Spending More to Get Less

Federal, state and local governments spent a total of $786.8 billion on education in 2006.*  If private schools performed as poorly as most public schools -- at these prices -- they would go out of business!  Where else does the price go up and the quality of the end product go down, year after year, except in a government-controlled monopoly like this?

Please note that in some of these articles, the word "student" is used to designate anyone who is enrolled in an educational institution.  But secondary school pupils are not necessarily studious.  Those who attend reluctantly are probably not learning.  I speak from experience.

Related topic:  Head Start.



$20 Mil to Boost Reading Skills in the Dominican Republic.  While America's failing public schools remain on a perpetual downward spiral, the U.S. government is spending tens of millions of dollars to help struggling students and improve academics in the Dominican Republic.  It may seem crazy, but unfortunately it's simply one of a myriad of real-life stories illustrating how government wastes our tax dollars.  To be fair, state governments and the feds — mostly via the U.S. Department of Education — spend boatloads of cash on public schools in this country, though it's done little over the years to improve performance in the nation's inner cities.

Public school spending vs achievement
Public School Spending vs Achievement.  [This chart] shows the performance over time of U.S. 17-year-olds on the "Long Term Trends" testing program of the National Assessment of Educational Progress.  The spending line corresponds to the trend in the total cost of a complete K-through-12 public school education (i.e., what it cost to send a high-school graduate all the way through public school).  For good measure, it shows how the number of public school employees has roughly doubled since 1970 — from about 3.3 to about 6.4 million people.

The price of pre-K in 2016 might be higher than you think.  Over the past couple of years, a number of red and blue states across the country have joined the pre-K bandwagon, including Republican strongholds like Oklahoma and Georgia.  And the trend might continue:  last month, the Obama administration announced its new Preschool Grant Program in which states are eligible for a chunk of $250 million to build or expand preschool programs.  The administration's tempting offer has begun to place a growing group of Republican governors, members of Congress, and mayors in the pro-pre-K posse.

Five California Cities Make Forbes 'Least Educated' List.  A survey ranking the most and least educated American cities offers a bleak picture of California; only one of the top ten educated cities is in the state, while a whopping five of the least-educated cities hail from the Golden State, according to Forbes.

Paterson school district pays $1.1M for retirees' leave days.  The city school district paid out more than $1.1 million for unused sick and vacation days to 47 former employees who retired on July 1.  Most of the employees had been teachers, but the list also included a few maintenance workers and aides.

The survey that proves the republic is unsalvageable.  One in three Americans can't name a single branch of the U.S. government, according to a poll from the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania.  The survey, which was conducted from July 8 to 14, and published Sept. 17, found that only 36 percent of respondents could name all three branches of government, while an alarming 35 percent of survey respondents couldn't name a single branch.  The poll, which contains a margin of error of plus or minus 3.06 percent, surveyed 1,416 U.S. adults aged 18 and older.  The report also found that only 27 percent of respondents say they are aware Congress needs a two-thirds majority in order to override a presidential veto.

School district blasted for adding $85,000 administrative position.  Redundant, wasteful and ridiculous are a few of the ways current and former school board members are describing the creation of a new administrative position within Liberal USD 480.  At an annual salary of $85,000, Liberal School Board members voted last week to hire Vanessa Jones to fill the role of bond project manager after the district's successful passage of a $127 million bond election earlier this year.

Report: Illinois schools spent $11.1 million on taxi cabs last year.  Tuesday, OpenTheBooks.com released a spending report for 928 Illinois school districts.  Each report covers pensions, salaries, and vendor spending.  Each individual school district is benchmarked on spending vs. consumer price index (CPI) inflation.  "In my hometown of Hinsdale, the salary spending since 2000 is up over 76% vs. inflation," OpenTheBooks founder Adam Andrzejewski said.  "The average salary is over $105,000 (2012) and 223 employees making over $100,000 per year.  Incredibly, the teachers are threatening to strike."

30 Blocks of Squalor & Cigarette Taxes for the Children.  It's that time of year again — when the little juvenile delinquents, future prison inmates, and functionally illiterate junior members of the free [stuff] army pick up their "free" backpacks and "free" school supplies they will never use and shuffle off to the decaying prison like schools in the City of Philadelphia to eat "free" breakfasts and "free" lunches, while being taught government sanctioned pablum by overpaid mediocre union teachers.  It's a repeat of every year for the [Philadelphia] school district.  As the school year approaches they are shocked to report a massive deficit and beg the State of PA for more funding.  The $12,000 per child simply isn't enough, even though Parochial schools provide ten times the education for $9,000 per child.

4 Charts Every Mom With Kids Going Back to School Should See.  Even though the Obama Administration proposes spending $25 billion specifically to "provide support for hundreds of thousands of education jobs" in order to "keep teachers in the classroom," research by both Heritage and The Fordham Institute reveal alarming numbers:  only half of education jobs belong to teachers.  Heritage's education policy expert Lindsey Burke says "school districts should trim bureaucracy and work on long-term reform options for better targeting taxpayer resources," instead of putting taxpayers on the hook for more federal spending.

Study: Half of All School Employees Not Teachers, 130% Increase Since 1970.  The ranks of non-teachers — such as administrators, counselors, teacher aides and cafeteria workers — has swelled 130 percent since 1970 and they now make up 50 percent of all public school employees according to a new study, The Hidden Half: School Employees Who Don't Teach.  Looking at data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the Thomas B. Fordham Institute found that the growth of non-teaching staff has greatly outpaced student growth over the past four decades.

The Hidden Half: School Employees Who Don't Teach.  The number of non-teaching staff in the United States (those employed by school systems but not serving as classroom teachers) has grown by 130 percent since 1970.  Non-teachers — more than three million strong — now comprise half of the public school workforce.  Their salaries and benefits absorb one-quarter of current education expenditures.

America's worker shortage: One million and counting.  America has a deficit of workers.  Willing workers.  Capable workers.  Skilled, or at least semi-skilled workers, who can do a job and do it well.  There are at least one million jobs that go begging day after day if only employers could find workers to fill them. [...] Why is it so hard to fill these jobs?  One reason is the curse of the so-called "skills mismatch."  American workers with high school or even college degrees just aren't technically qualified to do the jobs that are open.  This is a stunning indictment of our school system at all levels considering that all in parents and taxpayers often invest as much as $200,000 or more in a child's education.  We're not turning our kids into competent workers.

Why Hoboken is Throwing Away All of its Student Laptops.  Inside Hoboken's combined junior-senior high school is a storage closet.  Behind the locked door, some mothballed laptop computers are strewn among brown cardboard boxes.  Others are stacked one atop another. Dozens more are stored on mobile computer carts, many of them on their last legs.  That's all that remains from a failed experiment to assign every student a laptop at Hoboken Junior Senior High School.  It began five years ago with an unexpected windfall of stimulus money from Washington, D.C., and good intentions to help the district's students, the majority of whom are under or near the poverty line, keep up with their wealthier peers.  But Hoboken faced problem after problem and is abandoning the laptops entirely this summer.

New database details pay of California public school employees.  Last year, James Hammond, the superintendent of the Montclair-Ontario Unified School District in the Inland Empire, was paid $492,077.  Jonathan Eagan, the principal of a junior high school in the Bay Area city of Martinez made $279,669.  And 31 custodians at California public schools were paid more than $100,000 in 2013.  That is a sample of statistics found in a newly released online database that allows users to search and download detailed employee compensation figures for superintendents, teachers, principals and other staff members at school districts across the state.

Pro-Amnesty Elites Treat People as 'Commodities'.  Rupert Murdoch also recently argued for a dramatic expansion of the controversial H1B guest worker program.  Murdoch writes that "there is a shortage of qualified American candidates," to fill jobs in STEM fields like computer services and engineering.  But the evidence shows the opposite:  the US graduates approximately twice as many STEM-trained students each year as there are STEM jobs to fill.

Obama's Move to Help Students Is Not as Forgiving as It Seems.  Mr. Obama formally widened the pool of eligible participants in the Pay as You Earn program (PAYE) and said it could save recent graduates hundreds of dollars every month, helping an additional five million people manage their student debt. [...] But if you look at the numbers closely, PAYE saves you money only if you borrowed big and earn little.  The revised program caps monthly loan payments at 10 percent of discretionary income, defined as income exceeding 150 percent of the federal poverty level for a single person.

From barista to bachelor's degree ... and back to barista.  Starbucks wants to give an espresso shot to its workers' career dreams — and retain talent — by providing financial aid to employees who enroll in an online bachelor's degree program.  But will those baristas without college degrees put in the hard work only to end up as baristas with a college degree?

Chicago Teachers Union-Run School Bombs at the Prom.  In the "you can't make this up" file, Paul Robeson High School in Chicago just had its prom and its theme was "This Is Are Story."  Sadly, this isn't a joke or a bit of intentional irony on the part of the students.  Turns out that Paul Robeson High School is a symptom of a school district that is failing its students. [...] The taxpayers pay these teachers $76,000 a year and the school's administration can't even distinguish between "are" and "our" on printed cards they hand out on prom night?

UT Regent Uncovered Waste, Fraud And Abuse... And Might Be Fired For It.  Days after taking office as a regent of the University of Texas, Wallace Hall began making discoveries that pointed toward considerable administrative wrongdoing, questionable admissions decisions and misuse of public funds.  Three years later, UT-Austin President Bill Powers and his friends in the Texas legislature are doing everything they can to silence Hall — and may take the unprecedented step of forcibly removing him from office.  As a pretext, administrators have claimed that Hall's insatiable demand for UT records (he has requested that over 800,000 pages of documents be made public) hampered university operations.

Fire watch officers at Paterson high school cost $445,000.  The cost of assigning special fire watch officers to International High School continues to climb even though state officials say they completed work on a requisite smoke control system seven months ago.

U.S. Pours Millions Into Failing Black Colleges, Breaks New Student Loan Rules.  The institutions are known as Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) and JW's probe has uncovered documents that show American taxpayers are being forced to fund them even when their accreditation has been stripped, they have dismal graduation rates and rank among the nation's worst medical schools.  For instance, Meharry Medical College (where the late Jackson's physician, Conrad Murray, got his degree) is renowned for producing an alarming number of inept doctors along with third-world institutions like Manila Central University in the Philippines and the Autonomous University of Guadalajara in Mexico, according to records obtained by JW.

DC Schools: $29,349 Per Pupil, 83% Not Proficient in Reading.  The public schools in Washington, D.C., spent $29,349 per pupil in the 2010-2011 school year, according to the latest data from National Center for Education Statistics, but in 2013 fully 83 percent of the eighth graders in these schools were not "proficient" in reading and 81 percent were not "proficient" in math.  These are the government schools in our nation's capital city — where for decades politicians of both parties have obstreperously pushed for more federal involvement in education and more federal spending on education.

Average NJ per-student spending is close to $19K, new report finds.  New Jersey schools spent an average of $18,891 to educate each student last year, an increase of $866, or almost 5 percent, from 2012, according to figures released yesterday by the New Jersey Department of Education, with costs varying widely among districts.  The annual "Taxpayer's Guide to Education Spending" showed wealthy Avalon Borough in Cape May County at the top of the list of districts and charter schools, spending $43,775 a student.  The lowest district, Rockaway Borough, spent $12,587.

Math, reading performance is stagnant among U.S. 12th-graders, assessment finds.  The nation's high school seniors have shown no improvement in math and reading performance since 2009, and large racial achievement gaps persist, according to the results of a test administered by the federal government last year.  The results, released at an event Wednesday at Dunbar High School in Northwest Washington, detail students' performance on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, or NAEP.  Also called the Nation's Report Card, NAEP is widely regarded as the most consistent measure of U.S. students' achievement over time.

NM college spends $5 million on solar array to save $200,000 in utility bills.  Santa Fe Community College has just unveiled a solar array that, it says, will save the college at least $200,000 a year on its utility bills.  But the array, funded by taxpayers in a 2010 bond election, will cost $5 million.  You don't have to be a math major at the college to figure out it would take 25 years of $200,000 cost savings per year to reach the $5 million mark for the project to just break even. 

Education Department releases names of 55 schools facing sex assault probes.  The Education Department on Thursday [5/1/2014] released a list of 55 colleges and universities under investigation for their handling of sexual abuse claims, in an unprecedented step aimed at increasing transparency regarding sex assault in higher education.  The schools listed are all facing a Title IX investigation.

Is a bachelor's degree still worthwhile?  For a long time, the argument against earning a bachelor's degree was largely a question of dollars and cents.  Everyone understood the value of a degree, but not everyone could afford one.  Now the argument is starting to shift to "dollars and sense," meaning that potential students are starting to ask not only if a degree is economically prudent, but also whether it makes sense as a credential[.]

The Math Behind a Pricey College Degree.  By relating the amount of debt you are willing to take on to the amount you expect to earn in a career based on that degree you can keep the payments to a level that are mathematically possible.  What doesn't work is taking out $100,000 in loans to pursue a career that sees annual incomes cap out at $50,000.  There just isn't enough income "pie" to go around in that situation.  So parents and students, please think long and hard about how you want to allocate your post-graduation income pie before selecting a school.

No connection between school spending, student outcomes.  For decades, it's probably the most troublesome question facing education:  Why are results for U.S. public school students so mediocre, despite the billions of taxpayer dollars spent?  Andrew Coulson thinks he's got the answer:  Because there is no discernible correlation between spending and outcomes.  "The takeaway from this study is that what we've done over the past 40 years hasn't worked," said Coulson, director of the Center For Educational Freedom at the CATO Institute.  "The average performance change nationwide has declined 3 percent in mathematical and verbal skills.  Moreover, there's been no relationship, effectively, between spending and academic outcomes."

No connection between education spending and student outcomes.  For decades, it's probably the most troublesome question facing education:  Why are results for U.S. public school students so mediocre, despite the billions of taxpayer dollars spent?  Andrew Coulson thinks he's got the answer:  Because there is no discernible correlation between spending and outcomes.

Why More Federal Education Spending Is Not the Answer.  Rather than shift the tax burden from households with children to relatively high-earning households without children, Felix Salmon of Reuters proposes increasing federal education funding.  This strikes me as ill-conceived for a number of reasons.  If anything, I would suggest that we move in the opposite direction.  Though federal spending represents a relatively small share of K-12 spending at present (13 percent of the total as of 2010), this understates the extent of federal influence, as federal mandates shape how much of the remaining spending is disbursed.  And so the U.S. has a far more centralized, far more tightly-regulated K-12 system than is commonly understood.

Superintendent's pay in South Bay district called 'excessive'.  New York City Chancellor Carmen Farina oversees more than a million students, 1,700 schools and a budget the size of many states.  Her pay:  $412,193.  Los Angeles Unified Supt. John Deasy has half a million students, 1,000-plus schools, a $7-billion budget — and made $393,106 last year.  Supt. Jose Fernandez's South Bay school district has just 6,600 students, five high schools and a $70-million budget.  His earnings:  $674,559 last year.  "I don't know of anybody, in any major city, who makes anything close to that, even with extra bonuses or compensation," said Michael Casserly, executive director of the Council of the Great City Schools, based in Washington.

What's the least valuable college degree in the U.S.?  The survey may add to parents' doubts about the value of a college degree, especially given that rising tuition costs have far outpaced the pace of inflation and the tough job market for some majors (think liberal arts).  Those trends have saddled graduates with a combined $1 trillion in debt.  The worst off? Arts, humanities and education majors at more than a dozen institutions — including respected schools such as Ohio State University and Indiana University — where the 20-year net return falls lower than -$100,000.

The Editor says...
That's right.  Negative 100,000 dollars.

College Students Fail to Name a Single U.S. Senator.  Last week, MRCTV's Dan Joseph went to American University to give the student body a little general knowledge quiz.  When asked if they could name a single U.S. senator, the students blanked.  Also, very few knew that each state has two senators.  The guesses were all over the map, with some crediting each state with twelve, thirteen, and five senators.

Early Results Indicate $4.6 Billion in School Turnarounds was a Waste.  A $4.6 billion federal school improvement program aimed at the bottom 5 percent of U.S. schools has at best done nothing for them, and at worst spent money as some schools worsened, federal data show, and analysts and educators are questioning the program.  The U.S. Department of Education released a report Nov. 21 comparing average proficiency rates of School Improvement Grant (S(G) schools in 2011-2012 to the year prior.  Although some schools' academic performance improved, many worsened.  "SIG is almost certainly going to go down as one of the U.S. Department of Education's biggest and most expensive mistakes — possibly the biggest," said Andy Smarick, a partner at Bellwether Education Partners. "Schools are getting millions, and we're just not seeing anything close to the gains that were promised and are needed."

Ex-Jersey City schools monitor tops watchdog's list of highly paid 'part-time' state workers.  Cathy Coyle, the former Jersey City school official brought on as a state monitor in 2012, was the most expensive "part-time temp" in state government last year, according to a New Jersey Watchdog report.  Coyle was paid $151,862 last year as a "special services" employee, while collecting a $73,765 pension, the report says.  Coyle was one of four of these kinds of workers who collected more than $200,000 last year, including pensions, according to the report.  The 40 part-time workers on the watchdog's list collected $6 million in income last year.

Proficient Reading Remains Elusive for U.S. Kids.  Although U.S. kids have made progress in decoding words, leading to a slight uptick in elementary-grade reading scores over the past two decades, they're still shaky at the second part of reading -- understanding what they sound out.  That's crucial to upper-level reading, where scores have remained stagnant since national tests began.  Improving that element of reading may be an even bigger challenge than revitalizing phonics, because understanding requires background knowledge gained in a variety of life experiences that families, rather than educators, probably have to provide.

Despite outrageous school spending, students actually dumber than in 1972.  The amount of money that the American taxpayers have been forced to spend on public schools has more than doubled in the last few years — even though such spending has had no demonstrable impact on students' intelligence levels, a bombshell new study found.  On average, student academic performance actually declined slightly over the last 40 years — an astonishing fact, given the huge amount of money spent on public education and the general boost that technological improvements have provided to virtually every other sector of U.S. life.

Academic Performance and Spending over the Past 40 Years.  Long-term trends in academic performance and spending are valuable tools for evaluating past education policies and informing current ones. [...] State-level academic performance data are either nonexistent prior to 1990 or, as in the case of the SAT, are unrepresentative of statewide student populations.  Using a time-series regression approach described in a separate publication, this paper adjusts state SAT score averages for factors such as participation rate and student demographics, which are known to affect outcomes, then validates the results against recent state-level National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) test scores.  This produces continuous, state-representative estimated SAT score trends reaching back to 1972.

Gov't Spending $4.8M to Tell Students to 'Get Fruved'.  If a college student dressed up as a giant bunch of grapes jumped out of the shadows and told you to "get fruved," what could you possibly say?  The University of Tennessee-Knoxville is getting more than $4.8 million taxpayer dollars to develop a healthy-eating campaign that has students — dressed up as fruits and vegetables — cavorting in the hallways of higher education.

Feds spend millions dressing creepy students up as fruits, vegetables.  The federal government gave nearly $5 million to the University of Tennessee in support of its creepy healthy-eating campaign, which dresses students up as fruits and vegetables and films them terrorizing the residence halls. [...] Most of the campaign is designed and run by students.  The grant for the project was made through the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Dartmouth Caves to Student Threats.  [Scroll down]  The initial student letter called for greater diversity in the faculty and post-doctoral program as well as an increase in enrollment for Black, Latino, and Native American students to 10 percent of the student population each.  The anonymous students also demanded that all students be required to take classes on "social justice" and "marginalization," that gender-neutral housing be available for all students, and that restrictions on the use of the term "illegal immigrants" be imposed.  In response to the demands for racial quotas, Dartmouth plans to allocate $1 million to hire faculty "who bring diverse perspectives to campus."  Another $30 million will also be spent to bring in more minorities for the post-doctorate program.

One in four Americans 'do not know the Earth circles the Sun'.  One in four Americans are completely unfamiliar with Nicolaus Copernicus's 1543 theory that the Earth circles the Sun, according to a study by the National Science Foundation.  The survey, released on Friday [2/14/2014] at an annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, asked 2,200 people nine factual questions about physical and biological science, with the average score being just 5.8 correct answers.  The question — "Does the Earth go around the Sun, or does the Sun go around the Earth" — was answered incorrectly by 26 percent of respondents.

Obama: Coffee shops shouldn't have better Internet than schools.  "In a country where we expect free Wi-Fi with our coffee, we should definitely demand it in our schools," Obama said in Adelphi, Md., highlighting $750 million in new commitments from private companies to put digital learning labs in schools.  Under his plan, the Federal Communications Commission will also spend $2 billion to connect 20 million students to wireless technologies.  Obama did not get into the details of the new spending, but White House officials have said funds will be shifted into the FCC's E-Rate program.

Here's How You'll Pay to Bring High-Speed Internet to Schools.  President Obama has a plan to connect 99 percent of U.S. schools to high-speed Internet within five years without adding "a dime to the deficit" and "without waiting for Congress."  It sounds too good to be true, but the administration has a trick up its sleeve:  a federal program that collects fees on American phone bills and uses the revenue to fund Internet access at schools and libraries in rural and low-income areas.  The program, known as E-Rate, was created in 1996 and is administered by the Federal Communications Commission as part of the Universal Service Fund.  The program is currently capped at about $2.3 billion per year, but the FCC has the power to lift the program's cap — even without congressional approval — and raise funds for it by bumping up phone fees.

No Space, No Books, No Clue At NYC's Worst Elementary School.  Students at PS 106 in Far Rockaway, Queens, have gotten no math or reading and writing books for the rigorous Common Core curriculum, whistleblowers say.  The 234 kids get no gym or art classes.  Instead, they watch movies every day.  "The kids have seen more movies than Siskel and Ebert," a source said.

The failure factory at PS 106.  Bill de Blasio and Carmen Farina:  Meet the test of your education policy.  It's called PS 106 in Far Rockaway.  And as The [New York] Post's Susan Edelman laid out in horrific detail Sunday, it's one of this city's failure factories.  So the question is:  What do the mayor and his new schools chancellor intend to do about it?

No, Public Schools Are Not 'Jammed' with Students.  It's remarkable how often the conventional wisdom conflicts with data and evidence.  A recent article in the New York Times illustrates the case of public-school class sizes.  It describes schools as "jammed" because of an up-tick in student-teacher ratios coming out of the recession.  It's the type of story that fits comfortably within the (erroneous) conventional wisdom about underfunded schools.  How about some long-run perspective?  Student-teacher ratios — not the same thing as class size, but a similar concept that's easier to measure — have dropped substantially in the last 50 years, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.  There were 26 students for every teacher in 1960.  The ratio was reduced to 22 by 1970, and then it went down to 19 in 1980, to 17 in 1990, and to 16 in 2000.

Only 3 Students Scored College-Ready in Camden, NJ.  The new school superintendent in Camden, N.J., says it was a "kick-in-the-stomach moment" when he learned that only three district high school students who took the SAT in the 2011-12 school year scored as college-ready.

Bizarro Lake Woebegon.  Welcome to Camden, New Jersey, where the new superintendent of schools recently announced that only three students in the public school system who took the SAT tests in the 2011-12 academic year scored high enough to qualify as college-ready, according to AP.

Obama's Cash for Universal Preschool Clunkers.  It's elementary:  When Democrats find themselves in political trouble, they reach for your wallets.  After squandering billions on an ineffectual stimulus, failed green energy boondoggles and the disastrous Unaffordable Care Act, the Obama White House wants to dump $75 billion more into "free" preschool for all.  That'll solve everything.

American education's race to the bottom.  We are paying filet mignon prices and getting Sonic Burger results, in other words.  I guess the upside is that our unionized teachers have such great job security that they can hardly be fired once they get "tenure."  Oh, and the benefits and retirement pay are outstanding.  Naturally, Arne Duncan, Secretary of Education, is calling for even more money. [...] America's government schools have been run for the benefit of teacher unions, not for the students.  There is an obvious solution staring us in the face:  awarding education funds to parents, and allowing them to choose schools suited to their children.

Colleges Substitute Western Greats With Gender Studies.  Parents pay a fortune to send their kids to big-name colleges, and they expect strong scholarship in return.  More and more, what they're getting ranges from drivel to leftist indoctrination.

Second largest California school district pays teachers for not teaching.  California has a 1971 state law — the Stull Act — that mandates student performance be included in teacher evaluations.  This is just the sort of approach that President Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan like as part of their push to eliminate the 10 percent or so of teachers they say are too incompetent to be allowed in the classroom.  But guess what:  The law has been ignored for decades in California.  Why?  Because for at least 20 years, the most powerful special interest in the state has been the teacher unions — the California Teachers Association and the California Federation of Teachers.  Keeping the CTA and CFT happy has been a higher priority in local school districts and in the Legislature than actually honoring a clearly written state law.

Voters Defeat Amendment 66, But What If Judges Get the Final Say on Education Spending?  On Tuesday, Colorado voters wisely rejected Amendment 66, which would have pumped almost $1 billion in new taxes into the state's wasteful and inefficient public-school system.  The amendment had powerful supporters from all corners of the education establishment — the teacher's unions, the governor, almost every elected Democrat, Michael Bloomberg, Arne Duncan, the Gates Foundation, and many others.  Remarkably, nearly two-thirds of Colorado voters still rejected Amendment 66.  It's a gratifying demonstration that the political class, for all its wealth and influence, can still be defeated by ordinary citizens exercising the vote.

New N.C. exams paint bleak picture of skills in state, CMS.  The 2013 scores indicate that most African-American, Hispanic and low-income students performed below grade level in reading, math and science.  Those groups had begun catching up with white and Asian classmates on the old exams, but they saw the sharpest drop on the new ones.  In CMS, for instance, more than 70 percent of white students passed elementary, middle and high school math tests, but fewer than 30 percent of black students did.  Both groups of CMS students outperformed state averages, the white students by more than 15 percentage points.

Up With Teachers, Down With Doctors?  Pay teachers more.  Shrink class sizes.  Upgrade classroom materials.  These are the standard positions taken by teachers' unions and their political allies on the left.  The belief is that more school spending, especially on across-the-board pay raises for teachers, is essential to improving education.  These views are mistaken.  Teachers are not underpaid, and total education spending — which has more than doubled in real terms since the 1970s, with little change in test scores — is wasteful and excessive.

What Government Schools Can Teach Us About Government Healthcare.  So what can single-payer education teach us about single-payer healthcare?  For one thing, it shows that the government will not necessarily cut costs just because it has the power to do so.  Teachers unions have allied with politicians to ratchet up public education spending over time, with no significant increase in quality.

J-school failure: Just 26 percent of new reporters have skills to do the job.  A journalism degree can cost nearly $100,000 for graduate students, but for many it's a waste of money because they are leaving school without the skills needed in the new age of digital reporting and publishing, according to a sweeping new survey of the industry.  The highly-regarded Poynter Institute, an international strategy center and leader in journalism education, found in their 2013 "Future of Journalism" study that only one quarter of journalism school students showed up on the job ready for work.

U.S. adults below par on math, reading test.  In math, reading and problem-solving using technology — skills considered critical for global competitiveness and economic strength — American adults scored below the international average on a global test, according to results released Tuesday [10/8/2013].

SAT scores show less than five percent of Paterson high school students ready for college and careers.  Just 26 of the 598 high school students in Paterson Public Schools who took the SAT tests this year had scores that reached the college and career readiness benchmark, according to statistics released by city education officials.  That rate of 4.3 percent of pretty much matches last year's performance when 4.4 percent, or 26 of 591 students, reached the college-career ready mark, the data shows.  In 2011, 21 of 513 were college-career ready, or 4 percent.

Bankrupt ideas lead to bankrupt governments.  Outside of government, almost every good or service becomes better and less expensive in real terms each year.  Government, though, is most heavily involved in education and health care.  In both cases, costs have risen far faster than inflation for decades.  With education, there has been almost no measurable improvement in quality as measured by what students know.

SAT scores stagnant; many unprepared for college, officials say.  The combined average SAT score of 1498 was the same as last year; a perfect score on the three-section test is 2400.  In California, the combined average score of 1505 dropped two points from last year and 12 points from 2010.  Perhaps more telling, only 48% of test takers reached the "SAT Benchmark" — a score of 1550 that indicates a 65% likelihood that students will obtain a first-year college grade-point average of B- or higher, according to the College Board.

Rich, Arrogant, and Stupid.  [Consider] the continuing failure of our schools to give our children the skills necessary to be productive members of our economy and good citizens worthy of political freedom.  For nearly a century our so-called "educators" have pursued every fad of pseudo-sciences like psychology to throw out traditional learning and replace it with voodoo like "self-esteem," "collaborative learning," "values clarification," and other nostrums reflecting progressive ideology and pop-psych snake oil.  The result has been abysmal ignorance of basic skills evident in comparisons with other countries.  For example, in a 2010 report, only 6% of U.S. students were performing at an advanced level in math, a percentage lower than 30 other countries, and only 32% of 8th graders were proficient in math.

The Decline of College.  Almost all the old campus protocols are now tragically outdated or antithetical to their original mission.  Tenure — virtual lifelong job security for full-time faculty after six years — was supposed to protect free speech on campus.  How, then, did campus ideology become more monotonous than diverse, more intolerant of politically unpopular views than open-minded?  Universities have so little job flexibility that campuses cannot fire the incompetent tenured or hire full-time competent newcomers.

Three-quarters of Americans think teachers paid less than they really are.  Seventy-four percent of Americans think teachers make less than they really do, according to a new poll from Rasmussen.  The average teacher salary in America is $55,000 (upward of $75,000 in Chicago), but three quarters of Americans think teachers earn less than that.

Justice Sandra Day O'Connor on Political Ignorance.  Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor recently gave a speech lamenting widespread political ignorance in the United States. [...] About one-third can name the three branches of government.  Fewer than one-fifth of high school seniors can explain how citizen participation benefits democracy.  "Less than one-third of eighth-graders can identify the historical purpose of the Declaration of Independence, and it's right there in the name," she said.

America the ignorant.  One of the frequently depressing things you encounter when writing about politics and government, or talking to the sorts of people who read about it on a daily basis, is the false impression you form that everyone knows this stuff. [...] But I'm sorry to report that you are in a shockingly tiny minority.

American Education: a Lesson in Incoherence.  The USA has a below-average employment rate for tertiary educated 25-64 year olds, ranked 10th worst among 35 countries, with the corresponding unemployment rate in this same group well above the OECD average.  America also has a below average proportion of full-time earners among 25-64 year-old tertiary-educated individuals with earnings from employment.  World Bank data also shows that the percentage of total unemployment comprised of those with tertiary education is extremely high in the USA.

The Educators' War on the Working Class.  They say that capitalism is the deadliest threat to poor Americans.  But that's not true — it's actually Big Education.  We are constantly told that educators are "dedicated" to improving the lives of students and that a good education opens the door to a good career and financial success.  But while this rhetoric may have been true at one time, in the last ten years the economic reality of property taxes and student loan debt are starting to overcome the positives.  Educators may now be the greatest source of financial hardship faced by middle-class and poor working Americans.

Obama's Crackpot Scheme to Make College 'More Affordable'.  Begin with the obvious.  A cardinal political rule is that thou shall not harm one vital constituency, and it is hard to think of a more loyal, energetic, and financially generous Democratic constituency than today's campus.  These loyal voters will never be given pink slips, at least not by a Democratic president.  Less obvious, but ultimately of greater importance, today's universities, with scant exception, are vital to the long-term ideological health of the Democratic Party's progressive wing.  If colleges are slimmed down, who will teach the next generation about "social justice" or the evils of the white male patriarchy?

Not for the Children.  [Recently there was] an announcement by Dunbar High School in Washington, D.C., that it plans on August 19 to begin "an entire week of activities to celebrate the grand opening of our new $160 million state-of-the-art school building."  The painful irony in all this is that the original Dunbar High School building, which opened in 1916, housed a school with a record of high academic achievements for generations of black students, despite the inadequacies of the building and the inadequacies of the financial support that the school received.  By contrast, today's Dunbar High School is just another ghetto school with abysmal standards, despite Washington's record of having some of the country's highest levels of money spent per pupil — and some of the lowest test-score results.

Education performance
America's Educational Madness.  Imagine you were the CEO of something called "American K-12 Public Schools" and it was the annual Board meeting.  With everyone assembled, the firm's Chief of Research distributed this one-page "progress" report. [...] In a nutshell, and in constant 2013 dollars, the cost of a K-12 education in 1970 was $57,602; the same education in 2010 was $164,426 all the while employment in education rose sharply and school enrollments remained flat.  Clearly, if our hypothetical firm was a real business, it would have long vanished.

A $147 Million Signal of Faith in Atlanta's Public Schools.  The most expensive public high school ever built in Georgia opens Wednesday in an old I.B.M. office building.  With 11 stories, a 900-car parking deck and views fit for a corporate executive, the school, North Atlanta High, looks very much like the fancy office buildings and glittery shopping strips that populate its Buckhead community.  The school cost about $147 million.  That is small change compared with the Robert F. Kennedy high school complex in Los Angeles, built in 2010 for $578 million — a figure critics liked to point out was more expensive than Beijing's Olympic stadium.

Test Scores Sink as New York Adopts Tougher Benchmarks.  The number of New York students passing state reading and math exams dropped drastically this year, education officials reported on Wednesday, unsettling parents, principals and teachers and posing new challenges to a national effort to toughen academic standards.  In New York City, 26 percent of students in third through eighth grade passed the tests in English, and 30 percent passed in math, according to the New York State Education Department.

Cory Booker Spent $100 Million in Education Money on Political Consultants.  Newark Mayor and U.S. Senate Candidate Cory Booker claims he cares about education, but a new ad produced by the American Commitment Fund shows Booker squandered $100 million in education funds donated by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on political consultants, focus groups, mailing and polling.

The College Degree Scam.  For years we've heard the propaganda line that everyone needs to go to college — that a degree will improve your status and standard of living.  It has become politically incorrect to even suggest that a higher education degree might not be right for every young American.  So it's not surprising that those without a college degree often feel inferior and marginalized.  Has a college degree become the litmus test for whether a person is well educated and successful?  These highly successfully individuals would likely disagree with that premise.

Lying as a Way of Life.  The Washington Post says that "fewer than half of D.C. children are proficient in reading, according to standardized tests, and more than a third of all city residents are functionally illiterate, according to a 2007 report."  This despite the availability of "public education" which by rights should have made illiteracy a thing of the past.  But public education's achievements — or lack thereof — can be gauged by the Post's further reporting that in certain DC schools districts lagging children are no longer invited to remedial summer classes because they "are too far behind."  They can't even be included in remediation for fear they will prove an anchor round the necks of any students who might actually have a chance to escape the government-funded shipwreck.

The Editor says...
That's an important bit of information:  There are some kids who are too far behind to qualify for "no child left behind."

Being Schooled About Transgenders.  Education these days involves indoctrination, far more than teaching children to think clearly and to recognize demagoguery and propaganda.  Too often, our schools — from pre-school to graduate programs — are saturated with so-called "progressive" ideology.  Even when they cannot read or do basic math, children can spout the latest cultural truism [...] They know where to buy condoms or obtain birth control; they "know" that global warming is the greatest threat facing mankind.  And, today, it is becoming perfectly normal for "transgender" students to pop in and out of whichever bathroom they want to use.

Black Education Tragedy.  Some of that evidence unfolded when [George] Zimmerman's defense attorney asked 19-year-old [Rachel] Jeantel to read a letter that she allegedly had written to Trayvon Martin's mother.  She responded that she doesn't read cursive, and that's in addition to her poor grammar, syntax and communication skills.  Jeantel is a senior at Miami Norland Senior High School.  How in the world did she manage to become a 12th-grader without being able to read cursive writing?  That's a skill one would expect from a fourth-grader.  Jeantel is by no means an exception at her school.

Drunk College Kids Know Almost Nothing About Independence Day.  These kids don't know why we celebrate the 4th of July, who America gained independence from or what year it happened.  They even had trouble coming up with how many stars and stripes are on the American flag.  If these kids represent the future of America, we have a lot more to worry about than the IRS or the NSA.

Democrats put Blacks in the Back of the Bus.  Currently the unemployment rate for black Americans is 13.5%, vs. 6.7% for whites, but the rate for black teens is 42.6%, vs. 21.6% for whites.  It's clear that the Obama economy has had a very disparate impact on blacks.  This is in large part due to the much lower skill levels of blacks than whites.  While 94.4% of whites finish High School only 88.1% of blacks do.  Similarly while 39.2% of whites have at least a Bachelors degree only 20.1% of blacks do.  There are many theories as to why this gap exists but a likely cause is the horrible state of public education in the inner cities where Democrat politicians and teachers unions work together with little concern for the children they're supposed to serve.

Study: U.S. Teacher Training 'Dismal'.  A report released on Tuesday [6/18/2013] by the National Council on Teacher Quality finds that U.S. teacher training is "an industry of mediocrity" that produces teachers without a clue.  "The results were dismal," said Kate Walsh, president of the bipartisan research group.  Walsh told Reuters that new teachers "don't know how to teach reading, don't know how to master a classroom, don't know how to use data."

Dewey: Stalin's Propagandist, the World's Teacher.  [In 1928], The New Republic published Dewey's Impressions of Soviet Russia and the revolutionary world.  This polemic stands as a remarkable testament to progressivism's disdain for mankind, reason, and truth.  It is also Dewey's most honest and concise primer on the principles of his progressive education method.  Anyone prepared to defend the idea of government-controlled schooling after reading this work is perhaps beyond reach of rational argument.

The Soul Abstracted from Life.  Modern civilization willingly consigns almost all of its children to the living hell of forced retardation.  Everyone knows the educational establishment is beset with problems, corruptions, and the downward ratchet of lowest common denominator standards.  And yet parents continue to send their children to government schools, hoping, perhaps even half-believing, that this will not significantly harm the children's adult lives.  They are dead wrong.

Powerful Evidence for School Choice.  Simply stated, it's increasingly difficult for defenders of the status quo to rationalize pouring more money into the failed government education monopoly.  To paraphrase Winston Churchill, never has so much been spent so recklessly with such meager results.

Boola, Boola, Save Your Moolah.  Snapping your wallets shut now is the last option left to us to retake these now failing institutions and remake them into what the nation needs — places where capable students are taught, at reasonable cost, how to provide the goods, services, and civic skills to carry on our great democratic republic.

New Jersey spent $18,047 per pupil in public schools last year.  Among regular Bergen districts, total per-pupil spending ranged from a high of $25,938 in the small, wealthy and high-achieving district of Alpine to $13,317 in the immigrant, blue-collar community of Fairview.  The Bergen County Special Services district, which serves severely disabled children, spends $87,588.

'If We Can Save Just One Child...'  By the time Adam Lanza was ten years old, Connecticut schools were required by law to have an anti-bullying policy in place.  This requirement was strengthened in 2008 and again in 2011.  None of these laws helped protect Adam Lanza, nor did they keep him from growing up into an angry young man known to us only for a final horrific act at the scene of his own torment.  Teacher trainers, consultants, anti-bullying policy coordinators, and such benefited from the legislation, but Lanza did not.

Facing the Hardest Truth on Public Education.  Were public schools better twenty, forty, or sixty years ago?  Of course they were.  But it no more follows from this that public education is not such a bad idea than it follows from the fact that the welfare state of sixty years ago had not yet incorporated socialized medicine that socialism is not such a bad idea.  Today's extensions of progressive control over an ever-increasing range of our lives did not arise from nowhere; they were made possible by earlier, gradual insinuations of the concepts and moral perspectives of tyranny into the modern West's soul.

Teachers Pensions: Revealing What States Are Hiding.  How much are we spending on education?  Actually, far more than we know — because as it turns out, states are hiding some of the teachers' benefits.  In a new paper, Heritage expert Jason Richwine reveals that "Proper accounting would reveal tens of billions of dollars in extra teacher pension costs, equivalent to somewhere around $1,000 in unreported spending per student."  That's right — the real cost of education is far higher than we've been told, but it's not because of extra classroom resources or newer facilities.  It's because of teachers' pensions.

Official Education Spending Figures Do Not Incorporate Full Cost of Teacher Pensions.  Despite the centrality of pensions in debates over government budgeting and education policy, the federal government dramatically underestimates teacher pension costs in its official education spending figures.  States report to the federal government only the yearly contributions to teacher pension funds rather than the present value of accrued benefits.

No Guns, No School: Liberal Racism In Obama's Chicago.  Facing a billion-dollar budget shortfall, the Chicago Public Schools' plan to close 54 schools, mostly in black and low-income neighborhoods, forces many students to cross gang boundaries to get a mediocre education.

Teachers' Unions Panic as Scott Walker Moves to Expand School Vouchers.  There is a reason why teachers' unions oppose standardized ratings.  Hard numbers highlight performance and mandate reforms.  Scott Walker is proposing to give parents an exit strategy from broken schools, but those broken schools are the bread and butter of the Educrats who can use their failures as bottomless money pits.

Christie to announce state takeover of Camden schools.  As part of the takeover of what the state considers the worst-performing district in New Jersey, Christie will appoint a new superintendent and leadership team, shifting the school board to an advisory role, according to Christie administration officials briefed on the plan.

Panic in Faculty Lounges.  It's always a knee-slapper when American university professors and administrators, representatives of one of the most extravagantly funded and unaccountable industries in the history of the world, complain they are being underfunded and that the world will suffer as a result. [...] If university officials are in a dither about how to replace lost research funds, they have plenty of options, as the sheer waste in the university industry is staggering.  A great first step would be for universities to sluff off all the useless administrators that have been added to payrolls over the fat years of the recent decades.  The railroads have nothing on universities for featherbedding.

Swelling Educational Bureaucracy Declares War On Children.  What is happening these days in education?  Children are being demonized and expelled from public schools for "crimes" associated with plastic army men or gun-shaped cookies.  A monster is growing.  Ever since the Department of Education took in more than $100 billion in 2009 stimulus cash to "improve education" the incidents of petty tyranny traumatizing children from its bureaucrats and teachers unions has grown exponentially in schools.

Curricula and Social Engineering.  In this day of solicitous, competitive parenting, can you conceive of parents willingly turning their child over to a school with a curriculum geared to the least common denominator?  One that's designed to systematically indoctrinate him with socialist, anti-capitalist concepts?  Yet nearly 90% of American families send their children off to the local public schools for just such and education.  Between the embedded social engineering/indoctrination and the dumbing down of the academic curriculum, public education today hosts serious and systemic problems.

A Looming Political Firestorm In Wyoming.  Concerned citizens can expect to see their children's academic well being relegated to inconsequential status, while untold sums of tax money disappear once more down unspecified rat holes.  This has been "business as usual" for many years, and its devotees and beneficiaries see no reason for things to change.

Ensuring Black Kids Get Inferior Education: a Civil Rights Issue?  The single greatest civil rights issue in modern America is the inferior quality of education that so many black Americans are receiving.  If the KKK were in charge of the school system in cities like Detroit and Atlanta, the kids couldn't be getting a much poorer education.  But, as long as there are black, liberal Democrats running the show and wetting their beaks, nobody seems to care whether the children get educated.

Non-Teaching School Staff Costing Taxpayers Money.  The U.S. public education system has seen an enormous increase in staff over the past few decades.  But unlike private companies, which base staffing decisions on product demand, the number of school staff positions has increased rapidly without a commensurate increase in the number of students served by the system.

Officials: 80 Percent Of Recent NYC High School Graduates Cannot Read.  Nearly 80 percent of New York City high school graduates need to relearn basic skills before they can enter the City University's community college system.  The number of kids behind the 8-ball is the highest in years, CBS 2's Marcia Kramer reported Thursday [3/7/2013].

Rebuttal:
No, 80 Percent of NYC High School Graduates Are Not Illiterate.  An unfortunate story on CBS New York Thursday [3/7/2013] carried this headline:  "Officials:  80 Percent Of Recent NYC High School Graduates Cannot Read."  It's a shocker, but it's also untrue.  And to make things worse, the story that followed was riddled with typos.

California's expensive education failure.  According to RAND Corp., as late as the 1970s California's public schools still had an "excellent" reputation.  Then, in 1975, Brown (in his first stint as California's governor) signed the Rodda Act, giving government unions the power to take money directly out of government employees' paychecks.  The California Teachers Association quickly poured this new revenue stream into an organizing drive, more than doubling the union's ranks.  The Golden State's politics have never been the same since — nor has the quality of its public schools.

The Logic of Liberalism.  Education in the USA is in rather deep trouble.  We have masses of students graduating with hardly the ability to do basic math and basic language skills.  We have high school dropouts at record levels.  We have U.S. students doing poorly on international exams.  A dearth of solutions abound.  No one really knows what to do.  But liberals have their patented resolution.  Spend more money.

The Real State of the Union.  The growing crisis in the government's student loan programs may be the least publicized trillion-dollar mess in world history.  Outstanding balances have grown by $400 billion during just the past four years.  During that time, the percentage of loans which is 90 or more days delinquent has skyrocketed from an already awful 8 percent to 11 percent, with most of that increase occurring during just the past few reported quarters.  Why is this happening — and why will the situation probably get much worse?  High school grads are going on to college at a record high percentage, but an unprecedented percentage of those who do are ill equipped to succeed in their studies.  When they fail, their student loans don't go away, not even in bankruptcy.

Cut role of feds in local police, fire and education.  [Scroll down]  Take K-12 education, which the federal government had almost zero role in funding until President Carter created the Department of Education in 1979.  Since then, federal education spending has grown more than 350 percent.  Yet math, reading and science scores are virtually identical to those of the 1970s.  Every dime of federal education spending appears to have been completely wasted.

Yeah, so is grammar.
Improperly assigned teachers [are] a problem.  Untrained teachers have been assigned to a variety of difficult classes, including those filled with English-language learners and others with special intellectual and physical needs.  In many cases, these teachers lack training in a particular subject that they've been assigned to teach, such as English or math.

Poor Kids Are No Excuse For America's Poor Education.  It's a depressingly common annual headline: U.S. students fare poorly compared with those in other countries even though America spends far more on its schools.  But a new report wants you to believe that U.S. schools really aren't so bad compared with other developed countries.  It's just the greater number of poor kids they have to educate that makes them appear bad.  This is nothing more than a rehash of the tired ideology that schools cannot be held responsible for how well students learn.

Subsidies create glut of college grads.  A new study finds almost half of Americans with college degrees are working at jobs that don't require one.  It's the latest example of how federal subsidies are creating a massive higher-education bubble.

Majoring in Useless: College grads taking jobs that don't even require degree.  With record numbers of college graduates underemployed in jobs that don't actually require degrees, economists are joking that even aspiring janitors may soon have to get master's degrees to compete for jobs.  A study released Monday by the Center for College Affordability and Productivity found that 37 percent of employed graduates didn't need to attend college at all to successfully perform their current jobs.

Administrative Bloat at America's Colleges and Universities.  Forty years ago, one presumes the university had no Office of Equity and Diversity.  Now, it's a burgeoning enterprise.  And, bureaucracies being what they are, one suspects the Office will continue to grow long after its original purpose has been fulfilled.

An Anatomy of a Most Peculiar Institution.  A student's life on campus is a zero-sum game.  For each elective like "The modern comic book," or "Chicana feminisms" or "Queering the text," students have no time (or desire to) take more difficult and instructive classes on the British Enlightenment or A History of World War I or Classical English Grammar. [...] The result is perhaps a fourth of the liberal arts courses — many would judge more like 50% — would never have been allowed in the curriculum just 40 years ago.  They tend to foster the two most regrettable traits in a young mind — ignorance of the uninformed combined with the arrogance of the zealot.  All too often students in these courses become revved up over a particular writ — solar power, gay marriage, the war on women, multiculturalism — without the skills to present their views logically and persuasively in response to criticism.

Heads of 36 private colleges earn more than $1 million.  For the second straight year, the chief executives of 36 private U.S. colleges or universities earned more than $1 million in 2010, according to an annual study by the Chronicle of Higher Education.  Topping the list in Pennsylvania was Amy Gutmann, president of the University of Pennsylvania, who earned a base salary of $915,000 and total compensation of $1,463,000.

Tax-the-Rich Obama Fairy Tale Won't Magically Restore Public Services.  [Scroll down]  Since Ronald Reagan became president and began wielding those menacing scissors to cut tax rates, total education spending per student has nearly doubled.  On the federal level, the U.S. Department of Education spent $14.2 billion in constant dollars when Reagan came to Washington, but the budget rose to $56 billion in 2006 under President George W. Bush.  From that point forward, with the reduced Bush tax rates firmly in place, spending soared again to $71 billion in 2011.

Advance Illinois releases dismal report on education in Illinois.  Years of overhaul efforts have done little to improve schools in Illinois, and a comprehensive and sustained program to change how children are educated in the state's public schools is needed, leaders of an education reform group said Tuesday [11/13/2012].  "We're going to have to hit this with a 2-by-4," said Robin Steans, executive director of Advance Illinois.  According to a report released by the organization Tuesday, only one-third of Illinois students complete fourth grade proficient in reading; the same percentage of students is academically prepared at the start of high school; and fewer than one-third of students leave high school ready for college.

Changing Demographics? More Like Enduring Ignorance.  On election night, for the umpteenth time, I went to the local food mart, and gave the high school kid working the register a five dollar bill for something that cost $2.32.  She punched it into the computer, after which I gave her the thirty-two cents.  By now, most of you know where this is going:  the dazed look, alternating between the change and me, as if I'd handed her the Dead Sea Scrolls and demanded a translation on the spot.  Of course if I'd used that analogy to make light of the moment, it wouldn't have mattered:  these kids aren't just mathematically illiterate, they wouldn't know what the Dead Sea Scrolls are either — unless it was the name of a new app for their I-phones.

Students sickened after eating lunches contaminated with droppings.  Students at a Chicago high school fell ill Wednesday [10/10/2012] after eating contaminated school lunches, a CPS spokesperson confirmed.  Two students reportedly became sick at Hirsch High School on the city's south side after eating hot school lunches that were contaminated with rat or mouse droppings.  The food appeared to have been chewed by either a rat or a mouse.  The students were hospitalized after becoming sick and are expected to be ok.  The kitchen has been shut down for inspection.

The Imaginary Teacher Shortage.  For decades we have tried to boost academic outcomes by hiring more teachers, and we have essentially nothing to show for it.  In 1970, public schools employed 2.06 million teachers, or one for every 22.3 students, according to the U.S. Department of Education's Digest of Education Statistics.  In 2012, we have 3.27 million teachers, one for every 15.2 students.  Yet math and reading scores for 17-year-olds have remained virtually unchanged since 1970, according to the U.S. Department of Education's National Assessment of Educational Progress.

Obama's America: Student Reading SAT Scores Hit Record Lows.  No doubt the Obama administration will combat this problem by complaining about racial discrepancies in education and suggesting pouring billions more down the rathole that is the public education system — all the while avoiding scrutiny for teachers unions.  That's the all-purpose liberal solution:  cash, cash, and more cash.

OSU president expenses in the millions.  E. Gordon Gee makes millions as president of Ohio State University, but a Dayton Daily News investigation found the university spends almost as much for Gee to travel the globe, throw parties, wine and dine donors, woo prospective faculty, hang out with students and staff and maintain a 9,600-square-foot mansion on 1.3 acres.

10 Public Colleges with Insanely Luxurious Dorms.  Competition for students who have more sophisticated tastes than in past years is creating the perfect environment for schools to try to outdo each other with ever-more posh on-campus housing.

Obama Administration 'Strengthening the American Workforce' with $500 Million 'Investment' in Schools.  Labor Secretary Hilda Solis announced on Wednesday [9/19/2012] that her department and the Department of Education are giving out $500 million in grants to community colleges and universities around the country as part of a $2 billion, four-year plan to expand training programs.

Academic Dishonesty.  In today's college climate, we shouldn't be surprised by the outcomes.  A survey conducted by the Center for Survey Research and Analysis at the University of Connecticut gave 81 percent of the seniors a D or an F in their knowledge of American history.  Many students could not identify Valley Forge, words from the Gettysburg Address or even the basic principles of the U.S. Constitution.  The National Center for Education Statistics reported that only 31 percent of college graduates can read and understand a complex book.

Useless, Costly Teacher's Unions.  [Scroll down]  Heartland's S.T. Karnick, Director of Research, noted that "The average teacher salary in Chicago is $74,839, plus benefits far better than those available in the private sector.  Yet Chicago Public Schools are among the nation's worst, which is saying a lot."  According their own data, Chicago's public schools "failed to make adequate yearly progress in student achievement last year.  Children in the city's private and charter schools do much better at a fraction of the cost."

Gallup: Americans Rate Public Schools the Worst Place to Educate Children.  A new Gallup poll released today indicates that Americans rate public schools the worst place to educate children.  In the national survey conducted Aug. 9-12, private independent schools, parochial and church-related schools, charter schools and home-schooling all rated higher than public schools.

Federal Subsidies to Chicago Schools: $4 Billion in 4 Years; $10,540 Per Student.  Taxpayers in places as divergent as Florida and Montana, Nevada and New Hampshire, Arizona and Maine — as well as their children who will eventually need to pay the interest on the federal government's growing debt — may not think they have a stake in the Chicago teachers strike, but in fact the budgets of the Chicago Public Schools show that American taxpayers everywhere have literally billions at stake in what goes on in this one city's public school system.  Over the past four years, the Chicago public schools have churned through total revenues of approximately $20.27 billion and about $4.26 billion of that revenue — or almost 21 percent of it — has come from the federal government.

President Obama wants to improve the education of black students.  Why not all students?
Obama's Educational Excellence Initiative.  President Barack Obama recently wrote an executive order that established a White House initiative on educational excellence for black Americans that will be housed in the Department of Education.  It proposes "to identify evidence-based best practices" to improve black achievement in school and college.  Though black education is in desperate straits, the president's executive order will accomplish absolutely nothing to improve black education.  The reason is that it does not address the root causes of educational rot among black Americans.

How American Public Education Has Become a Criminal Enterprise (Part 2).  Back in 1983, the National Commission on Excellence in Education produced its long-awaited and by now totally ignored report entitled "A Nation at Risk." [...] This harsh indictment was handed down 29 years ago, and the schools have only gotten worse.  Dumbing down an entire nation is certainly a crime of such magnitude that it is barely understandable.  What kind of Americans would have dreamed up such a plan and callously implemented it, knowing full well that it would undermine the nation's economic and cultural health as well as inflict untold mental suffering on millions of Americans who are now adults trying to cope with the handicaps their schools gave them?

The Education Blob.  Since progressives want government to run health care, let's look at what government management did to K-12 education.  While most every other service in life has gotten better and cheaper, American education remains stagnant.  Spending has tripled!  Why no improvement?  Because K-12 education is a virtual government monopoly — and monopolies don't improve.  In every other sector of the economy, market competition forces providers to improve constantly.  It's why most things get better — often cheaper, too (except when government interferes, as in health care).

The Underclass.  In one essay, "We Don't Want No Education," reprinted by City Journal, [Theodore] Dalrymple says that he cannot recall meeting a 16-year-old from the public housing project near his hospital who could perform simple multiplication operations, such as nine times seven.  One 17-year-old told him, "We didn't get that far."  This was after 12 years of attending school.

We Don't Want No Education.  Just as it was impossible to go broke underestimating the taste of the American public, so it is impossible to overstate the abysmal educational depths to which a large proportion of the English have now sunk, boding ill for the country's future in the global market.  Very few of the 16 year olds whom I meet as patients can read and write with facility; they do not even regard my question as to whether they can read and write as in the least surprising or insulting.  I now test the basic literacy of nearly every such youth I meet, in case illiteracy should prove to be one of the causes of his misery.  One can tell merely by the way these youths handle a pen or a book that they are unfamiliar with these instruments.

Toronto schools pay high prices for small jobs.  Here's what taxpayers were charged for work done at Toronto public schools:
Installing a $17 pencil sharpener:  $143 to put in four screws.
The installation of a sign on a school's front lawn:  $19,000
An electrical outlet on the wall in a school library:  $3,000
A "breakfast club" kitchen:  $250,000

Obama the Reactionary.  [Scroll down]  You have to remember that Obama was given nearly 100 million dollars of play money by the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, courtesy of Bill Ayers, supposedly to fix the inner city school system.  When the money was all spent Obama's campaign was launched, but nothing had changed in Chicago's schools.

Not worth the debt.  Pretty much everyone agrees that the increases in tuition (which have vastly outpaced consumer prices and family incomes) and the growth in student-loan debt (which now exceeds credit-card or auto-loan debt) are unsustainable.  As economist Herb Stein famously said, something that can't go on forever, won't.

New Normal: Majority Of Unemployed Attended College.  For the first time in history, the number of jobless workers age 25 and up who have attended some college now exceeds the ranks of those who settled for a high school diploma or less.  Out of 9 million unemployed in April, 4.7 million had gone to college or graduated and 4.3 million had not, seasonally adjusted Labor Department data show.

In Obama's economy, it's better to forget college.  For how many generations have parents told their offspring that a college education would virtually guarantee economic success in life?  Well, not in Obama's economy.  All part of his hopeless change.

Why College Football Should Be Banned:  In more than 20 years I've spent studying the issue, I have yet to hear a convincing argument that college football has anything do with what is presumably the primary purpose of higher education:  academics.  That's because college football has no academic purpose.  Which is why it needs to be banned.  A radical solution, yes.  But necessary in today's times.

Higher Education Theatre of the Absurd.  Higher education today is a nightmare.  There are a trillion dollars in potentially toxic student debt.  We see people with PhDs on food stamps, a 400% rise in tuition over 20 years, and only 49% of college grads finding jobs within a year.  According to the left, these woes result from a "conservative war on professors."  But wait.  If conservatives dislike the professoriate, it is because the professoriate has done an excellent job excluding right-wingers.

The fruits of the public school system:
One in three Americans would 'fail citizenship test'.  A survey has found that around one third of U.S. citizens would fail the country's citizenship test for immigrants.  The study, conducted by the Center for the Study of the American Dream at Xavier University, in Cincinnati, Ohio, found that one in three respondents would fail the civics portion of the test given to those applying for U.S. citizenship.  More than 1,000 Americans over the age of 18 were asked 10 random questions from the civics test, which asks about US history and government topics.

Obama to Speak at 'Luxury' Public School.  [Scroll down]  What the official announcement left out was that this isn't just any public school ... it's a luxury school.  "Arlington's new Washington-Lee High School is nearing completion," the Washington Post reported in August 2007.  "In January, students at the school will begin a transition into a $95 million building with a vegetated 'green' roof, a 10-lane swimming pool and a cyber cafe.  Some parts of the old school will remain in use after January while construction is completed on the new building."

Illinois considers charging kids for riding school buses.  The big yellow school bus, that enduring symbol of free public education, may not be so free in the future in Illinois.  State education officials, struggling to find savings as the Legislature reduces funding, are considering a plan that would allow school districts to charge students for transportation.

Taxpayers Finance a $537,767-Per-Year Bureaucrat.  [Long Island school Superintendent Carole] Hankin and the other bureaucrats mentioned [in this article] are extreme examples, but they help underscore the problem that exists when politicians and bureaucrat unions make insider deals, swapping political support for lavish compensation levels.

American Education Fails Because It Isn't Education.  Twenty years ago the U.S. ranked first in the world in the number of young adults who had high school diplomas and college degrees.  Today we rank ninth and seventh, respectively, among industrialized nations.  Compared to Europe and Asia, 15-year-olds in the United States are below average in applying math skills to real-life tasks.  The United States ranks 18 out of 24 industrialized nations in terms of relative effectiveness of its education system.  Knowledge in history, geography, grammar, civics and literature are all in decline in terms of academic understanding and achievement.

Want to Be Unemployed? Get This College Degree.  A study released Wednesday [1/4/2012] by Georgetown University's Center on Education and the Workforce found that among recent college graduates with undergraduate degrees, architecture had the highest rate of unemployment at 13.9 percent, followed by the arts (11.1 percent) and the humanities (9.4 percent).

Cup stacking is a silly excuse for a sport.  Stacking is about as ridiculous as the Olympic sport of curling, but offers far less cardiovascular benefit.  It's also surprisingly expensive. ... The thing that drives me wild is that, according to Speed Stacks' official website, 10,511 schools have incorporated cup stacking into their gym curriculum.  You read that correctly -- gym curriculum!  Childhood obesity rates are rising, but we have millions of children standing around in gym classes across America building pyramids with plastic cups.  Meanwhile, playgrounds lie abandoned, balls wait unbounced in dark storage rooms and outdoor tracks silently bake under the sun.

Why is Public Education Failing?  It's a fact.  Most of today's school children can barely read or write.  They can't perform math problems without a calculator.  They barely know who the Founding Fathers were and know even less of their achievements.  Most can't tell you the name of the President of the United States.  It's pure and simple; today's children aren't coming out of school with an academics education.  Colleges know it.  They have to set up remedial courses for incoming freshmen just to prepare them for classes.  Parents know it.  Their children grow dumber everyday.  The politicians say they know it.  They hold hearings to grill education "experts," and they hold high-powered education "summits" to debate and discuss the "problem."  And they keep coming up with more federal programs and dictate more standards and spend more taxpayer dollars to fix the problem.  But the problem continues to explode.  Why?

$600,000 spent; two students pass.
Advanced Placement programs not paying off.  Few of the students who attend Charleston's lowest-performing schools can pass the rigorous Advanced Placement tests, but school leaders say they're committed to changing that.  The school district has poured more than $600,000 into downtown Burke High during the past three years for its AP Academy, a program started in the fall of 2008 to give the school a needed academic boost.  Only two students have earned "passing" scores to receive college credit during the past two years.

So When Are We Allowed to Be Intolerant?  [Scroll down]  Education, a core function of state and local governments, is an industry where performance is measured by inputs rather than by outputs.  If the quality of performance decreases, governments at all levels say we're not paying teachers enough, or we need smaller class sizes, or newer schools, or we need more money to throw at the problem.  Between 1970 and 2005, school spending per pupil, adjusted for inflation, doubled, while standardized achievement test scores did not improve.  Over almost that same time period, public-school employment doubled per student.

Ohio's 'Excellent' School Ratings a Farce.  More than 50 percent of the state's eighth graders scored at an accelerated or advanced level in reading, and 33.7 percent in math, according to Ohio's assessment, but the NAEP score showed just 3 percent of eighth-grade students scoring at advanced levels in reading and 8 percent in math.  "States and districts have strong incentives to claim their students are performing at the highest level even when they are not," said Paul Peterson, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution.

The fruits of the public school system:
80% of minorities ineligible to join military.  The Pentagon is struggling to meet President Obama's demands for more diversity in officer-ranks because a stunning 80 percent of minority teens who might consider military service are ineligible because of bad grades, criminal records, obesity and drug use, the head of the Military Leadership Diversity Commission revealed Tuesday [3/6/2012].

These Are The Worst Teachers In New York City.  After a prolonged legal battle, the New York City Department of Education on Friday [2/24/2012] released individual performance rankings for 18,000 public school teachers.  The data rates teachers based on their students' gains on the state's math and English exams over five years in fourth- through eighth-grade classrooms, according to the Wall Street Journal's Lisa Fleisher.  The teachers' union had filed a lawsuit to stop the data from being released, but last week a judge sided with the city and ruled that it could be made public.

Department of Education: Catholic Schools Beat Public Schools.  When two schools meet in a basketball game, the winner is indisputable.  One team outscores the other.  The same is true in certain types of academic competition.  When students take standardized national tests, students from some schools outscore students from others.  In the most recent round of National Assessment of Educational Progress tests, which are administered by the U.S. Department of Education, the winners were indeed indisputable.  Catholic schools thrashed public schools.

Why Math Matters:  [Scroll down]  It turns out that only 7 percent of U.S. students perform at the advanced level in math.  Forty-five percent of the students in Shanghai are advanced in math, compared with 20 percent in South Korea and Switzerland and 15 percent of students in Japan, Belgium, Finland, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Canada.

Public school students flunk pop quiz:
Video Evidence That Our Education Dollars are Well Spent.  In the public education system, the United States spends over $10,000 per pupil per year.  Where does it all go?

The Editor says...
The video clip in the article above is truly remarkable.  It is surprising to see how many "students", evidently in a public high school, do not know how many states are in the U.S., or how many countries border the U.S.  These are things they should have learned in the 4th or 5th grade.  There is no doubt in my mind that the same interviews could be conducted in South Dallas with even more shocking results.

Sick, sick, sick.  More than 300 CPS principals and administrators each grabbed more than $100,000, cashing out unused sick days and vacation days, from 2006 to 2011, the BGA [Better Government Association] reported.

Why "No Child Left Behind" Hasn't Worked:  Of course, none of these federal programs does anything to raise the test scores of minority children because they are stuck with all of these progressive programs that refuse to teach children to read with intensive, systematic phonics.  And that's why dropout rates keep climbing, and the SAT reading scores have dropped to their lowest point in decades.

Disgraced teacher is worth $10M, makes $100,000 a year, does nothing, & refuses to leave.  In a defiant raspberry to the city Department of Education — and taxpayers — disgraced teacher Alan Rosenfeld, 66, won't retire.  Deemed a danger to kids, the typing teacher with a $10 million real estate portfolio hasn't been allowed in a classroom for more than a decade, but still collects $100,049 a year in city salary — plus health benefits, a growing pension nest egg, vacation and sick pay.

Public Union Hero of the Day.  This is working the rules exactly as the unions have negotiated it.  The rubber rooms, by the way, were for teachers accused of questionable behavior — not the totally incompetent.  And there are plenty of totally incompetent teachers in the NYC system.  All those credentials mean bupkis, when one considers that education majors tend to be the weakest academically in most colleges.  I would say that's ironic, but it's pretty much guaranteed.

SI teacher puts himself on camera languishing in the rubber room.  This Staten Island teacher wants the world to know he is paid $75,000 a year to do nothing all day long.  More than two years after the city shut down the so-called rubber rooms that served as detention centers for teachers, Francesco Portelos sat in front of a live cam Thursday [10/4/2012], killing time.  "I want people to see where their tax dollars are going," said Portelos, 34, who taught technology at Intermediate School 49 until last spring, when he got yanked from the classroom, he said.  "I'm getting paid $75,000 to sit around."

One year on the job, 13 years in rubber room earns perv teacher $1M.  He worked just one year as a full-time teacher in New York.  But he has collected nearly $1 million for 13 years for doing almost nothing.  Aryeh Eller, 46, a former music teacher at Hillcrest HS in Queens, is the longest-sitting "rubber room" teacher in the city.  He was yanked from the classroom in 1999 and confessed to repeated sexual harassment of female students, according to a 2000 investigative report.

Rubber Rooms' Kissing Cousin: New York City's Absent Teacher Reserve Program.  New York City government schools have had some pretty outrageous policies.  Rubber rooms were a great example.  They were special places created for teachers accused of crimes, incompetence and the like.  Due to state tenure laws, it actually cost less to house the failed teachers in a location where they couldn't inflict more damage on students, than to go through the lengthy and expensive legal process necessary to fire them.  Thanks Big Labor!  Now New York administrators are trying to deep-six a program created a few years ago in the collective bargaining agreement with the United Federation of Teachers:  the Absent Teacher Reserve.

Disgraced millionaire typing teacher collects $100k a year from NYC.  Alan Rosenfeld — a 66-year-old disgraced typing teacher — hasn't taught since he was accused of making inappropriate comments and leering at 8th grade girls in 2001, but still collects $100,049 a year from the city, the New York Post reports.  Rosenfeld, a millionaire businessman and attorney, could have retired at 62 but, a friend told the Post, "It's an F-U" to the school system.  And every year he stays onboard, his $85,400 yearly pension grows by another $1,700.

Charter Schools Beat the Daylights Out of Public Schools.  Is it any surprise that the mainstream media is ignoring the many recent reports that confirm the vast qualitative divide between public and charter schools?  First was the news that the most recent Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) scores in reading and writing (for the 2011 high school graduating class) have hit a new low.  About 1.6 million students — mainly high school seniors planning on attending college — take the SAT every year.  The average national SAT scores for 2011 fell in every area of the exam — reading, math, and writing.  In fact, the reading and writing scores were the lowest ever.  Moreover, the SAT scores show that only 43% of the test-takers had full college-level skill, which is defined as a composite score of 1550 out of 2400.

If America Spends More Than Most Countries Per Student, Then Why Are Its Schools So Bad?  Comparatively speaking, the United States does not starve its education system of revenue.  The U.S. is one of the leaders in spending on Education, and yet it's [sic] schools are rated "average" by international bodies.

Report: Half of American Schools Failed Federal Standards.  Nearly half of America's public schools didn't meet federal achievement standards this year, marking the largest failure rate since the much-criticized No Child Left Behind Law took effect a decade ago, according to a national report released Thursday [12/15/2011].  The Center on Education Policy report shows more than 43,000 schools — or 48 percent — did not make "adequate yearly progress" this year.  The failure rates range from a low of 11 percent in Wisconsin to a high of 89 percent in Florida.

Why Pay Teachers More For Poor Student Performance?  Does anyone poor-mouth their pay more than public school teachers?  A new study finds that to the contrary, teachers make 50% more than comparable private workers.  So what do taxpayers get for this premium?  The short answer is poor schools, falling test scores, high dropout-rates, foolish policies, a free ride for the academic bottom dwellers and a growing home-school movement fleeing the system.  In sum, a Big-Labor dominated system that serves itself — not the public.

This Texas Town Is Building A $40M Bus Barn, To Go With Its $60M Football Stadium.  The same board that approved a $60 million high school football stadium in Allen, Texas a few years back now intends to throw tax dollars at a $40 million industrial bus depot one block from a local elementary school, according to a group of local residents embittered over the school district's new plans.

The opposition has its own web site:
Stop the Barn.  Allen ISD wants to build a massive 130,000 sq. ft. industrial bus depot, warehouse, and distribution center on a 42 acre lot, right next to residential neighborhoods. ... There's no question this will be an industrial facility.  As we discuss in our Residents' Report, the zoning for Watters land prohibits nearly all the above.  But unfortunately, AISD is not subject to the city's zoning.

After $60M stadium, Texas school now wants $32M 'bus barn'.  The latest controversy in Texas' education saga is unfolding in Allen, a Dallas suburb, where school officials are following construction of a new $60M school stadium with the quest to build a new service center, at a cost projection of $32M, which would combine the transportation, facility and maintenance, distribution center, and food service departments all at one site.  Called a "bus barn" by the opposition, the new center is projected to save the school district a total annual estimated cost savings of $139,695, making the payback period 230 years.

Allen Throws Taxpayers Under Bus.  There is no doubt Allen has experienced rampant population growth over the past few decades, so the school district is building a new bus barn.  Rather than renovate the existing facility, bureaucrats naturally want to instead build a brand new $40 million structure.

The higher ed bubble is bursting, so what comes next?  A couple of years back, I suggested in these pages that higher education was facing a bubble much like the housing bubble:  An overpriced good, propped up by cheap government-subsidized credit, luring borrowers and lenders alike into a potentially disastrous mess.  Subsequent events have proved me right as students have begun to think twice about indebtedness and schools have begun to face pressure over tuition.  For higher education, costs have skyrocketed even as the value of their product has been declining, and people are starting to notice.

President Obama Promotes Plan to Raise College Tuitions.  By limiting student obligations to repay, and by passing more of the repayment burden onto taxpayers, colleges and universities will be able to continue to raise tuitions at a rate that outpaces nearly every other cost center in the American economy.

Save the World on Your Own Dime.  One public university in North Carolina has just found money to start (in the midst of a budget crisis) a new scholarship to reward feminists for engaging in feminist political activism on the job.  Here in the Tar Heel state, this year's budget cut in higher education is nearly 16%.  But there was still enough money in the pot to create a new Janet Mason Ellerby Women and Gender Studies Scholarly Award.  The award was created to recognize Ellerby's "significant contributions to feminist scholarship and activism."  What are those contributions?

Obama Gets a Failing Grade on Education.  This from a Huffington Post article — 2011 National Math, Reading Test Scores Show Sluggish Growth:  ["]On the 2011 National Assessment of Educational Progress, administered every two years, average scores in fourth and eighth-grade math increased slightly, gaining one point each on a 500-point scale since 2009 and continuing a trend of minimal increases since 2003.["] ... While the writer is a master of the understatement the article is missing one little fact — The Obama administration has increased Department of Education spending by 40% annually since taking office.  If you consider the result of the extra $30 billion in annual spending is a .000667 times average increase in yearly testing scores from 2009-2011, I would say it's more likely a huge failure than a minimal increase.

Occupy Wall Street gets the ink, Tea Party gets the voters.  [Scroll down]  If education is so great, after all, why are so many educated people unemployed and camping out in public parks? ... It's not that the education system is our only public-spending failure, it's just that the Occupy movement has done such a persuasive job of illustrating the particular failures of the education system.

College Has Been Oversold.  Education is the key to the future:  You've heard it a million times, and it's not wrong.  Educated people have higher wages and lower unemployment rates, and better educated countries grow faster and innovate more than other countries.  But going to college is not enough.  You also have to study the right subjects.

Education Spending Up 64% Under No Child Left Behind But Test Scores Improve Little.  Although federal education spending has increased by nearly 64 percent since the inception of the No Child Left Behind education law, there has been little improvement in America's test scores and an overall further diminishment of U.S. education on the world stage.

Exciting Schools.  School spending has doubled over the past 30 years.  Yet what do we get?  More buildings and more assistant principals — but student learning?  No improvement.  If you graph the numbers, the spending line slopes steeply, while the lines for reading, math and science scores are as flat as a dead man's EKG.  Why no improvement?  Because K-12 education is a government monopoly, and monopolies don't improve.

Illiteracy, the scourge of Philadelphia.  Among the nation's largest cities, Philadelphia has the highest percentage of poor people and the lowest percentage of college graduates.  Compounding the problem, perhaps the city's greatest challenge, is a staggering and profound lack of literacy.

SAT reading scores at all-time low.  SAT reading scores for the high school class of 2011 were the lowest on record, and combined reading and math scores fell to their lowest point since 1995.

SAT reading scores drop to lowest point in decades.  SAT reading scores for graduating high school seniors this year reached the lowest point in nearly four decades, reflecting a steady decline in performance in that subject on the college admissions test, the College Board reported Wednesday [9/14/2011].  In the Washington area, one of the nation's leading producers of college-bound students, educators were scrambling to understand double-digit drops in test scores in Montgomery and Prince William counties and elsewhere.

The Statist Dictionary:  _______ Studies.  Indicates a university course where little actual scholarship is required (Women's Studies, Black Studies, Queer Studies, Religious Studies, Islamic Studies, Environmental Studies), which prepares students for careers as Walmart greeters, burger-flippers, and government employees.  If your child is majoring in a field that ends in Studies, you may expect to have your basement occupied until the first property tax bill arrives after your death.

Pay More To Get Less?  Paying teachers $150,000 salaries will transform public schools, promises Education Secretary Arne Duncan.  Would a better-paid crew have saved the Titanic as it was sinking?

Florida schools have a spending problem, not a funding problem.  Florida's taxpayers should be asking why their schools have scads of non-instructional employees on the payroll when that work could be outsourced to private companies, for a fraction of the cost.  That would free up a bunch of money that schools could then spend in the classroom educating students.  As it currently stands, Florida's school employee unions have turned public education into their private financial playground, ensuring that the adult workers are getting automatic pay raises, retirement bonuses, lavish benefits, and anything else they can sneak into their contracts.

The Superiority of School Vouchers Demonstrated.  The failure of the American K-12 public school system has been obvious for decades.  Some of us fossils can recall the public uproar that accompanied the release of the report "A Nation at Risk" back in 1987, documenting the mediocre at best, disastrously bad at worst performance of the nation's public schools.  The public school special interest groups (the PSSIGs) — that is, public school administrators, education department professors, "labor studies" professors, textbook publishers, and most notoriously teachers unions and their members — managed to turn the outrage into support for jacking up spending.

Tennessee schools get $3 million for fresh fruit, veggies.  Tennessee schools will share $3 million in federal funding for more students to eat healthy fresh fruit and vegetables this school year.  The state was awarded a $3.15 million grant by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to prepare the healthy snacks at no charge to students in 156 low-income elementary and middle schools.

The Editor says...
Bring your own lunch, freeloaders!  It is not the proper role of government to hand out "free" food to individuals of any age.  To put it another way, it is not the proper role of government to take money out of my paycheck in order to buy snacks for someone else's illegitimate children.

It Strikes Me As Odd.  One of the hardy perennials of American politics is an insatiable demand for more educational spending.  Outlays for education have been steadily and massively growing year by year, while the academic achievements of American kids have been dropping.  If it were only about money, schools in Washington, D.C. would be the best, not the last, in the nation.

The coming college crash.  We flatter ourselves that America is the land of individuality, and that college is the place we go to "find" our unique "selves."  In fact, at prohibitive cost, college is churning out a single kind of person — self-entitled, immature and compliant.  The nation's prestigious cookie-cutters, and the human cookies they mass produce, are luxuries we can no longer afford.

Michigan to Take Over Detroit's Worst Schools.  Detroit's poorest-performing schools will be placed in the hands of a new statewide authority next year, the latest attempt to turn around one of the worst education systems in the nation.  Michigan Governor Rick Snyder announced on Monday [6/20/2011] that a new authority, dubbed the Education Achievement System, will operate the lowest 5 percent of schools in Michigan.

Superintendent Brings Home $500,000.  Fox 5 News reports that Syosset schools superintendent Carole Hankin rakes in more than half million dollars a year.  She heads what is billed as one of the top school districts in the country, and people pay steep property taxes to fund the schools.

L.A. public school system wastes $500 million on pointless training, report says.  The Los Angeles Unified School District squanders more than $500 million a year on an academic-improvement strategy that has consistently proven to be ineffective, researchers concluded in a report released Tuesday [6/7/2011].  The nation's second-largest school system spends 25% of its teacher payroll ($519 million a year) to compensate teachers for completing graduate coursework.  These courses are a primary means by which teachers earn credits that translate to raises.

So You Have a College Diploma.  Now that your time and money are tapped out, this diploma will serve as lasting reminder of everything you accomplished during your magical four to seven years on campus.  Please take it with our compliments, and treasure its distinctive elegance during the many, many free hours you will soon have after moving back home with your parents.

Perpetuating Federal Spending on Education.  We've spent $2 trillion on education since federal aid began in 1965.  The specified goals were to improve student achievement, eliminate or narrow the gap between upper-income and low-income students, and increase graduation rates from high school and college.  We have little or nothing to show for the taxpayers' generosity.  Even Education Secretary Arne Duncan admitted that 82 percent of public schools should be ranked as failing.

$500 Million Program Will Help Kids 'Sit Still' in Kindergarten.  Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told CNSNews.com on Wednesday that the administration's new $500 million early learning initiative is designed to deal with children from birth onward to prevent such problems as 5-year olds who "can't sit still" in a kindergarten classroom.

The Editor says...
The Mennonites accomplish this at no cost.  How?  Strict discipline and no television!

Taj Mahal Schools.  The latest installment of this expensive misguided endeavor is a $100 million dollar school located in New York City's largely black Harlem targeting under-performing students. ... The facilities include 52 classrooms equipped with state-of-the art electronics, three science labs, a two-story library, a fitness room and dance studio.  Also included are in-school access to medical doctors, psychologists and a dentist while a school chef will prepare low-fat meals for breakfast and lunch.  Add a longer school day and extended school year plus after-school programs to help with homework and for those who stay around until 9:00 pm, sports, music and other activities. ... There is nothing in this catalogue of costly measures that will fix academic insufficiency.

Government Schools: Antiques Preserved in Political Amber.  No one will fix the schools; everyone who can depends on their staying as they are.  A genuine fix would destroy the public education empire exactly as the industrial revolution destroyed agrarian society.  That looming threat cements the status quo in place at any cost.  That cost, paid by students, parents, voters and the country, is high:  dropouts, incompetence and political indoctrination instead of education at about twice the cost per pupil needed in other places that do better.  Politicians defer to the teachers' unions; it's national news when one doesn't.

Stimulus Pays Off With Obama Teachers Union Endorsement.  [Scroll down]  So we have to ask ourselves:  What did we get for the money?  Tens of thousands of teachers remain employed, the unions reaped tens of millions in dues, but what was the return on the investment for taxpayers and students.  The answer is very little.  As we've seen over and over again, government education dollars are for the teachers and their unions, not the kids who are supposed to be learning.

More about the teachers' unions.

55% of Americans Prove Failure of Education.  Last Friday, a new CNN survey showed that 80% of Americans believe the economy is in poor shape.  Who could argue with them?  With unemployment ticking back up to 9%, home values still sliding, surging gas prices, lackluster confidence on the part of consumers as well as business leaders, and an apparently out-of-control national debt with no visible signs of solutions that are agreeable to both sides, we seem to be stuck in doldrums for the long run.  Here is the shocker in the same survey:  55% of Americans blame former President Bush and the Republicans for the mess we are in!

High-schoolers' civics knowledge waning.  Three out of 4 U.S. students lack a basic understanding of democracy, of how the U.S. political system works and what it means to be a citizen of this country, according to national test scores released Wednesday [5/4/2011].  That equals a failing grade in civics.

'The war people are trying to take money from our school'.  The word "education" appears in the Constitution exactly zero times.  Constitutionally, education is not (nor should it be) a function of the federal government.  Further, the overwhelming majority of funding for public schools comes from local and state taxes.  The federal defense budget, no matter how bloated, has no impact on education whatsoever.  Every college graduate should be able to easily explain this.  Overall, the U.S. has quadrupled (adjusted for inflation) spending on education in the last 50 years, and has nothing to show for it whatsoever.

The Schools Scandal.  American spending on public education, adjusted for inflation, has more than doubled over the last three decades.  What did taxpayers get for their money?  The average math and reading scores of American 17-year-olds have not improved since the early 1970s, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress long-term trend assessment.  Twice the money.  Zero progress.

Report: Journalism Degrees Are Probably Just As Useless As You Expected.  Getting into a good university, as anyone will tell you, is hard work.  Harder still is mustering up the confidence that your (often all too pricey) education will be put to good use, so that one does not find oneself spending an entire semester reading The Canterbury Tales in its original middle English for nothing.  It's good to know ahead of time, then, that your degree has some sort of worth, that it will eventually lead to a well-paying job rife with opportunities for advancement.  Which is exactly why I will dissuade my hypothetical children from majoring in journalism...

The Myth of Racial Disparities in Public School Funding.  Achievement disparities among racial and ethnic groups persist in the American education system.  Asian and white students consistently perform better on standardized tests than Hispanic and black students.  While many commentators blame the achievement gap on alleged disparities in school funding, this Heritage Foundation paper demonstrates that public education spending per pupil is broadly similar across racial and ethnic groups.  To the extent that funding differences exist at all, they tend to slightly favor lower-performing groups, especially blacks.  Since unequal funding for minority students is largely a myth, it cannot be a valid explanation for racial and ethnic differences in school achievement, and there is little evidence that increasing public spending will close the gaps.

A liberal arts education is a degree in B.S..  Instead of teaching students how to approach problems from a multidisciplinary perspective, today's U.S. higher education system is teaching students how to deceive people.  Employers looking to hire hard-working, competent employees may want to think twice about the quality of a liberal arts education.  According to a 2010 study from the Association of American College and Universities, employers desire workers with broad educations, but is this really what modern liberal arts programs are supplying?  As someone who is about to graduate from a well-regarded liberal arts school, I can firmly say no.

Education Spending Won't Create Jobs.  A report by the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland confirmed that when it comes to long-term unemployment, the length of unemployment is unrelated to education level.  Although employment is higher for people with more years of education, the duration of unemployment is the same for all education levels. ... The Obama administration continues to propagate the falsehood that solving the unemployment problem requires "more investments in education."  Investment is a favorite liberal code word for more spending and higher taxes.

The Education Department's 82% Failure Rate.  Education Secretary Arne Duncan blames — you guessed it — George W. Bush for the steep decline of public schools.  How much failure does it take for politicians to recognize government as the problem?

Education Spending Has a Simple Solution.  We have precious little to show for the $2 trillion in federal education spending over the past half century, and Andrew J. Coulson of CATO has the charts to prove it.  It now costs three times as much to provide essentially the same education as we provided in 1970.  Even this bad news fails to give the big picture because, as productivity was falling in public schools, it was rising everywhere else.  Nearly all the products and services most of us buy have gotten better, more affordable, or both, over the past two generations.

Teacher Training Provides an Education on Government Waste.  In fiscal year 2009, the federal government spent $4 billion on professional development for teachers.  But a report from the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office says the money was divided among 82 different programs spread through 10 different government agencies.  Within the Department of Education itself, eight different offices administer 60 programs for teacher retraining.

Eliminating the U.S. Department of Education:  The Department of Education was established to promote "student achievement and prepare them for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and insuring equal access."  Since 1979 when the Department of Education was created and with the passage of laws regulating education, such as the No Child Left Behind, the result has been an education system where compliance with laws becomes the rule of the day rather than the primary focus being quality education.

Wisconsin's Teachers: Betraying Students, Robbing Taxpayers.  The average salary of a Milwaukee public school teacher is $56,500.  But factor in the enormous benefits packages, including health care and pensions, and the annual average compensation is $100,005!  In spite of such well-compensated instructors, and per-pupil spending higher any other Midwestern state, two thirds of Wisconsin 8th graders cannot read at a proficient level, according to 2009 data from the U.S. Department of Education.  Twenty-two percent, or nearly one in four students, cannot even read at a "basic" level.  True, that is slightly higher than the national average — but what a pathetically weak average it is!  An atrocious 30 percent of 8th graders nationwide are "proficient" readers.

Doin' the Madison Mis-Step.  Our educational system has become a money pit where funding levels bear no relationship to results.  No, the simple truth is that [teachers have] earned this exalted status not as a reward for excellence but through extortion, by coercive collective bargaining, a monopoly status that fosters inefficiency, waste and mediocrity, and making generous contributions of time and money to a political party that has become little more than an operating arm of the teacher and other public employee unions.

"Reverse seniority" rules are harmful to American education.  Since the 1960s, the National Education Association (NEA) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) have used their massive campaign war chests — they spent some $59.3 million in the 2009-10 election cycle alone — and collective-bargaining power to insulate teachers from the kinds of performance management found in the private sector.  For Baby Boomers, who account for 26 percent of the nation's teachers, the deals are especially sweet.

A college degree does not guarantee a job.
Hollowing Out Science and Engineering Careers.  To aggravate the unemployment problem, the US government has brought in hundreds of thousands of foreign professionals by issuing H-1B visas and by utilizing a host of other programs known by their bureaucratic designations:  TN, L-1, etc.  These programs were created by Congress under pressure from US employers, who cited the shortage of qualified American candidates. ... [However] Michael S. Teitelbaum, Vice President of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, said that no one "has been able to find any objective data suggesting general 'shortages' of scientists and engineers."  Milton Friedman, a Nobel Prize winning economist, called the program a corporate subsidy.

Bubbles, Bubbles Everywhere.  [Scroll down]  Lots of poor college students and their strapped parents are floating huge government-subsidized student loans to pay for ever more costly bachelor's degrees that no longer ensure that the recipients are either well educated, will find a job upon graduation or, if employed, will be better-paid than the vocationally trained.  Going to college has somehow become seen as a national right rather than a privilege predicated on superior academic achievement, financial sacrifice and continued academic discipline.

Cash for Education Clunkers.  Our government already spends more per capita on education than any other of the 34 wealthiest countries in the world except for Switzerland, according to recent analysis of data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.  Overall inflation-adjusted K-12 spending has tripled over the past 40 years, the Michigan-based Mackinac Center for Public Policy points out.  Yet American test scores and graduation rates are stagnant.  One in 10 high schools is a dropout factory.  And our students' performance in one of the most prestigious global math competitions has been so abysmal that the U.S. simply withdrew altogether.

Many Students Learn Little to Nothing in College.  The recent study of 2,300 college students showing that half of them learn nearly nothing in the first two years is generating a lot of conversation.  As someone who spent more than three decades in the professoriate, what surprises me is why this is news.

Excuses, Excuses.  Spending on education has increased more rapidly in the past two years than any sector other than alternative energy.  Yet the president reports that America continues to fall behind its competitors.  There is no measurable evidence that Obama's injection of funds has had any effect other than to enrich teachers' unions, which are then able to contribute to the political campaigns of Democratic candidates.  Obama's call for more spending on education is nothing more than another payoff for his political constituency.

Obviously Obama is paying back the unions for their support.

U.S Receives Report Card — Failing Grade in Science.  Scores released Tuesday [1/25/2011] from the 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress indicate there are still vast numbers of students with rudimentary levels of science knowledge.

Socialism Is Back.  [Scroll down]  The well-off and well-connected tend to enjoy reasonably good public schools, which help sustain high residential real-estate values in the largely suburban communities that host them.  But other Americans are much less pleased with their government schools, particularly the poor, non-whites, and those living in inner cities.  Black families, in particular, consistently rate their government schools as performing poorly, and their subjective impressions are borne out by empirical data.  The public schools are not a random or inexplicable failure.  They are a classical socialist failure, with massively misallocated resources, an ensconced bureaucratic class, and a needlessly impoverished client class.

America Without Government Schools.  The public schools use the most boring textbooks to teach bored kids what they really don't care to know.  In fact, most public schools don't even teach kids to read properly.  They use teaching methods that create reading disability.  Now, if you were in charge of teaching your own children to read, would you use a teaching method that produced reading disability?  Of course not.  You'd seek out a program that produced learning success.  Such programs do exist, despite the fact that many public schools refuse to use them.

Death by Ignorance.  [Scroll down]  The Department of Education (DOE) spends over $160 Billion of our tax dollars:  $63.7 Billion in discretionary appropriations plus $96.8 Billion in "bailout" money.  There are additional billions spent by states, and billions more in property taxes for local school districts.  (For example, the Texas Education Agency spent about $26 Billion in 2009.)  The AP article reported that 25% of high school graduates are obese, making them ineligible for military service.  This affords an opportunity to highlight one of the most successful functions of government:  the opportunity to exploit crises in order to expand.

Quarter of students fail exam for Army.  Nearly one-fourth of the students who try to join the U.S. Army fail its entrance exam, painting a grim picture of an education system that produces graduates who can't answer basic math, science and reading questions, according to a new study released Tuesday [12/21/2010].

Black Education Disaster.  SAT scores confirm the poor education received by blacks.  In 2009, average SAT reading test scores were:  whites (528), Asians (516) and blacks (429).  In math it was whites (536), Asians (587) and blacks (426).  Twelve years of fraudulent primary and secondary education received by most blacks are not erased by four or five years of college.  This is evidenced by examination scores taken for admission to graduate schools.

The good life on 36 weeks a year of work.  Champion News has just published data on the top teacher salaries in Illinois, making it clear that unionization has enabled a massive raid on the taxpayers' funds.  Teaching can be a noble profession, but many of these teachers are cleaning up like bandits for a 9-month work year.  In all, over 14,000 teachers in this one state make more than 100,000 a year in salary.  When you add in pension, health care, and other benefits (15 days a year of sick leave, payable upon retirement if not used), which can add another 40% or more to salary, these teachers are doing much better than most college professors and many doctors.

Phys Ed teacher pulls down $191,124, Superintendent $350,154.  As Illinois citizens struggle with the severe economic downturn plaguing the state, Illinois public school employees enjoy another record year of salaries, fringe benefits and pensions.

Needed Reforms for Public Higher Education in Texas.  University costs have gotten out of control, as the universities themselves have become more politicized.

Coburn Report Shows Billions in Education Budget Spent on 'School House Pork'.  What do mariachi classes, wine studies and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame have in common?  They were all funded by federal Department of Education earmarks, according to an extensive new report released Thursday [9/30/2010] by Sen. Tom Coburn.  The Oklahoma Republican, in a study called "School House Pork," is urging the federal government to suspend these education "slush funds" after finding that lawmakers have secured 5,563 such earmarks, worth $2.3 billion over the past decade.

Spending Less for Better Education:  Successful cost-cutting requires satisfying three conditions.  First, reductions must improve education, not just make mediocrity less expensive.  Second, measures must defeat interests who sustain an expensive, personally lucrative status quo.  Finally, cutbacks must create powerful counter-constituencies to resist the inevitable rear-guard action from teachers' unions and all profiting from government's largess.

Detroit Public Schools to lose $19 million.  The Detroit Public Schools could face more budget cuts or fall deeper into a financial hole this year, preliminary enrollment counts show.  Results reported by the state's Center for Educational Performance and Information from the statewide Sept. 29 enrollment count day show the district has 73,460 students, or 2,593 fewer students than anticipated.  The enrollment loss means the district won't get about $19 million in state funds it was counting on.

California, where the graft is greener.  The Antelope Valley Union High School District has entered into public-private partnership (taxpayer beware!) with private firm PsomasFMG to build a 9.6 megawatt photovoltaic system, according to a report in Climatewire.  And what a deal it is.  The school system, which expects to save $40 million over the life of the panels (no word of how long "life" is), will not have to put any money down, instead signing a 20-year power purchase agreement with PsomasFMG for about 80 percent of its power needs.  Southern California Edison will generously provide the other 20 percent at a reduced rate.

The Erosion of American Higher Education.  In America, the cost of higher education has been rising faster than inflation and health care costs for more than two decades.  Money Magazine calculated that college tuition rose by 439 percent from 1982-2007.  According to Mark C. Taylor ... four years at a top-tier school will increase from $330,000 in 2020 to $785,000 in 2035 if recent trends continue.  What are colleges and universities spending all that money on?  If you think it's on initiatives that improve the quality of education for students, you're wrong.

Sorry, But We Deserve Our Schools.  The U.S. now spends more per pupil on education than any other major industrialized country.  So much is spent that the schools are now hiding the information; a Cato Institute report ... found that public schools across the country are reporting only a portion of their spending.  It took a lot of research and some Freedom of Information effort for Cato to assemble the data.  For examples, the Los Angeles Unified School District reported a cost per pupil of $10,053, whereas Cato found it was actually $25,208.  Washington, D.C. reported $17,542 to Cato's $28,170.  Chicago reported $11,536, while Cato came up with $15,875.  Cato estimated private school costs for comparison, finding that in Los Angeles, the public school cost per pupil was 201 percent greater than the cost at the average private school there.  It was 155 percent greater in Washington, D.C. and 79 percent greater in Chicago.  Brainwashing instead of educating isn't cheap.

The Federal Takeover of Education.  Federal control over education has been growing since the 1960s despite the fact that the word education does not appear in the Constitution of the United States. ... Look how federal funding for No Child Left Behind led to mandatory testing and proficiency requirements for the states.  Did that federal intervention actually lead to higher academic standards or improved student outcomes?  No, it led to the dumbing down of many state standards and zero improvement in student outcomes.  In fact, ever since President Lyndon Johnson implemented the Elementary and Secondary Education Act in 1965, federal involvement in education has led to zero improvement in student outcomes.

New K-12 school in Los Angeles costs taxpayers $578 million.  There's been an ongoing budget crisis in Los Angeles this year.  Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was at one point threatening to shut city services down two days a week to make ends meet.  Despite this, it does not appear that the city has been cutting back.

L.A.'s 'Taj Mahal' School's Real Cost.  For anyone who ever doubted bureaucrats' ability to spend, one need look only at Los Angeles' newest public school, the most expensive ever built.  If only the education inside was as rich.  With a price tag of $578 million, the new Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools is an impressive building — perhaps indicative of what some call the Los Angeles Unified School District's edifice complex.

How does a $578 million school get built amid cuts, layoffs in L.A.?  A football-field-sized lawn — lined with walks and trees — stretches from the street to a five-story, glass-front building in this otherwise scruffy neighborhood just west of downtown skyscrapers.

Broke — and Building the Most Expensive School in U.S. History.  At $578 million — or about $140,000 per student — the 24-acre Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools complex in mid-Wilshire is the most expensive school ever constructed in U.S. history.  To put the price in context, this city's Staples sports and entertainment center cost $375 million.  To put it in a more important context, the school district is currently running a $640 million deficit and has had to lay off 3,000 teachers in the last two years.  It also has one of the lowest graduation rates in the country and some of the worst test scores.

Obama Continues Pushing Absurd College Agenda.  If we already are graduating many young people from college who learn little and will wind up in jobs that most high school kids could do, why should we want more of them? ... But shouldn't we worry about "falling behind" other countries?  No.  We can't magically transform our anemic economy into a powerhouse by scraping the bottom of the barrel to find more disengaged kids to process through our credential factories.  The truth is that there is no direct connection between national prosperity and "educational attainment."

Back to the Classroom.  How bad are public schools?  Much worse than most people realize.  So bad that they blight the futures of the young people in them.  So bad that if we don't turn back the clock to real education, we will most certainly lose our republic.

America's Educational System:  Enough is Enough.  One year after the federal government pumped $100 billion into school districts, Education Secretary Arne Duncan has requested an extra $26 billion to fund teachers' jobs.  Some of you may be asking, "To what end?"  And you're certainly right.  However, we should consider another important question:  What exactly is your hard-earned cash paying for?

Magical Education and the Slide into Third-Worldism.  Instigating Detroit's third-world slide is its schoolchildren's woeful academic performance.  A mere 2% of its high school graduates are prepared for college-level math; just 11% are ready for college-level reading.  In 2008-2009, its graduation rate was 58% compared to the national average of 89%.  In 2009, Detroit public-school students posted the worst math scores in the forty-year history of the National Assessment of Educational Progress test.  Students are fleeing at jailbreak speed — between 1997 enrollment dropped from 175,168 students to 84,000 and continues to fall, and those remaining are probably the worst of the worst.

1 in 4 Americans Don't Know Who We Fought for Independence.  As grills across America fire up this weekend some Americans may want to crack open a history book instead of a cold beer.  A Marist poll finds that 26 percent of Americans dont know whom the United States declared its independence from.

The Editor says...
Evidently many others don't know that a sentence should not end with a preposition, or that contractions contain apostrophes.

Grade-A dunces dumping desks.  Here's one way to flunk economics.  Officials at a downtown public school wastefully threw out hoards of pricey desks, chairs, cabinets and other classroom furniture yesterday [8/11/2010] despite steep budget cuts to city schools.  Residents who live near the Greenwich Village Middle School on Hudson Street said they watched in horror as sanitation workers crushed more than 50 pieces of perfectly good furniture — and perhaps twice that — in the back of a garbage truck.

Putting on the Ritz ... with Title I dollars.  [East St. Louis School District 189] consistently underperforms — and can clearly use every penny it's been allocated — yet it has spent $3.1 million on consultants, $200,000 on airline tickets to conferences and stays in ritzy hotels, and $10,000 on original artwork.

End Them, Don't Mend Them.  [Scroll down]  Policy analyst Adam Schaeffer made a detailed examination of the budgets of 18 school districts in the five largest U.S. metro areas and the District of Columbia. ... Schaeffer calculated that Los Angeles, which claims $19,000 per-pupil spending, actually spends $25,000.  The New York metropolitan area admits to a per-pupil average of $18,700, but the true cost is about $26,900.  The District of Columbia's per-pupil outlay is claimed to be $17,542.  The real number is an astonishing $28,170 — 155 percent more than the average tuition at the famously pricey private academies of the capital region.

Many in college lack basic skills.  It has been the dirty little secret of higher education for decades:  Tens of thousands of college students can't do the work.  Developmental education — reteaching basic skills in reading, writing and math — is a $200 million-a-year problem in Texas, funded by taxpayers, colleges and the students themselves.  Private groups also spend millions of dollars on the issue.  But relatively few students who need the classes go on to earn a degree, raising questions about whether money spent on developmental education is a wise investment.

Fund students, not schools.  [Scroll down to page 12]  Free and universal K-12 education is generally agreed to be one of the core functions of state government.  But by international and historical standards, public schools in the U.S. are costly and yield poor achievement results.  According to education economist Caroline Hoxby, the productivity of public schools in the U.S. (measured by dividing a measure of student achievement by per-pupil spending in inflation-adjusted dollars) has fallen more than 50 percent in the past 30 years.  Many of the school districts with the highest per-capita spending — in Chicago, New York, Washington, D.C., and other major cities — report the worst academic performance.

Public schools are underperforming.  The failure of public schools to graduate students who are academically prepared to become productive members of society is well documented:  Fewer than 1 in 3 (30 percent) eighth-graders scored at proficient or above in the 2003 Urban National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) reading test.  In Chicago, the figure was only 15 percent, and in Cleveland and the District of Columbia, the figure was only 10 percent.  The U.S. high school graduation rate for 1998 was only 74 percent, indicating that 1 in 4 students drops out before graduating.  Latino and black graduation rates are only 56 percent and 54 percent respectively.

Detroit Public Schools reading scores at the bottom.  Detroit Public Schools students registered historically low scores again on a national test — this time in reading — prompting cries for change from parents, educators and government leaders. ... Among Detroit fourth-graders, 73 percent scored below the "basic" level on the NAEP reading test, meaning they lack the basic skills that are the building blocks of reading.  The test showed 22 percent of students are at the basic level, with just 5 percent scoring "proficient."  Less than 1 percent of students scored at the advanced level.

No teacher left behind.  The black-hole of public education which continues to suck in obscene amounts of tax dollars in spite of the economic plight of their benefactors show what can happen when the liberals have near total control of any institution for a lengthy period of time.  The left has removed the foundation of objective knowledge in favor of agenda based indoctrination and now we are dealing with the consequences. ... Hey, here's an idea.  Why not teach the students how to read, write and do arithmetic instead of devoting endless hours teaching them to sing and dance in praise of Obama!

National study lists Dallas school district as 'dropout epicenter'.  Texas high school students are more likely to graduate than a decade ago, but more than a third of them still won't earn a diploma in four years, a new national study found.  Plus, the Dallas and Houston school districts are among the 25 "dropout epicenters" that produce one-fifth of all dropouts in the U.S.

'Black flight' changing the makeup of Dallas schools.  [Scroll down]  Black students formed a majority in Dallas schools through the 1980s and '90s.  Over the last 10 years, though, the number of black children has fallen by nearly 20,000, or about a third.  Meanwhile, Hispanic children have filled their seats as the district's overall enrollment remains fairly flat at about 157,000.  Today, about 41,000 black students attend DISD schools.  They make up 26 percent of the district compared with 106,000 Hispanic children, or 68 percent.  White students are 5 percent of the district.

LAUSD wants to spend another $360 million.  Spending other peoples money is the number one pastime of the Los Angeles Unified School District.  Spending $13 Billion a year of the taxpayers money apprarently isn't good enough for the school board members, today [4/13/2010] they will decide if they are going to borrow $360 million and send the IOU to the taxpayers.  What do they want to spend the money on?  Well, $100 Million of it will go towards trendy solar panels.  They claim that by spending $100 Million now, they will spend $5 Million less each year on electricity.

LAUSD Announces Solar Energy Program.  The school district announces a $350-million goal of putting enough solar panels on schools and other district buildings to generate 50 megawatts of electricity by 2012 and lower its electricity bill.

LAUSD furloughs teachers, shortens school year — and buys solar panels!  If roofs were threatening to fall down on students' heads or school buses were in danger of exploding, the district could justify using what amounts to a credit card purchase.  But solar panels?  Fancy green school buses?  What is Superintendent Ramon Cortines thinking?

L.A.'s green schools:  Propane buses, solar panels and environmental education.  In March, hundreds of decades-old buses will be upgraded to less-polluting, more-energy-efficient propane models.  Eight schools, out of a planned 250, will have solar power installed.  Still others will be outfitted with "smart" irrigation systems to reduce the millions of gallons of imported water the district guzzles each day, more than half of which is used for outdoor watering.  "One of our goals is to be the No. 1 greenest school district in the country," said Yoli Flores Aguilar, an L.A. Board of Education member who co-sponsored the Green LAUSD resolution in 2007.

The Editor asks...
Why not try to achieve the highest graduation rate, or try to be the most economically efficient school district, or the safest school district in the country?  Not a chance?  Okay, perhaps becoming the "greenest" school district is their only achievable goal.

Your Money for 'Green' Schools?  A large chunk of your state income taxes goes to education, and schools benefit from a portion of your local property taxes, too.  Now the federal government is considering a big increase in its spending on school construction — with your money.  Already, as federal taxpayers, we pay $70 billion a year for K-12 education, much of it going to teacher salaries and school lunches.  Then last year, Congress approved another $56 billion for school construction, renovation and repairs in the economic stimulus bill.

Islamic links to Utah's Beehive Academy probed.  The school is $300,000 in the red, yet, teachers say, the geography class is without maps, the computer labs are stocked full of second-hand equipment and the school can't afford a janitor.  The administration's unusual approach to education has driven many to question:  what is the school spending its money on?

Obama's Education Spending Frenzy.  [Scroll down]  The stimulus package allocated $100 billion to public education.  This unprecedented federal funding, nearly twice the Department of Education's annual budget, was touted as a vehicle for transforming public education rather than doubling down on a failed system.  But most of the $69 billion released as of this writing has gone to backfill state education budgets and maintain teaching jobs.

'The Cartel' is a Damning Expose of Public Education.  Despite the fact that the United States spends more per student on education than any other nation in the world, students of the American educational system have scored well below average on worldwide rankings of mathematical and literacy proficiency.  Why is this?

A Nation of Dependents.  The more we expect government to provide our basic needs, the more we become a nation dependent on government largesse, rather than independent individuals personally empowered to earn the values we seek.  It has already happened in education.  Government programs have crowded out private alternatives, currently providing 90% of primary and secondary schooling.  Without affordable private alternatives, parents are reduced to lobbying politicians for funding and supporting campaigns to squeeze more tax money from their neighbors.

Kansas City Schools, A Case Study in Liberal Stupidity.  [Scroll down slowly]  And now the KC school system is broke and has to close down half its schools.  This, after a court-ordered $2 billion injection.  I would call that $2 billion quite a stimulus for the KC system.  See how well it turned out?

Popping the Higher-Education Bubble.  The administration has called for dramatic increases in federal subsidies for student aid.  His 2011 budget request includes $156 billion for such programs.  But experience shows that increasing student aid has failed to solve the college-affordability problem.  Some economists have even found that increased spending on student aid contributes to rising costs. ... Since 1982, college tuition has increased by 439 percent — more than four times the rate of inflation and twice the rate of increase for medical care.

L.A. school district spent millions firing just seven teachers.  In the past decade, LAUSD officials spent $3.5 million trying to fire just seven of the district's 33,000 teachers for poor classroom performance — and only four were fired, during legal struggles that wore on, on average, for five years each.  Two of the three others were paid large settlements, and one was reinstated.  The average cost of each battle is $500,000.

On national test, 69 percent of Detroit children score below basic on fourth grade math.  According to results being released today, Detroit schoolchildren ranked the lowest in the nation of participants on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) math test.  In terms of performance levels in the fourth grade in Detroit on the math test, 69 percent of students scored at a below basic level.  In terms of performance levels in the eighth grade in Detroit, 77 percent were below basic.

What Suckers We Are.  Still paying full price for your kids' meals at school?  The government currently provides free or reduced-price lunch, breakfast or both for nearly 60% of all school-age children nationwide.  Households with incomes of up to 185% of poverty level are eligible.  In Philadelphia public schools, 72% of students have access to a universal feeding program — regardless of income.  Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey wants to nationalize that program.

Choice & Education Across the States.  There is widespread agreement in the education reform community that more accountability and better results are needed from the nation's public school system. ... During the 2000 presidential election, George W. Bush pledged to end the "soft bigotry of low expectations."  But seven years and billions of dollars later, there has been only limited improvement.

In education, it's family, not funding.  Since 1965, when the Elementary and Secondary Education Act allowed the federal government to poke its nose into education, taxpayers have been hosed for billions of dollars that have gone to our public schools.  Have we gotten a bang for our buck?

Exiled Queens teacher on payroll despite knocking up student.  Three strikes and he wasn't out.  At the beginning of his 32-year career as a math teacher in Queens, Francisco Olivares allegedly im pregnated and married a 16-year-old girl he had met when she was a 13-year-old student at his Corona junior high, IS 61, The [New York] Post learned.

Los Angeles teacher should be fired immediately, judge again rules.  A city schoolteacher removed from the classroom more than seven years ago for alleged misconduct — and who continued to receive a full paycheck the entire time — should be fired immediately, a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge ordered Tuesday [1/12/2010].

Pay has stopped for jailed Alabama teacher, AP reports.  The Alabama Department of Education has stopped the pay of a Washington County teacher who was still getting her salary while locked up in federal prison serving a 10-year sentence for child enticement.

California math scores among nation's worst.  About 30 percent of fourth-graders and 23 percent of eight-graders in California tested proficient math tests from the National Assessment of Education Progress, ranking the state near the bottom nationally. ... Nationwide, 38 percent of fourth-graders and 33 percent of eighth-graders performed at proficient levels.

75 Percent of Oklahoma High School Students Can't Name the First President of the U.S..  Only one in four Oklahoma public high school students can name the first President of the United States, according to a survey released today [9/16/2009].  The survey was commissioned by the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs in observance of Constitution Day on Thursday.

What the Public Thinks of Public Schools.  [Scroll down]  But when it comes to actual dollars spent per pupil, Americans get the numbers wrong.  Those polled by Education Next estimated that schools in their own districts spend a little more than $4,000 per pupil, on average.  In fact, schools in those districts spend an average of $10,000. ... When those surveyed are told how much is actually being spent in their own school district, only 38% say they support higher spending.

The Great Escape:  After many students go through a dozen years in the public schools, at a total cost of $100,000 or more per student — and emerge semi-literate and with little understanding of the society in which they live, much less the larger world and its history — most discussions of what is wrong leave out the fact that many such students may have chosen to use school as a place to fool around, act up, organize gangs or even peddle drugs.

SAT Scores Fall as Gap Widens; Asians Gain.  High-school students' performance last year on the SAT college-entrance exam fell slightly, and the score gap generally widened between lower-performing minority groups and white and Asian-American students, raising questions about the effectiveness of national education reform efforts.

Duncan Wields $100 Billion to Make U.S. Schools Like Chicago's.  Sue Duncan has taught poor kids at her after-school center on Chicago's South Side for 48 years.  She says her son Arne spent seven days a week there as he was growing up. ... What he absorbed matters because Duncan is now U.S. education secretary, in charge of improving a public school system that ranks below those of other developed nations in some studies.  He's armed with $100 billion in stimulus money from his friend, President Barack Obama, more than twice the budget of any of his predecessors.

Don't Get That College Degree!  A student who secures a degree is increasingly unlikely to make up its cost, despite higher pay, and the employer who requires a degree puts faith in a system whose standards are slipping.  Too many professors who are bound to degree teaching can't truly profess; they don't proclaim loudly the things they know but instead whisper them to a chosen few, whom they must then accommodate with inflated grades.

5 Character Flaws That Are Destroying America's Future.  [#3]  Excessive Self-Esteem:  Perhaps because we've spent decades trying to pump up the self-esteem of children in our public schools, irregardless (sic) of whether they've done anything to merit it, we have legions of people in our society who have an excessive level of confidence in their beliefs and abilities.  They're just so darn sure that what they believe is right just by virtue of the fact they believe it.  Traditions?  Codes of conduct?  Religious beliefs?  Customs?  There's no need to even understand why previous generations believed what they did or to question what purpose it served.  Just remember that they were racist back then and so they couldn't have had any good ideas.

Time To End The Monopoly In Education.  To boost the economy out of the recession, President Obama has chosen to spend an additional $100 billion on public schooling over the next two years.  His education secretary, Arne Duncan, is touring the nation to promote this education "stimulus."  However well-intentioned, their effort isn't just futile; it's also counterproductive.  Far from being an engine of wealth creation, the education system is bleeding the economy to death.

Obama Revisionism.  During his 4th of July message to the United States, Barack Obama engaged in another round of historical revisionism.  Many have probably not heard the speech ... but the message Obama attempted to sell was a clear distortion of the founding principles of the United States.  Uneducated or undereducated Americans, the products of liberal, politically correct "instruction" in most public schools, probably would not be able to challenge his slick, deceitful incorporation of the founding generation into a speech about big government.

Dumbest Generation Getting Dumber.  The Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) is an international comparison of 15-year-olds conducted by The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) that measures applied learning and problem-solving ability.  In 2006, U.S. students ranked 25th of 30 advanced nations in math and 24th in science.

Disability, Inc..  This is not a joke.  Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a 6-3 decision that required an Oregon public school district to pay a $5,200 monthly tuition (plus fees) for a private boarding school for a high-school senior whose psychologist had diagnosed him with ADHD, depression, math disorder and cannabis abuse.  Also not a joke:  The Obama administration had urged the big bench to so rule.  Thus the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which mandates that all "children with disabilities" have the right to a "free appropriate public education," is turning into a cash cow for disability lawyers and private schools.

Chicago schools report contradicts Obama and Duncan.  New research from a Chicago civic group takes direct aim at the city's "abysmal" public high school performance — and puts a new spin on the academic gains made during the seven years that Arne Duncan led the Chicago schools before he was named U.S. Education secretary.

Citizen's Guide to California Public School Finance.  In any given state, legislatures spend more on elementary and secondary education than any other major program, including healthcare, higher education, social services, and the criminal justice system.  California is no exception.  At $40 billion, K-12 education represents the largest share of the state general-fund budget.  Yet few people comprehend how — or how much — funding public schools receive because of the complexity and murkiness of the California public-school finance system.

D.C. Graduation Rates Down.  The on-time graduation rate for D.C. public schools has fallen below 50 percent, according to a new study, while the rates for Maryland and Virginia have not improved since the mid-1990s.  The study, released today by researchers affiliated with the trade publication Education Week, examined data from 1996 to 2006, the latest available federal figures, to calculate the percentage of students who graduate from high school within four years of starting ninth grade.  In 2006, the study found, the D.C. graduation rate fell to 48.8 percent, down 8.8 percentage points from the previous year.  The figure did not include public charter schools.

Obama's Government Health Plan Will Look Like Public Schools.  Horace Mann's education reform exhortations in the late 1830's and 40's were eerily parallel to the pitch for Obama today:  full inclusion, mandatory attendance, standardized pedagogy, along with coerced community participation by virtue of local taxes providing funding.  It promised to eradicate illiteracy, violence and vice.  For decades, the payoff was impressive.  But one hundred years later, Mann's idealism would be corrupted by John Dewey's progressive advocacy of self esteem replacing subject matter mastery.

Giving Failure a Pass.  The Los Angeles Unified School District, the largest in California, spends $10 million a year to "house," with full pay and benefits, about 160 teachers deemed unsuitable for the classroom, according to "Failure Gets a Pass," a recent series in the Los Angeles Times.  "If I had my way, I would fire [all of them], and they would not get another d----- penny," LAUSD superintendent Ramon C. Cortines told the Times.  "They're milking the system."

Twenty-Five Years Later, A Nation Still at Risk.  [Scroll down]  Our school results haven't appreciably improved, whether one looks at test scores or graduation rates.  Sure, there are up and down blips in the data, but no big and lasting changes in performance, even though we're also spending tons more money.  (In constant dollars, per-pupil spending in 1983 was 56% of today's.)  And just as "A Nation at Risk" warned, other countries are beginning to eat our education lunch.

More freedom, less government, for education.  For Obama, the solution to everything seems to be government and spending.  But in improving education, more of neither seems to work.  According to Department of Education data, reported by the Cato Institute, K-12 spending per student, adjusted for inflation, went from $5,393 in 1970 to $11,470 in 2004.  Over the same period, there were tiny increases in math scores among 17-year-olds and no improvement in reading scores.

Senator:  Parents worrisome about D.C. schools system.  "Parents tell us, they know in many cases, in D.C., if they're sending their kids off to the public schools the chances are very good they're going to end up in a gang rather than graduating high school," Sen. Jim DeMint, South Carolina Republican, said during a news conference Thursday [3/5/2009].

The Great College Hoax.  Higher education can be a financial disaster.  Especially with the return on degrees down and student loan sharks on the prowl.

I Feel Your Pain. Not Theirs. Yours.  In the now-famous firefighters' case, Ricci v. DeStefano, the New Haven Fire Department administered a civil service exam to choose a new batch of lieutenants and captains.  The city went so far as to hire an outside consultant to design the test in order to ensure that it was job-related and not racially biased.  But when the results came in, only whites and Hispanics scored high enough to earn promotions.  Such results never entice Democrats to reconsider their undying devotion to the teachers' unions that routinely produce students who can't read, write or do basic math.

California School Spends $10G a Year to Teach AP Spanish to Kids Who Speak Spanish.  A middle school in Southern California is spending $10,000 a year to teach Advanced Placement Spanish to 35 of its 650 students — and all but one of them are already fluent in Spanish.  Thirty-four of the kids in the AP class are from Mexico or are the children of Mexican immigrants.  They all grew up speaking Spanish at home.

Another Cohort of Kids Failed by Government Schools.  [Scroll down] Here in the United States you can't listen to the radio for an hour without hearing an ad for franchised educational tutoring from Sylvan Learning Center or Mathnasium.  It's pretty odd, all things considered, that parents elect to pay for such extra tutoring when the governments at all levels in 2008 are expected to spend $837.7 billion, according to usgovernmentspending.com.  Using the US Census 2000 number of 80 million Americans between 5 and 24, that's about $10,500 per young American.

Obama speaks the truth.  Our President has a habit of saying what he means when he doesn't mean to say what he means. ... This week, while telling us about his plan to limit earmarks in Congressional bills, he once again did it by telling us his true feeling about public-versus-private entities. ... Mr. Obama's Stimulus Bill hands the Detroit school system $355 million with no strings attached even though recent audits have shown millions of dollars missing.  No, Mr. Obama was defining his basic philosophy from his inner core — business is bad; government is good.

Higher (Priced) Education.  How is it that Americans who lived hard scrabble lives 150 years ago could read, write, do math problems and quote at length from Shakespeare and the Bible, while today, in spite of "Sesame Street," pre-school, Operation Head Start, computers and mind-numbing hours of homework, millions of youngsters entering college can do none of those things?  It seems obvious to me that our education system, which costs us billions and billions of dollars, is a wreck.

Special Speech.  [Scroll down] Witness the District of Columbia, which spends more per public-school student than any other school system in the country.  In terms of academic outcome, school discipline, and almost every other conceivable measure, the D.C. schools are a notorious disaster, and for children with special needs they are an absolute scandal.  The idea that throwing more federal dollars into this sinkhole is a solution of some sort is laughable.

You Can't Be Half-Socialist.  Our shoddy educational curriculum that has left most younger Americans so deficient in the study of history that vast numbers of them think George Washington was a Civil War general, or a lumberman who chopped down cherry trees.  They have no real understanding of the economic system that allowed us to become the wealthiest and most powerful nation since the Roman Empire ruled most of the known world 2000 years ago.

The Real Obama:  Part III.  The education situation in Obama's home base of Chicago is one of the worst in the nation for the children — and one of the best for the unionized teachers.  Fewer than one-third of Chicago's high-school juniors meet the statewide standards on tests.  Only 6 percent of the youngsters who enter Chicago high schools become college graduates by the time they are 25 years old.  The problem is not money:  Chicago spends more than $10,000 per student.

Why Obama's Communist Connections Are Not Headlines:  I have seen for quite some time that although we won the Cold War — and defeated the Soviet communist empire — America is vulnerable to varying degrees of collectivism, wealth redistribution, "creeping socialism" (Ronald Reagan's phrase), class-warfare rhetoric, and generally milder, more palatable (but still dangerous) forms of disguised Marxism.  Why?  How?  The answer is simple:  The history and truth about communism is not taught by our educators.

How to spend limited taxpayer education dollars.  The Department of Education was established in 1979 by President Jimmy Carter to improve education in our country.  The department's budget then was $14.5 billion.  Today, its budget has grown sixfold.  Yet over the same period of time there has been virtually zero change, on average, in test scores.

Boston Suburb's 'Taj Mahal' Brings Ban on Luxury High Schools.  A $200 million high school scheduled to open in 2010 in the Boston suburb of Newton, Massachusetts, will be the state's most expensive.  It may also be the last of its kind.  The 413,000-square-foot (33,368 square-meter) Newton North High, featuring an arts complex and an athletic wing with swimming pool and climbing wall, has become a symbol of excess in Massachusetts, where households bear the country's eighth-highest property-tax burden, according to the Washington-based Tax Foundation.

Chicago schools' espresso machines a waste of money, inspector reports.  One Chicago Public Schools manager must have really been jonesing for a cup of coffee when officials say she spent nearly $70,000 of the district's money to buy 30 cappuccino/espresso machines for a high school program.

$500 billion spent on education.  The Bush administration has issued a booklet declaring that U.S. taxpayers spent more than $500 billion for public schools in the 2003-04 school year, after months of attacks by Democrats and teachers unions who say that federal requirements for school improvement are underfunded.

Teachers Union Exposed.  According to the New York Times, an international comparison finds that the United States has the worst educational quality per dollar spent on schooling, ranking 18th in reading and 28th in math.  Why are we getting so little for our money?

Public school spending:  The District of Columbia spent more money per student ($13,187) than any state in the country in 2001-2002, according to a June 2004 report by the U.S. Census Bureau.  Near the top of the list were New York ($11,546), New Jersey ($11,436), Connecticut ($10,001) and Massachusetts ($9,856).

How much money does the United States spend on public elementary and secondary schools?  Chart shows current expenditure per pupil in fall enrollment in public elementary and secondary schools:  Selected years, 1961-62 through 2004-05.

Public Education Finances Report.  Includes an interesting chart:  "Elementary-Secondary Per Pupil Current Spending Amounts by State:  2005-06."
  NY:  14,884
  NJ:  14,630
  DC:  13,446
  VT:  12,614

Expensive and easy fixes haven't solved education woes.  It would be a godsend if pumping more capital into the district could raise achievement levels.  Instead, the quest for easy fixes to our underperforming educational system marches on.  We've tried just about everything we can think of.  We've reduced class sizes, we've pumped up teacher training requirements, and we've poured tons of money into free food programs.  If we're really interested in what works, why not look at the top performing public schools in the state?

Time to Draw a Line in the Sand on Dysfunctional Schools.  The Arizona Daily Star … conducted a ten-month investigation and found that one-third of Tucson middle and high school students failed a core academic class, but nonetheless, 90 percent were promoted to the next grade. … Seventy-nine percent of Tucson students attending community college must take remedial math; 48 percent take remedial writing, and 32 percent are placed in remedial reading.

Nevada Should Embrace Charter Schools.  Nevada's school age population increased by 21 percent between 2000 and 2005 and is expected to increase by some 60 percent between 2000 and 2016.  Nevada is struggling to keep up with these demands.  In 2003, Nevada's per-pupil public school spending for buildings was more than 40 percent above the national average.  Nevada's school quality issue represents an even more serious problem.  According to the Nation's Report Card from 2007, 43 percent of Nevada fourth graders cannot read at a basic level.  Nevada's quality and quantity problems are interrelated.

Congress Is Destroying America's Schools.  Why any town or city bothers to hold an election for members of the local board of education is a mystery to me.  Between the U.S. Department of Education and a union, the National Education Association, masquerading as just a group of concerned teachers, local boards have no real power to reverse the subjugation and destruction of the nation's education system.  Since the Constitution does not even mention education, it is a continuing mystery why the U.S. has a department devoted to it.

School Choice Is Change You Can Believe In.  Just how rotten are the D.C. public schools?  In a recent survey by Education Week, the D.C. public schools ranked fourth from the bottom in terms of graduation rates.  Test scores for basics like math and reading are also near the bottom.  It's not for lack of money:  A recent U.S. Census Bureau report says the district school spending clocks in at more than $13,400 per child — third highest in the nation.  It takes a lot of money to run a school system as lousy as D.C.'s.

The Union War on the No Child Left Behind Act:  Spending per pupil has skyrocketed over the last three decades -- going from just over $3,000 a year to more than $8,194 a year.  In our nation's biggest districts, such as Washington, D.C., that number has reached more than $16,000 a year.  Yet, despite this increased spending, fewer than one-third of our fourth graders (and an equivalent proportion of our eighth graders) read proficiently.  Reading performance has improved only slightly over the past fifteen years among fourth graders and has not improved at all among eighth graders.

Public School System, Not Vouchers, Is What's Unfair.  The District of Columbia is widely cited as having one of the worst public school systems in the country, with reported graduation rates at a mere 57 percent and politicians crying foul over an alleged lack of funding.  But as Andrew Coulson of the Cato Institute noted in the Washington Post, public funding of DC schools is commonly claimed to be $8,322 per pupil, which is higher than the tuition for many private schools in the area.  And when Coulson accounted for all education expenditures in the district, he found actual public school spending was about $24,600 per child!  You could send your kids to the toniest of private schools for that kind of money, yet the DC schools are a disaster.

Congress putting D.C. kids in danger.  The D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program saves lives.  The fate of the nonprofit outfit, which takes poor children out of failing schools and gives them scholarships to private institutions, is currently up in the air — in the hands of Congress and, ultimately, the president.  Supporters of the program cite its strong record of academic improvement, but its value goes beyond grades.  It quite literally saves lives.  Children enrolled in the DCOSP, now in its fifth year, are physically safer than they were in District public schools, some of the most violent in the nation.

Black Education.  The education establishment and politicians tell us that we need to spend more for higher teacher pay and smaller class size.  The fact of business is higher teacher salaries and smaller class sizes mean little or nothing in terms of academic achievement.  Washington, D.C., for example spends over $15,000 per student, has class sizes smaller than the nation's average, and with an average annual salary of $61,195, its teachers are the most highly paid in the nation.

Why such high pay for school-district lawyers?  While Philadelphia School District officials continue combing their books for nearly $40 million in spending cuts needed to balance next year's budget, one group of school employees appears to be safe from the ax:  lawyers.  The district's Office of General Counsel will receive a slight increase of $325,074 in 2008-09, bringing its total outlay to $13.5 million, according to the budget proposal presented during City Council hearings April 28 and 29.

Average SAT scores are lowest since 1999.  This year's declines follow a seven-point drop last year for the first class to take a lengthened and redesigned SAT, which included higher-level math questions and eliminated analogies.

US Can't Pass English 101.  The students' chosen path to increased emoluments is not easy, for many of them are not well prepared for college work.  Never mind the agonies of the "compare-and-contrast paper, the argument paper, the process-analysis paper... and the dreaded research paper."  Many of the students "cannot write a coherent sentence."

Algebra I stumping high school freshmen.  Thousands of high school freshmen across Michigan are failing Algebra I, the first of four math courses this class of students must take and pass to fulfill what are among the toughest graduation requirements in the nation.  The failure rate — estimated at 20% to 30% of about 113,000 freshmen — has some predicting a crisis by the time these students are juniors and must take Algebra II.

American Education Fails Because It Isn't Education.  We have been focusing on a massive national campaign to "fix" the schools for the past decade or more.  Now we have ultra high-tech, carpeted, air-conditioned school buildings with computers and television sets.  We have education programs full of new ideas, new methods, and new directions.  In the 1990's we set "national standards," accountability through "national testing" through Goals 2000.  Through that program we declared that every child would come to school "ready to learn," "no child would be left behind," and pledged that our kids would be "second to none" in the world.  Above all, we've spent money, money and more money.  The result, American students have fallen further behind, placing 19th out of 21 nations in math, 16th in science, and dead last in physics.

Why is Public Education Failing?  It's a fact.  Most of today's school children can barely read or write.  They can't perform math problems without a calculator.  They barely know who the Founding Fathers were and know even less of their achievements.  Most can't tell you the name of the President of the United States.  It's pure and simple; today's children aren't coming out of school with an academics education.

U.S. Students' Achievement Is Mediocre in International Study.  According to a new report comparing academic achievement for the 50 U.S. states with international scores, students in even the highest-achieving states are mediocre when compared with the rest of the developed world. … Nationally, the United States had a significantly smaller percentage of students score "proficient" in mathematics on the combined scale than did six, primarily Asian, countries, including Japan and Singapore. … In science, five Asian countries, plus England, Estonia, and Hungary, had significantly larger percentages of students score at proficient levels than the United States.

Will Detroit save its kids or bureaucracy?  Recently, on "Fox News Sunday," as an example of why entrenched bureaucratic systems don't work, I pointed to the Detroit Public Schools as the worst big city school system ... Yet, I was not giving my personal opinion.  I was reporting the results of an independent study funded by the Gates Foundation.  It asserted the Detroit school system graduates only one-fourth of its entering freshmen on time, placing Detroit dead last on its list.

States' Data Obscure How Few Finish High School.  When it comes to high school graduation rates, Mississippi keeps two sets of books.  One team of statisticians working at the state education headquarters here recently calculated the official graduation rate at a respectable 87 percent, which Mississippi reported to Washington.  But in another office piled with computer printouts, a second team of number crunchers came up with a different rate:  a more sobering 63 percent.

N.J. struggling under tax burden.  Between 2002 and 2007, property-tax collections went from $16 billion to $22.1 billion -- a 38 percent jump caused largely by the ballooning costs of running schools and towns.  That increase was more than double the inflation rate in the same period.

Study:  Detroit schools rank last in graduation rate.  Detroit has the worst graduation rate among principal school districts serving the country's 50 largest cities, according to a national study released this morning by a coalition of education policy makers.  The region as a whole placed 11th among the country's large metropolitan areas, according to the report by Washington, D.C.-based America's Promise Alliance.

High school graduation called 'coin toss'.  A teenager living in one of the nation's 50 largest cities has about a 50 percent chance of graduating high school, a new report finds.

School grant program wastes billions.  Just how much improvement of low-accomplishing public schools have Californians purchased with the $1.25 billion in their taxes spent on No Child Left Behind special programs?  The disturbing answer, apparently:  "little if any academic improvement."

Less than half of Va. 4th, 8th-graders proficient in math, reading.  Virginia's fourth- and eighth-graders have a better grasp of math and reading skills than their peers nationwide, but less than half are proficient in either subject.

The End of America As We Know It:  About a third of the students in our country aren't even getting high school degrees and at the bottom end of the scale, in places like Detroit, fewer than 25% of the students go on to graduate.  Even the students who do graduate are getting a watered down, politically correct education that's inferior in most ways to the one that people received in this country 50 years ago.

Eight Facts about Teacher Pay and Teacher Retention  in Texas Public Schools:  There is no overall teacher shortage in Texas at this time, and Texas teachers are not underpaid; however, after five years in a classroom, nearly 60 percent of teachers quit the profession.  [There must be a reason!]

One Salary Doesn't Fit All.  School officials can give their star teachers considerably more money, without raising taxes, by modernizing their teacher pay system. … The research is clear.  Teacher performance does not improve with each additional year in the classroom after the first couple of years.  Eric Hanushek, a well-respected education researcher with the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, finds that a teacher with 15 years of experience is no more effective than a teacher with five years of experience.

A Teaching Moment From the District of Columbia.  The District of Columbia … is proving that spending more on public schools is a waste of money.  That was the unintended lesson of the press conference District Mayor Adrian Fenty called this week to announce that half the District's public schools would not have proper textbooks for opening day and half the school buildings would not have air conditioning.  This is not because the District has been frugal.  Its public schools wallow in cash.

Higher Grades Contradict Test Scores.  Forty-three percent of white students scored at or above proficient levels on the reading test, compared with 20 percent of Hispanic students and 16 percent of black students.  On the math test, 29 percent of white students reached the proficient level, compared with 8 percent of Hispanics and 6 percent of blacks.  The gap in reading scores between whites and minorities was relatively unchanged since 2002.  One of the stated goals of the federal No Child Left Behind law is to reduce the gaps in achievement between whites and minorities.

Can D.C. Schools Be Fixed?  The schools spent $25 million on a computer system to manage personnel that had to be discarded because there was no accurate list of employees to use as a starting point.  The school system relies on paper records stacked in 200 cardboard boxes to keep track of its employees, and in some cases is five years behind in processing staff paperwork.  It also lacks an accurate list of its 55,000-plus students, although it pays $900,000 to a consultant each year to keep count.

To Live and Take in D.C.:  The Santa Clausiness of the D.C. government is almost beyond comprehension.  It seems that all you have to do is work there and money just falls into your lap.  For instance, The [Washington] Post reported just last week on how a former principal requested a grant to train teachers and the school system authorized $3 million in a single day.  And when she went to pick up the first $1 million, the school system just handed over the money — no silly, fussy contract or anything like that.



A few words from the Editor:

Use your favorite search engine and look for aerial photos of Duncanville High School, southwest of Dallas.  You'll see the school has 12 tennis courts, two baseball fields, two soccer fields, a football stadium, a band hall, a natatorium, and untold numbers of classrooms in several very nice buildings.  The band hall alone is bigger than the high school I attended 40 years ago.  And yet the academic situation is dismal at best.  My wife taught math there for a couple of months (that was all she could stand), and she reports that many of the kids in Algebra II don't know how to multiply fractions, they don't know what a decimal point does, and they can't multiply two numbers without a calculator.  Cheating is rampant:  the kids send text messages to one another during tests (instead of whispering or passing notes).  Money is not going to fix these kids' academic problems.  Millions of dollars have been spent already on this school — mainly to assure the success of the football and basketball teams — and the kids are dumber than ever.

And why should the kids put forth any effort anyway?  Uncle Sam will make sure they have jobs.  After all, there's always the Army.  If no jobs are available, some government agency will buy groceries and pay the rent.  Illegitimate children are a big plus — the girls see pregnancy as a goal rather than a pitfall.  The boys take pride in laziness and stupidity, and any display of intellect is stigmatized as "acting white."  In my opinion, if these kids are any indication of America's future, it's time to start building more prisons.

Duncanville High School is proof that "more money for education" -- a common campaign promise -- is not going to improve the end product of America's schools.



Stemming the dropout tide.  Our nation has been asleep at the dropout switch for three decades.  Consider that 24 years ago, the National Commission on Excellence in Education sounded a call to action:  "Our Nation is at risk... the educational foundations of our society are presently being eroded by a rising tide of mediocrity that threatens our very future as a Nation and a people." … Since that time, however, our country has made virtually no progress in improving graduation rates even though education reform has been high on the public agenda.

No state meets the teacher quality goal set by Bush.  Not a single state will have a highly qualified teacher in every core class this school year as promised by President Bush's education law.  Nine states along with the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico face penalties.

Shakespeare is not to be at most colleges.  They're calling it "the unkindest cut of all."  As Shakespeare fans prepare to celebrate the Bard's 443rd birthday Monday, researchers for a non-profit group say fewer colleges appear to require students to study the influential author.

Robbing Parents To Pay Teachers.  "According to the U.S. Department of Education, the average private school charged $4,689 per student in tuition for the 1999-2000 school years.  That same year, the average public school spent $8,032 per pupil."  Somehow, private schools are able to out-perform public schools when it comes to imparting knowledge and skills despite the fact their students have less than half as much funding as public school students and the success of home-schooled students over their contemporaries is already legendary.

More Money Doesn't Mean Better Education in Kansas.  A January report issued by the Topeka-based Flint Hills Center for Public Policy challenges prevailing wisdom about the adequacy of public school spending in Kansas. … The report finds no connection between total per-pupil spending and eighth-grade reading assessment scores from each of the state's 300 school districts between 1993-94 and 2004-05, even among districts with the same rates of student poverty.

Lansing schools spend $100K on staff trip.  Lansing schools sent 56 staff members to a weeklong magnet schools conference in Las Vegas earlier this month, spending an estimated $100,000 in federal grant money on fees, airfare, lodging, meals and substitute teachers.

California schools experience a drop in performance.  Just over half of California's public schools have met the state's expectations for academic improvement, a sharp drop from a year ago, when more than two-thirds hit their target.

60% of Tennesseans give state 'C' or worse in teaching students.  Education is not the top public priority to Tennesseans, even though they are dissatisfied with the job the state is doing educating students, a recent Vanderbilt University survey found.  A poll by Vanderbilt's Peabody Center for Education Policy found 44 percent of Tennesseans identified it as the most important issue among a list of seven issues, second to the 54 percent who chose health care.

Where's the courage in education reform?  The dropout rate among Latino students in the Los Angeles Unified School District is 60 percent.  Among black students it's 57 percent.  Average proficiency in English and math is under 30 percent.  By the California Department of Education's own Academic Performance Index, 46 percent of elementary schools score 3 or below out of a possible 10, 72 percent of middle schools score 3 or below, and 66 percent of high schools score 3 or below.

It is a myth that schools don't have enough money.  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.

Bad apples and public schools.  If there is one thing the Department of Education does well, it is collect statistics about schools.  According to its National Center for Education Statistics, Americans in recent decades paid for a massive increase in spending on government schools.  Between the 1970 and 2002 school years, average per-pupil spending in public elementary and secondary schools rose 111 percent, from $4,170 (in constant 2001-2002 dollars) to $8,802.  From just 1990 to 2003, average per-pupil spending increased 25 percent, from $7,692 (in constant 2003-2004 dollars) to 9,644.  This big run-up in spending did not cause a big run-up in student performance.

This article includes a state-by-state chart of spending per student.
D.C.'s Distinction:  $16,344 Per Student, But Only 12% Read Proficiently:  The District of Columbia spends far more money per student in its public elementary and secondary schools each year than the tuition costs at many private elementary schools, or even college-preparatory secondary schools.  Yet, District 8th-graders ranked dead last in 2005 in national reading and math tests.

Study finds one-third in D.C. are illiterate.  About one-third of the people living in the national's capital are functionally illiterate, compared with about one-fifth nationally, according to a report on the District of Columbia.  Adults are considered functionally illiterate if they have trouble doing such things as comprehending bus schedules, reading maps and filling out job applications.

$500 billion spent on education.  The Bush administration has issued a booklet declaring that U.S. taxpayers spent more than $500 billion for public schools in the 2003-04 school year, after months of attacks by Democrats and teachers unions who say that federal requirements for school improvement are underfunded.

Technology Has Made Our Public Schools Less Efficient.  Spending on technology in public schools increased from essentially zero in 1970 to more than $100 per student in 2004, according to Education Week, a leading publication for teachers and school administrators. … Between 1997 and 2004, the federal government appropriated more than $4 billion to help states purchase educational technology.  Meanwhile, these huge new investments in technology were coupled with a massive increase in the teacher workforce that drove the student-teacher ratio from 22 students per teacher in 1970 to 16 per teacher in 2001.  There is no reputable analysis suggesting that the billions invested in technology have enhanced the productivity or performance of America's schools.

More teachers' union myths:  The United States spends $83,910 per student from ages 6 to 15.  The Slovak Republic, which outperforms the United States in this study, spends $17,612 per student.

What other institution can fail one-third of the time and survive?  Time reported last week that only two out of every three young people who enter America's high schools complete enough of their work to graduate.  The other third just disappear into society's wasteland.

Academic Gravy Train Derailment.  In their quest for support for the lifestyle to which they have become accustomed, professors and administrators at state universities have traditionally looked at Republicans with disdain and pinned their hopes on elected Democrats.  But now, even some of their traditional partisan angels are becoming skeptical of their claims of imminent need.

Cypress Ridge High School rated 'dangerous' by the state.  The suburban, middle-class Cypress Ridge High School is the first Houston-area campus to be deemed "persistently dangerous," an emotionally charged label that it earned, in part, for reporting a high number of drug violations. … The high school is one of just five Texas schools to make this year's list.  Fewer than 40 U.S. schools were deemed dangerous last year. … In Texas, schools are considered persistently dangerous if they report three or more mandatory expulsion incidents per 1,000 students in each of the previous three years.

Seven Myths Regarding School Finance and Tax Reform in Texas.  Like many states, Texas must now respond to a judicial mandate regarding funding for public schools.  The Texas Supreme Court has ruled that school districts lack meaningful discretion in setting property tax rates.  In the Court's view this constitutes a statewide property tax, which is prohibited by the Texas Constitution.  This is one more example of the education lobby's efforts to mandate increased spending for public education, a strategy that they have successfully pursued nationwide.

No Magic Bullet — Top Ten Myths about Government-Run Universal Preschool.  The case for government-run universal preschool is based on selective, limited, and nonexistent evidence.  What evidence there is argues for targeted pilot or demonstration programs that have research components attached to determine whether the programs are actually producing better student outcomes both in the short and long terms.  Given the empirical holes that exist in the evidence for universal preschool, it would seem premature in the extreme to entrench an untested expensive program, run by poorly performing government bureaucracies, into the state constitution.

Special children, special needs, big bucks.  A state report also showed that 25 percent of city high school seniors in special education received diplomas last spring without meeting graduation requirements.  Baltimore City's school system is an excellent example of a situation where both mainstream and special-education students would benefit greatly from the opportunity to take their per-pupil money elsewhere to a better school.

In the trenches of the public schools — A review of 'The Emergency Teacher'.  One is hard pressed, in my humble estimation, to come up with a more urgent domestic policy issue today than education policy.  It is no secret that American public education is in shambles.

College illiteracy stuns educators.  Shocked, stunned, and appalled are American educators as they study the recent report from the National Center of Education Statistics, which reveals that only 31 percent of college graduates can read a complex book and extrapolate from it.  "It's really astounding," said Michael Gorman, president of the American Library Association.  "That's not saying much for the remainder," he added, meaning that 69 percent of our college graduates cannot read at or above a "proficient" level.

History as she is wrote.  If you want to know why kids these days don't seem to know much of anything useful — or have a command of proper facts — you should take a look at their textbooks.  Terry Graves says they are filled with "facts" that will make your head spin.

Impoverishing everyone, educating no one.  The word "education" does not appear anywhere in the US Constitution.  The founders of this nation understood that education was best served at the local level and somehow, prior to around the midpoint of the last century, America's schools managed to turn out students so well educated they created the world's greatest economy, most powerful agricultural system, a constant stream of technological advances, and what is arguably the most effective military fighting force on the face of the earth.

Diplomythology:  Any conservative understands that students in colleges are largely taught false, bitter rhetoric in place of knowledge and inquiry.  Not only do modern universities destroy minds, but they consume huge amounts of wealth in the process.  Is this, however, part of the price for providing a good education for our children?

Specious science in our schools.  In September, millions of America's school children will return to their classrooms where their textbooks are teaching an utterly polluted stream of environmental and other science misinformation.  Like so many issues involving our debased educational system, this is not evoking much public outcry.  It should.

The illusion of formal education:  Few myths resist experience more than the value of formal education.  The briefest overview of human thought shows how little schooling has to do genius.  Science?  Pythagoras, Archimedes, Galileo, Newton, and Einstein each leaped far beyond the horizon, and each did so largely alone.  Academia snuggled up to Einstein after his breakthroughs, and published his finding, but Einstein was a Swiss Patent Office clerk without a diploma when he made those breakthroughs.

Young Americans Geographically Illiterate, Survey Suggests.  Young adults in the United States fail to understand the world and their place in it, according to a survey-based report on geographic literacy released today [5/2/2006].  Take Iraq, for example.  Despite nearly constant news coverage since the war there began in 2003, 63 percent of Americans aged 18 to 24 failed to correctly locate the country on a map of the Middle East.  Seventy percent could not find Iran or Israel.

[Yes, but one of the questions was, "Which of these cities is the setting for the original television series CSI:  Crime Scene Investigation?"  That's a question about television, not geography.  Is a knowledge of prime-time television essential to a good education?]

"Change-Agents" change American education.  Academic subjects such as math, science, and history have been deliberately hollowed out of their content.  These, and most other disciplines, have been replaced with meaningless, mind-numbing psychobabble.  Dumbed down methods such as whole language, new math, guessing, and others, are meant to cripple the minds of our young people.  These methods create the mental dissonance required to stanch the development of cognitive thinking.  Traditional values have been undermined with sex education, values clarification, "remediation," new age, and more psychobabble.

The Separation of State and Schools:  We need to abolish the cabinet level office of Department of Education.  The only function a department of education would have in Washington would be a clearinghouse of ideas with no control over local schools.  That would be dealt with on the state level.

The Dirty Dozen:  America's Most Bizarre and Politically Correct College Courses.  As tuition rates climb to an average of over $21,000 per year, today's college students study prostitution, teeth whitening, and Beavis and Butthead.  The Dirty Dozen highlights the most bizarre and troubling instances of leftist activism supplanting traditional scholarship in our nation's colleges and universities.

Judge tosses out No Child Left Behind lawsuit.  A judge threw out a lawsuit Wednesday [11/23/2005] that sought to block the No Child Left Behind law, President Bush's signature education policy. … The National Education Association and school districts in three states had argued that schools should not have to comply with requirements that were not paid for by the federal government.

 Editor's Note:   That's called a "costly unfunded mandate" — a cliché used all over the internet.  The lesson here is that neither states, cities nor individuals can get money from the federal government without a lot of strings attached.

Colleges find many lacking.  In the lowest-level writing class at Columbia College, freshmen learn about the pitfalls of run-on sentences and the correct places for commas.  In basic math, they learn about fractions, decimals and simple geometry.  Sarah Rehder didn't expect to start college in either of these courses.  A graduate of Curie High School in Chicago, she assumed she was prepared for college.

Education:  then and now.  Some years ago, when I looked at the math textbooks that my nieces in Harlem were using, I discovered that they were being taught in the 11th grade what I had been taught in the 9th grade.  Even if they were the best students around, they would still be two years behind — with their chances in life correspondingly reduced.

Are We Learning Our Lessons About Education Spending?.  From 2001 to 2004, federal spending on elementary and secondary education has jumped 68 percent, to $38 billion.  Aid to higher education has more than tripled, to $28 billion.  And what's this generosity buying?  Less educated students.

Taxpayer Billions Wasted on Education.  "Despite the huge infusion of federal cash," writes [Neal] McCluskey, "and the near tripling of overall per pupil funding since 1965, national academic performance has not improved.  Math and reading scores have stagnated, graduation rates have flat lined, and researchers have shown numerous billion-dollar federal programs to be failures."

Florida — where "bad" is "good".  Get this:  There's a new principle in American education — namely, that public schools are to be "uniformly" bad.  Such is the rock-bottom meaning of that 5-2 Florida Supreme Court decision last week scuttling a public school voucher program. You needn't sift for long the legal gobbledygook to figure out that the Florida decision cuts aspiring students off at the knees and rewards substandard performance by their teachers and administrators.

A for Error.  In the fabled past, students in colleges and universities were penalized for giving an incorrect answer on an exam, now they risk a lower grade if they don't.  "Memorize the wrong answer and give it back to them," advised Trey Winslett, a junior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, when asked how he handled inaccuracies in textbooks and lectures that he and his classmates had to remember for tests.

The Glass Ceiling of Women's Studies:  Colleges and universities spend billions on women's studies programs, mostly at the taxpayers' expense, but coeds are avoiding these programs to a greater extent than television viewers avoid the WB.

Why Professor Johnny can't spell.  Rebecca Beach is a freshman at Warren County Community College (WCCC) in Washington, New Jersey.  Recently, she sent an email to the faculty at her school announcing the appearance of a decorated Iraq war hero named Lt. Colonel Scott Rutter.

Cheating the children.  Last week, Florida's supreme court ruled that public money can't be spent on private schools because the state constitution commands the funding of only "uniform … high-quality" schools.  How absurd.  As if government schools are uniformly high quality.  Or even mostly decent.  Apparently competition, which made even the Postal Service improve, is unconstitutional when it comes to public education in Florida.

Abraham Lincoln Was a Home Schooler; Woodrow Wilson Went to Princeton.  How many students or professors at the most respected liberal arts colleges in the country can name one of the liberal arts, or give a clear account of what the liberal arts are (or were)?

Students show almost no gains in reading.  In the latest snapshot of how well American schoolchildren are learning, national test results showed a small gain in math proficiency in the past two years but nearly zero improvement in reading scores since 1992 despite more than a decade of focus on boosting student achievement.

College Spending Spree:  Every year, when millionaire college presidents and lobbyists go to Capitol Hill in Washington, D. C. to plead for more federal money from American taxpayers in order to educate the public, there is not a dry eye in the House of Representatives among either lawmakers or their legislative assistants.  And that's just on the Republican side.  You get a different story when you actually go to a few college towns.

Schools Beset by Computer Errors.  D.C schools continue to experience problems with a new computer system, with some principals saying yesterday that their schools have been unable to record attendance, print student schedules or even access the Internet since Wednesday [9/7/2005].

Illinois Schools Use Hidden Tax to Evade Property Tax Caps.  Hundreds of school districts across Illinois have sharply increased a special tax that is meant to pay for legal claims and insurance expenses, some of them apparently doing so to divert the money to other purposes.

Thousands of Students Were Not Taught to Read, Then Labeled Disabled.  Tens of thousands of students in California's special education system have been placed there not because of a serious mental or emotional handicap, but because they were never taught to read properly.

A Time to Remember and Preserve.  Recently, I asked a student about to enter the 10th grade in one of Alabama's top public high schools what she knew about the Declaration of Independence.  She said, "The Declaration of Independence is the declaration that gave us our freedom."  I asked what the Constitution meant to her and she said, "I really don't know much about it because our history teacher is from Pakistan and all he taught us about in 9th grade history is about Pakistan."

Victims of the blackboard jungle.  Only after the girl's father called police himself did law enforcement come to the scene.  By the time the cops arrived, all of the administrators had gone home for the day.  The principal is now in the process of being fired.

Duh!  81% of kids fail test.  A stunning 81% of [New York City]'s eighth-graders flunked the state's basic social studies exam last year – and the scores have gone down annually since the test debuted in 2001.

Time to get an accurate read on the performance of public schools.  While national media are filled with pictures of horrors all over the world, the biggest tragedy in the United States rates only local stories.  I'm referring to the sad, sad tale of how public school systems promote millions of children all the way into high school without ever teaching them how to read.

Michigan Rethinks Laptop Giveaway Program.  In 2000, on the heels of the tech boom, then-Gov. John Engler set aside $110 million to give laptop computers to Michigan's 91,000 public school teachers.  While that may have been a nice perk for teachers, a survey conducted by Michigan Virtual University found that fewer than one in nine teachers felt they could use the laptops to enhance their lessons.  Perhaps unsurprisingly, the program has resulted in no significant jump in student achievement.

Duke study:  Internet makes children dumber.  Before your school district gets the bright idea of giving away laptops and getting all of the children online, have a look at this study from researchers at Duke...

An iPod for every kid?  We have come to the conclusion that the crisis Michigan faces is not a shortage of revenue, but an excess of idiocy.  Facing a budget deficit that has passed the $1 billion mark, House Democrats Thursday [4/5/2007] offered a spending plan that would buy a MP3 player or iPod for every school child in Michigan.  No cost estimate was attached to their hare-brained idea to "invest" in education.  Details, we are promised, will follow.

Update:
Democrats try to bury iPod idea.  House Democrats tried to bury a distracting controversy Thursday, saying a statement made last week about providing iPods for Michigan students had been misconstrued and was unfairly overshadowing the state's budget crisis.

Prince George's County to monitor its school buses with GPS.  The District recently outfitted its fleet of 650 school buses, which transport the city's special-education students, with GPS tracking devices.  WJLA-TV reported that the system cost D.C. Public Schools $1.6 million and will cost about $800,000 a year to maintain.

Note:  That's $2460 per bus, plus $1230 per year (per bus) to maintain the system.  What needs to be maintained once the system is up and running?  For that amount of money, they could reinstall a whole new system every three years.  And even when such a system works perfectly, all it shows is the location and speed of every bus.  This appears to be an expensive solution for which there is no problem.

The 65 percent solution:  Nationally, 61.5 percent of education operational budgets reach the classrooms.  Why make a fuss about 3.5 percent?  Because it amounts to $13 billion.  Only four states (Utah, Tennessee, New York, Maine) spend at least 65 percent of their budgets in classrooms.  Fifteen states spend less than 60 percent.  The worst jurisdiction — Washington, D.C., of course — spends less than 50 percent.

No basketball player left behind.  Leftists love to talk about the structural problems that purportedly keep down the poor, and by that they mean a free market system.  But one structural problem truly does exist:  the tragedy of inner city public school systems that make a future of poverty likely for large numbers of students.

Survey Finds Fewer Drug-Free Schools.  More teens are saying there are drugs in their schools, and those who have access to them are more likely to try them, said a Columbia University survey released Thursday [8/18/2005].

Minorities, "racism," and the UMASS flap:  On average, Asian students spend twice as much time doing homework as their non-Asian classmates.  They believe they'll get in trouble at home if their grades fall below A-, while for whites the "trouble threshold" is B-, and for blacks and Hispanics, C-.  They don't believe that success or failure in school depends on factors beyond their control.

Protecting Our Public Schools:  There is no acceptable level of school crime, but violent crime against students and educators cannot be tolerated at any level in a civilized society.  The duty to keep school property free of the foreseeable risks of crime falls on our school districts; and our teachers and administrators are charged with ensuring that violence inside school buildings is quickly terminated.

Public Education Productivity Declines 71% in 35 Years.  In today's more technology-oriented and competitive world, the U.S. should be producing much higher SAT results than 35 years ago, with real diplomas reflecting real mastery of all subjects, especially with three times more real spending per student.

The Impact Of Violence On Public Education:  Our states and their school districts have set about establishing a variety of school security programs designed to both limit school violence and to react to it after it occurs.  But uniformed security personnel, gates, locks and alarms do little to assist the classroom teacher to maintain order in the very places where learning is supposed to be going on.

Building Unwanted Schools in Illinois.  While taxpayers in Florida's Miami-Dade School District aren't getting the new schools they want and need, taxpayers in Jersey County, Illinois, are getting new schools they don't want and don't need, despite rejecting — by a 71–to–29 percent vote — a 1999 school district referendum to build two new schools.  School enrollment in Jersey County has been falling for the past eight years.

Phony "ethics".  We have known for a long time that teenagers in Japan scored much higher on international math tests than American teenagers do.  But did you know that teenagers in Poland, the Slovak Republic, Iceland, Canada, and Korea — among other places — also score higher than our teenagers?  Out of 29 countries whose teenagers took a recent international math test, American teenagers ranked 24th.  Americans also scored near the bottom on tests of general problem-solving.

Higher education in decline.  College costs have risen dramatically over the last several decades.  In many cases, it's difficult to find a college where per-student costs are under $20,000 each year.  Most often, tuition doesn't measure the true cost because taxpayer and donor subsidies pay part of the expenses.  While costs are rising, education quality is in precipitous decline, particularly at the undergraduate level.  Part of the reason is the political climate on college campuses, where professors use their classrooms for proselytizing and indoctrination and teach classes that have little or no academic content.

Smaller class sizes fail to raise standards in primary schools.  Academics at the University of London found that class size had no impact on progress in the subjects among nine and 10-year-olds.

Raw Data on the Sources and Uses of Public Education Dollars.  If per-pupil expenditures continue to increase at 6% a year, average U.S. spending for K-12 education for the school year starting this fall [2004] would be about $11,000 per student, with total expenditures exceeding a half a trillion dollars.

 Editor's Note:   The chart on this page shows that the District of Columbia spends more than 2.66 times as much per pupil as the State of Utah.  Which of these two places has better, safer schools?

Calvert Commie Public Schools:  In this era of entitlement, it's laughable that public school budgets financed by taxpayers are in any way lacking.  Maryland's per pupil expenditure has been rising steadily over the years, and the state currently spends on average about $9,000 per year on every student in its public schools.  And this doesn't even take into account state and federal grants.  It seems the only thing lacking these days is the intelligence of public school bureaucrats.

Corruption in Public Schools Costs Taxpayers, Impedes Reform.  Ongoing news reports from across the country indicate incidents of corruption and mismanagement in the public schools occur frequently, often on a massive scale.  Ignoring the scale of the problem not only costs taxpayers millions of dollars but also hinders school reform efforts, according to New York University law professor Lydia G. Segal.  In her recent book, Battling Corruption in America's Public Schools (Northwestern University Press, 2003), Segal argues, "one impediment to reform that no one is seriously studying in the debate over how to improve public schools is systematic fraud, waste, and abuse."  Her careful documentation of the pervasive corruption and waste in the nation's three largest school districts — New York City, Chicago, and Los Angeles — leaves little doubt the problem merits serious study.

Signature Disappointment:  Last week, Republican delegates objected to a draft platform that bragged about education spending increases worthy of LBJ.  A reference to the Great Society’s architect was dropped in favor of boasting about the Bush administration’s being responsible for the biggest boost in federal education spending in 40 years.  Although the 50 percent increase in federal spending over the past three years is far more than Democrats ever dreamed of committing to Jimmy Carter’s Education Department, they complain that the expensive reform is under-funded.

Education plus money does not equal achievement.  Observation and common sense have told me for years that there is no relationship between the amount of money spent on education and student achievement.  Now a new study to be released July 7 [2004] by the Cato Institute provides irrefutable facts that lead to the same conclusion.

Here is that report:
A Lesson in Waste: Where Does All the Federal Education Money Go?  Despite the huge infusion of federal cash and the near tripling of overall per pupil funding since 1965, national academic performance has not improved.  Math and reading scores have stagnated, graduation rates have flatlined, and researchers have shown numerous billion-dollar federal programs to be failures.

    2002 Federal Education Spending in the Top Seven Departments
    Department of Education:                     $46,324,352,000
    Department of Health and Human Services:     $22,858,490,000
    Department of Agriculture:                   $11,896,064,000
    Department of Labor:                          $6,364,200,000
    Department of Defense:                        $4,749,222,000
    Department of Energy:                         $3,625,124,000
    National Science Foundation:                  $3,230,812,000

Scandals Prevalent In Public Schools:  Recent cases in Milwaukee and Florida involving the misuse of funds have raised questions about how accountable school choice programs are for their use of public tax dollars and charitable donations.  Media accounts of these isolated incidents imply that fraud and fiscal mismanagement are somehow a byproduct of the private sector's involvement in school programs.  Yet the public school sector has persistently been burdened with ongoing incidents of financial mismanagement and cases of large-scale fraud.

Texas Teacher says the State's Education System is Wasteful and Poorly Run .  As an example of typical mismanagement, the Texas teacher points to the huge salaries of the state's education superintendents, some of whom are involved in private consultancies and whose side-line dealings should probably be flagged as conflicts of interest.

The Rise of a Judicial Dictatorship:  [In Washington DC,] integration seems to have proven a false promise and a colossal failure.  While per-pupil expenditures are among the highest in the nation, the test scores of children in these D.C. schools are among the lowest.  In too many, the kids are learning at levels three and four grades below the national norm.

District fails to check students.  D.C. school officials did not verify residency requirements for more than 200 students at schools and facilities receiving city funding during the past two years, violations that potentially cost the District nearly $3 million, according to a report by the D.C. inspector general.

Do Away With Public Schools.  Consider Washington, home of the nation's most devoted government-lovers and, ironically, the city with arguably the worst public schools in the country.  Out of the 100 largest school districts, according to the Washington Post, D.C. ranks third in spending for each pupil ($12,979) but last in spending on instruction.  Fifty-six cents out of every dollar go to administrators who, it's no secret, do a miserable job administrating, even though D.C. schools have been in a state of "reform" for nearly 40 years.

Educational ineptitude:  While teacher ineptitude is neither flattering nor comfortable to confront, confront it we must if we're to do anything about our sorry state of education.

Educational ineptitude II:  The unflattering fact that we must own up to is that many, perhaps most, of those who choose teaching as a profession represent the very bottom of the academic barrel.

Brown v Board of Education, 50 years later:  When a school is found to be in need of improvement, parents, school officials and community organizations must work together to turn things around.  For the past fifty years we've failed to do that.

Brown after 50 Years:  Looking for Equality and Raising Expectations.  Fifty years ago, in May 1954, the Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education got the law right but fell short of the mark.  The May 1896 decision in Plessy v. Ferguson had determined that "separate but equal" was constitutional.  The Brown decision overruled the "separate" part, but made no mention of "equal."  Fifty years later, public education remains unequal, with a persistently wide gap in educational achievement between students of color and white students.

Study Shows Texas Must Focus on Productivity.  A new study by the Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF) challenges assertions that poor student achievement in Texas is the result of inadequate funding and that higher taxes are the best way to improve achievement.  The Texas legislature is considering proposals for changing the state's education funding system.  Any new system of taxation, the TPPF authors contend, should preserve local control and promote parental choice.

Just the Facts:  U.S. Science Achievement.  For more than three decades, the long-term trend studies of the National Assessment of Educational Progress have tracked how well U.S. students perform in science at three age/grade levels.  The trends in test scores for 9-year-olds and 13-year-olds have been relatively flat.  For 17-year-olds, scores dropped sharply during the 1970s and have since risen steadily, though not to the level achieved when the tests were first administered.

Poor education prognosis:  Drs. Abigail and Stephan Thernstrom's new book shows that the government education whites receive is nothing to write home about, but for blacks, it's no less than a disgraceful disaster.

Reforming education against all odds:  Teachers unions recoil from accountability and resent evidence that all is not well, or that whatever is wrong cannot be cured by increased funding of current practices.  But per-pupil spending, adjusted for inflation, is three times what it was 40 years ago, and the pupil-teacher ratio is 40 percent lower, yet reading scores are essentially unchanged.

No Tax Dollar Left Behind:  Dept. of Education statistics indicate increased federal spending doesn't improve education.

More Children Left Behind:  Despite a 20-year record of failure, Title I funding was reauthorized in the No Child Left Behind Act.  Federal spending on education has grown by $11 billion since President Bush took office.

Public Schools:  Spending Money in all the Wrong Places.  Reducing teacher workloads does not improve student achievement.  Between 1950 and 1994, the pupil-teacher ratio in American schools fell by 35%.  Student achievement deteriorated.  The achievement decline is not explained by changes in family structure, poverty, special education, or increasing numbers of immigrants.

Mission Creep:  Larger school districts tend to veer "off task".

Government and Education:  They Don't Mix.  Members of the nonprofit Separation of School & State Alliance advocate the elimination of any government role in K-12 education.  "Government-run schools are built on forced attendance and tax-financing," said Marshall Fritz, former private school principal who founded the group in 1994.  "These coercion-steeped schools are now producing the most violent, illiterate and ignorant generation this nation has ever known.  Only when we end state coercion can educators and families be free enough to improve education."

Why Buying Government Bonds is a Bad Investment for Yourself, and Our Future:  The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) spends 80% of its budget on administrative overhead, while private charities are prosecuted for fraud if more than 20-30% of donations goes for staff.  In California, there are an average of 132 administrators for every 100 teachers in the public schools, while there are only 18 per 100 teachers in the parochial schools.  Average cost per high-school student:  $5200 public vs. $2200 private.

International Scorecard for U.S. Education:  Big Spending, So-So Results.  The latest international scorecard for education looks to be little changed in one respect:  The United States continues to be at or very near the top in level of spending on education.  At the same time, the U.S. is falling in the international standings of student performance.

Who Says Government Programs Have to Work?  The list of programs that fail, whose unintended consequences exacerbate problems, simply boggles the mind.  Take the recently expanded Title I.  Secretary of Education Rod Paige once said, "After spending $125 billion … over 25 years, we have virtually nothing to show for it.  Fewer than a third of fourth-graders can read at grade level."

College Seniors No More Knowledgeable Than 1950s High School Grads:  The college seniors of today have no better grasp of general knowledge than the high school graduates of almost half a century ago, according to the results of a new study.

Fiddling whilst Rome burns:  If one didn't know better, one would think that Washington's predominantly black public school system was being run by the grand dragon of the Ku Klux Klan, hell-bent on a mission to sabotage black academic excellence.  Instead, it's a system being run by blacks for blacks.

"School Days, School Days, Dear Old Golden Rule Days…":  Every time you turn around these days, you read or hear about how deplorable the state of public education is in the United States.  Yet, we continue to seem to have a singular answer… "throw more money at it".  We've been doing that for years now and the results just aren't there.  Our young people are exiting the educational system without being able to perform basic tasks.  And, we just keep throwing more money at the problem.

What Should We Expect from Smaller Classes?  In a thoughtful review of studies of class size and academic performance in last November's Scientific American, Ronald G. Ehrenberg and colleagues point out class-size reduction has one obvious drawback:  "It costs plenty."  They note the state of California alone has spent more than $1.5 billion annually over the past several years to reduce class sizes to 20 or fewer in kindergarten through third grade …with only a "tiny effect."

The Education Bill:  The compromise education bill just passed by Congress and signed into law by President Bush provided some good political theater and even a little humor, with the president embracing Ted Kennedy.  But what did it do for American education?

Education Fraud in Philadelphia:  Today's education expenditures are higher than in earlier periods, when there was higher academic achievement.  In fact, if anything, there's a negative correlation between education expenditures and academic achievement.

More Money for Education, Lots More Money:  The education bill President Bush signed into law Tuesday [1/8/2002] authorizes $26.5 billion to be spent in the current fiscal year on kindergarten through 12th grade programs.  That's $8 billion more than what was budgeted a year ago for education and $4 billion more than what the president originally wanted to spend on the new package.

Investing in Public Education: Does It Add Up?  In reality, tuition at many parochial and other low-budget private schools will in fact be covered by half of what the public schools spend per pupil in many communities.

Less Government, Not More, Is the Key to Academic Achievement and Accountability.  Question:  What does the state of Michigan call schools with 37, 46, or 48 percent of their students receiving passing composite scores on the MEAP exam?  Answer:  award-winning schools.

Schoolhouse Crock:  Why George W. Bush’s education reforms won’t change anything.  President Bush has proposed to increase the Department of Education's budget by 11 percent, to $44.5 billion.  Assuming his budget is passed as is, Title I, which continues to be the largest single item in the federal education budget, would spend approximately $10 billion for a program that has consistently failed to produce any measurable results for close to four decades.

Free Lunch:  Title I's formula for determining aid -- and its recipe for fraud:  Individual schools receive Title I funding based on the percentage of students that are eligible for the federally subsidized free-lunch program.  Though the lunch program is designed to provide food to low-income students who might otherwise go hungry, its guidelines do not require schools to verify the parental income of students who enroll.  The process to qualify for a free lunch comes down to parents self-reporting their income on a form that is turned in to their local school.  Federal free-lunch program administrators argue that the program has little potential for abuse because "the worst that happens is a kid gets a free lunch."

How Bad Is the Education Bill?  As the Senate completes its blunting of President Bush's once-bold plan to overhaul the federal role in elementary-secondary education, most of the final decisions await a House-Senate conference committee.  But the measure's outlines are clear and, for the most part, dismaying.  There will be no real school choice or empowering of parents.  There will be no true flexibility for change-minded states to channel their federal education dollars into reforms of their own devising.  Few of today's hundreds of narrow "categorical" programs will be merged.  There will, in fact, be no fundamental overhaul of this LBJ-era legislation, despite decades of evidence of its failure.  But there will definitely be a whopping price tag, as billions of additional dollars are attached to these meager reforms.

Up from Mediocrity:  Giving parents the financial reins is the key to accountability in education.  For too long, the establishment has passed the buck when students fail, and generations of children have paid the price.  Since 1970, student achievement has stagnated or declined, despite a two-fold increase in spending, smaller class sizes and improved teacher salaries.

School Funding:  Lack of Money or Lack of Money Management?

Put a stake through its heart; don't fund the federal education system.  There are now seven different versions of H.R. 1, a bill that would spend $5 billion more on the same failed system!  This is a noxious piece of legislation that should be scrapped along with the entire US Department of Education.  The reason for this is that the Department is the reason for the failure of our schools.

In England:
Thank Marx for our children's low marks.  Isn't it time the lies stopped, and the Government owned up to the severe failings of the education system?  This is where the Marxist drivel taught in teacher training colleges for the past 40 years or so has got us.  The odd stand has been made against this poison — notably by Chris Woodhead when he was chief inspector of schools — but little impact has been made.  In fact, just as the Government is having to create all these training places because its school system has failed, it continues to seek to do ever more damage.

In Scotland:
Education chief fails spelling test.  A senior education leader in charge of efforts to improve children's literacy has been left embarrassed after he sent out a letter containing glaring spelling mistakes.

Cooking the Books at EducationThe sad truth, which has escaped the attention of most of the major media, is that there is no real guarantee that any of this money will actually get to the students that may need it.  This is because the Department of Education has been so mismanaged that it can't account for the money it is spending.

Anti-choice Education Bill Clears Last Hurdle:  The legislation authorizes unprecedented spending on education - more than $15 billion for "disadvantaged" schools alone next year as compared to around $8 billion this year.

Chart: Spending versus test scores

Increased school spending reduces literacy:  If we built fewer government schools, that would increase pressure on parents to either home-school or get their kids into private schools, which would rescue more millions of souls from the enervating government youth indoctrination camps.

  Chart: Spending versus test scores



Back to Education issues.
Back to the Home page.

Bookmark and Share

Custom counter developed in-house

Document location http://www.akdart.com/edu4.html
Updated November 19, 2014.

©2014 by Andrew K. Dart