Tuesday, July 30

The state of public education in America


American taxpayers spend $600 billion per year on basic K-12 education.

That works out to an average of about $11,000 per-pupil—an all-time high, and nearly four times more (after adjusting for the effects of inflation) than in 1961.

How is this working out for us?

In Detroit 47 percent of the adults are functionally illiterate.

77 percent of 8th-graders were rated "below basic" on the National Assessment of Education Progress.

And this wonderful outcome costs a mere $11,000 per student.

But that's just the national average.  Out here in Flyover Country it's quite a bit less, while in the big cities it's more.

A LOT more.

The record for the highest amount spent--naturally--is Washington, DC., where the public schools spend $29,400 of taxpayer funds per student per year on elementary and high-school education.

That's far more than the yearly cost of college out here in flyover country.  In fact that's about what it costs an undergraduate to study at Harvard.

So what kind of results do taxpayers get for this enormous annual expenditure?  Other than huge salaries for a few hundred really bad administrators, the actual educational results are about what you think:  jack-shit.

I'm not blaming teachers for this--at least not most of 'em.  Most teachers (other than union firebrands) are at the bottom of the organizational chart and can no more change things than a conservative freshman congressman from a blue state.

Rather, the problems are caused by a) teachers' unions, and b) "administrators"--the educational equivalent of bureaucrats; non-teaching types.  In the last 40 years or so the number of these positions has exploded, along with their salaries.  Of course this isn't unique to the education bureaucracy but happens to all bloated organizations that don't have any significant competetion.

A third factor is political correctness--the utterly goofy notion that "you just can't do or say" X, because someone's feelings would be hurt.  Or because it would make you intolerant.  Or similar liberal bullshit.

Folks, reality can be a stone-cold bitch at times.  If some thug-wannabe sitting in a classroom is constantly making it impossible to teach and learn, what kind of goofy thinking says Oh, it wouldn't be right to cause the poor dear any distress by kicking his ass out of school--better to sacrifice the education of the other 30 kids in the class.

Policies like that don't come from rank-and-file classroom teachers--who presumably would rather teach students than deal with disruptive jerks.

So 40-some years after teachers' unions and political correctness took over, what have we gotten?  A whole bunch of kids who are functionally illiterate.  Reams of adults who can't do simple math.  Voters who will believe that a politician who implies that everyone can get benefits and no one will have to pay for them is a great thinker.

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