July 29, 2008

Today's Best Education Paragraph

From Jay Greene:

Besides neither being unfunded nor a mandate, the argument that NCLB is an unfunded mandate is especially odd because it makes one wonder what all of the funding that schools received before NCLB was for. It’s as if the unfunded mandate crowd is saying: “The $10,000 per pupil we already get just pays for warehousing. If you actually want us to educate kids, that’ll cost ya extra.” Remember, that NCLB just asks states to establish and meet their own goals. Didn’t they have goals before NCLB?

Oh, we were supposed to educate them as well with that money?


Anonymous said...

My gut has always been to oppose NCLB, but that paragraph is completely delicious.

dweir said...

Oh, we were supposed to educate them as well with that money?

Every year, the "leadership team" from our district goes on a retreat to an area hotel. There these 40 or so administrators meet to plan out the next year, and have three catered meals a day paid for courtesy of the Title II Part A Teacher Quality grant.

MA allows up to 15% of this particular grant to be spent on discretionary items such as off-site conferences.

I can only imagine what this discretionary amount pays for in the larger districts.

ed notes online said...

Oh, those poor suckers in places like Scarsdale who spend over $20,000 per student and in the elite private schools where they spend $30,000, mainly for low class sizes. If they would only warehouse their kids too at a measly $10,000 per, we could have equality.

And in NYC where we have a "reform" effort that hands IBM $80 million for a system that doesn't work and instead of putting money directly into the classroom, spend millions on principal academies and on merit pay schemes, just a few points d-edreckoning seems to pass by.

Tracy W said...

Oh, those poor suckers in places like Scarsdale who spend over $20,000 per student

And how well do they do at educating kids from disadvantaged backgrounds?

I strongly expect that all the good results of the Scarsdale schools are due to the quality of their students, and with their $20,000 a year, they would do no better at educating a bunch of poor kids from the inner-city than a typical inner city school. In fact, I expect they would do worse.

in the elite private schools where they spend $30,000, mainly for low class sizes.

I strongly suspect that the main advantages of elite private schools are:
- having your kids' peer group being other rich people's kids
- a very good signal that you can afford to spend $30,000 per year per kid. Like spending $200,000 on a sports car.

I've never seen any data that private elite schools actually provide a better education once you control for the quality of the kids who tend to attend them.

Anonymous said...

tracy w

we have a child at private school and I can tell you that there is little advantage academically

many private schools achieve results by redshirting, cherry-picking (through entrance exams) and, when things don't work out, the parents can hire tutors

money hides problems

Anonymous said...

it's so much easier to show off the fancy computer and robotics lab, the tennis courts and the difference in student behavior and uniform. That's where all the money is going.


dweir said...

@ed notes
NYC's FY09 public education budget is $21B. With 1.1M students in the system, that's an expenditure of over $19,000 per pupil.

Disclosure: I am an IBM employee.

$80M over five years represents less than 1/20 of 1% of the annual school budget. Yet, the system will provide educators with information they need to do their job and parents with information they need to help their children.

What did you mean specifically when you say the system "doesn't work"?

What specifically would you have done with that money and what results would you have seen for that investment?

Anonymous said...

Bloggers at D-Ed Reckoning, you can feel free to delete this if you feel it's necessary, but I sent an email yesterday and haven't gotten any response yet. This is time sensitive so I cannot wait long for a response.

Basically I am trying to win a contest at ideablob.com so I can get my business in education started.

The place to vote is here: http://ideablob.com/ideas/2875-Bronze-Where-the-Least-Motivat

They don't allow you to describe much detail there, so I added this blog to better explain things: http://bronzeinc.wordpress.com/

I urge people to look at the explanation page before dismissing the idea as just another after school program. If D-Ed Reckoning can help me by making an official announcement of my entry into the contest, I would really appreciate it. Thanks!

CrypticLife said...


Looks like an interesting idea, and it's great to see you're paying attention to international standards and the need for practice. I see you cite the Gering school district and DI as well.

I won't be able to vote until later this evening, but I'll cast it assuming the deadline hasn't passed.

Anonymous said...

Didn’t they have goals before NCLB?

1. Provide a constitutionally adequate education which prepares students for citizenship in a representative democracy.
2. Remediate the effects of past discrimination.
3. Address the education provisions of the International Convention for Eliminating All Forms of Racial Discrimination.
4. Address the asserted "compelling governmental interest in educating all of our children to function effectively in a multiracial, democratic society and realize their full intellectual and academic potential"

In fact, my state held that NCLB was not a burden beyond the state's constitutional obligations: "We were already doing these things."