and bilingual this and DARE (drug reduction with no appreciable accomplishment of its stated goals not even sure what its stated goals are) etc. etc. etc. BECAUSE teachers would rather administer these programs and NOT have to work. This also means that they can take trips to attend seminars in Miami, Hawaii and Phoenix oh in let’s say January and February all at guess whose expense? We all know this goes on but it would be rude to discuss it if you get my drift.
The other thing that I hear from teachers who really do give a damn is that they cannot discipline students with regulations as is. Grab one, hit one, slap one, etc. and you will go to jail or face a law suit. Much better to sit back and let chaos take over the classroom while your black students “act out” because of XXXXXX fill in the excuse of the day poor parenting, white oppression, standards geared and favoring white students, blah blah blah.
In private schools (religious) you act up, you get expelled. And that will happen to a certain percentage but at least the others can learned and not be threatened by bullies. Look at the success of the Catholic schools (and by the way, Buddhists, Jews, Hindis etc all attend these so it is not a problem of separation of church and school). The only ones hyping this are the teachers unions who want to see things remain as they are. there is a hell of a lot of money riding on this kind of stuff and believe me for Liberals who think that Bush is all about corporate interests, they have never taken a close look at the kind of backroom dealing that goes on with teachers unions and labor unions and nongovernmental organizations and environmental groups. It would make a hardened mafioso blush with horrified shame.
Why not let the parents choose and then schools will have to do whatever they can to offer the best education or lose students AND funding. Why not? It is what makes the university system in the US the best in the world.
The ability to choose schools (school choice/charter schools, etc) is just the beginning. The Dept of Education must be phased out and decisions must be returned to local school boards which can determine to the best ability what their schools, children’s needs are. After all why should a central school district in LA be expected to offer the same curriculum as a school in rural Maine? or a beach resort in south Florida? The government is the problem here and NOT the solution. Bush is the first to actually get this right and while he has been distracted (unfortunately) by the various wars, when the BLACK!!! mayor of DC!!! finally comes around to school choice then you know something has worked! And perhaps even some day black school children will get the benefits of a decent education that well meaning (and some not so well meaning) racial agitators looking to protect the rights of the worst 5 percent are holding back the benefits to the other 95 percent.