What do you do when your pet school is getting a failing grade?
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida’s education commissioner resigned Thursday amid allegations that he changed the grade of a charter school run by a major Republican donor during his previous job as Indiana’s school chief.
Tony Bennett announced his immediate resignation at a news conference, saying that he while he did nothing wrong he didn’t want to be a distraction to Gov. Rick Scott’s efforts to overhaul Florida’s education system. Emails published by The Associated Press this week show that Bennett and his Indiana staff scrambled last fall to ensure Christel DeHaan’s school received an A, despite poor 10th-grade algebra scores that initially earned it a C.
Bennett denies having done anything improper, but that’s not really the point. The point is that we have this problem in the first place — schools that are funded with ever-increasing amounts of money and are effectively a black hole for those funds, producing entirely-unacceptable outcomes.
The usual screed is that we must continue to spend more and more.
May I ask why?
The average per-pupil cost in this area is around $8,000. If there are 25 students in a classroom then there’s $200,000 in that classroom in the form of funds.
Why does it cost $200,000?
The usual hue and cry is that teachers are “underpaid.” But $200,000 is far more than they’re paid. Let’s assume the average teacher’s fully-laden cost of employment is $75,000 — $50k for the teacher and another $25,000 for retirement and other benefits along with imputed costs such as employment taxes, all fully funded (that is, no games with the pensions.)
Ok, where’s the rest go?
The average pupil needs a desk and about 10 square feet of space. Let’s give the teacher 200 square feet more for his or her desk. Add a chalkboard.
So each classroom is 450 square feet. Are you really going to tell me we can’t buy that for $10/square foot on an annual basis? Because you most-certainly can for an office, and it’ll be decent space too, with shared bathrooms and similar. Remember, we don’t need posh — just serviceable.
Now we’re up to about $80,000.
I’ll add in a decent library, a place to throw some basketballs and a lunchroom. We’ll imputeanother $5,000 per classroom, per year, for those, more than doubling the classroom expense. Remember that this is all shared space and each student only uses them for a tiny fraction of his time in the school.
Where is the rest — more than double that $85,000 per classroom that is actually spent — going?
I’ll tell you where it’s going. It’s being siphoned off by people who have exactly nothing to do with the educational process, by forced “contributions” from the school budget to things like football stadiums, and to outrageously lavish nonsense like smartboards, iPADs for the kids and similar BS.
If anyone could make the argument that the standard “stand and deliver” lecture style teaching of the basics of language, arithmetic, science and literature that took place in the 1940s, 50s and 60s was replaced and supplanted and we got better results as a consequence I might be willing to listen.
But you can’t make that argument.
Remember that “stand and deliver” put men on the moon, brought us the calculator, personal computer and in fact virtually all of what we enjoy today.
In Chicago when I ran my Internet company ninety percent of the people who applied for entry-level jobs at my company and had “diplomas” were unable to calculate using a pencil and paper the sales tax on an item and make change for a $20 when offered as payment for same. That same ninety percent were unable to write a single-paragraph business letter displaying the proper placement of the address block, a salutation, proper grammar and spelling in telling a customer that their service was interrupted for non-payment of their bill, politely asking for same.
I had a lateral file four-high and nearly 10′ long of failed applicants tests — I kept every single one as a defense against being accused of “racism” or some other sort of similar crap.
Is it better today? Go into a store and watch what happens when the computer fails to work. You’re odds on that the clerk cannot make change for your tendered cash and God help you if there is sales tax to be computed with a paper and pencil.
Local and state governments continue to tell us that we must “fund” education. I say to them that we should instead repeal the State Constitutional mandate for a “Free public education” beyond the 5th grade since it is proved beyond any reasonable doubt that the state and county governments are incapable of providing that education at a credible level of performance irrespective of how much money is thrown at the problem.
Today if you can read you can learn anything. The prevalence of public libraries with computer terminals on the Internet means that anyone who gives a damn can, with a bit of effort, learn nearly anything they wish, whether it be literature, mathematics, computer programming or almost anything else. There is no longer a colorable claim that a school building is either necessary or useful for kids to learn what’s necessary to find one’s way to a productive career. The cost of such education?
Further, forcing those who don’t give a damn to show up along with those who do destroys the educational environment and makes it nearly impossible for those who want to be there and learn to do so. Add sex, drugs and violence to the mixture and I wouldn’t be shocked if more of the kids know how to cut an eight-ball of cocaine than to compute the sales tax on a $14 item and make change for $20 on that sale.
It is certainly true that some students don’t give a damn and that destruction of the family is part of the problem too. But that doesn’t matter, in the end — what matters is whether the alleged “investment” is in fact worth the money spent or whether we are*****ing money down a hole, fostering an entitlement culture of youth who are passed despite not learning the material, who then go on to claim to have a “diploma” but cannot perform four-function arithmetic without a computer and cannot write a paragraph containing coherent sentences with articles, nouns, verbs, adjectives and direct objects.
At the same time we’re producing yet another “protected class” of so-called “professionals” who are not held accountable for their failure to produce actual results and they’re allowed to waste more than half of the necessary resource reasonably required to produce those results in the process, feathering nests up and down the line in the process.
Yet we still award these “students” so-called “diplomas” and claim they’re fit to go out into the workplace and earn a living for themselves.
Doing exactly what, beyond dealing drugs and shooting one another, may I ask?