Schools never have enough money, and again today, there are a number of school funding fights underway
Funding Fights Vex School Districts
What could be eating up all the funds flowing into public schools?
Lots more below.
"Lawmakers in some states have a daunting homework assignment over their summer break: to find hundreds of millions of dollars to make sure the next school year can start on time.
Stung by lower tax revenue and nearing the end of the regular legislative sessions, politicians and school administrators in Kansas, Illinois and some other Midwestern states are scrambling to firm up financial packages that would keep some educational programs running through the summer, and ensure that classrooms open again in the fall."
From 1950 to 2009 students and public school personnel have grown at disparate rates. Students grew by 96%, total school personnel grew by 386%, teachers grew by 252%, and administration and staff grew by 702%.
The School Staffing Surge
The public school pupil teacher ratio has fallen dramatically over time:
Public and private elementary and secondary teachers, enrollment, pupil/teacher ratios, and new teacher hires: Selected years, fall 1955 through fall 2025
The increase in teacher numbers are clearly not an artifact but a real increase resulting in greatly lowered pupil/teacher ratios.
Between 1992 and 2008 students NAEP reading scores fell slightly from 288 to 284, at the same time NAEP math scores remained the same at 305. The School Staffing Surge
To compound the problem although student achievement was flat, per student expenditures rose.
Spending versus Academic Achievement
Between 1950 and the present we have increase the total number of students by 96%, the total number of teachers by 252%, but the total number of administrators by 702%. Pupil/teacher ratios declined substantially at the same time. These changes have brought zero increases in academic achievement, but resulted in a more than doubling in cost in constant dollars.
Our school districts are failing our students. We have far more teachers today, but no better results. We have far more administrators and again no better results. We have far lower pupil/teacher ratios but again no better results. All of this has driven costs dramatically higher.
I don't know about you, but the "funding fight vexing school districts" is not vexing at all. The first problem is that schools today have 7X too many administrators. These states could simply mandate that the districts return to administration levels of an earlier time, say 1980. And the reduction should not be head count, but by proportion of the total district payroll to administrator payroll in 1980, then simply replicate that ratio today. If that is insufficient to solve the problem, the districts should reduce teaching staff, since teaching staff is today 252% greater than in the past, and yet student achievement is stagnant.
While all of this is undoubtedly true, it will not solve this problem. Oh it would solve the problem for a while, but the problem would soon return, and quickly return to the same levels as before. This is because we have accepted the notion that there is little value in the education, the value is in the degree. Because of this, we implicitly desire the degree/credential, and have little interest in the underlying education. The result is we only care about our children receiving the credential. If they are smart enough, and diligent enough to actually learn something, and show that through some additional academic achievements, great! Otherwise just give them the credential, and let them move on to the next credentialing station, college.
I think that Sir Ken Robinson is on to the reason. We retain an education system which is completely outdated, from the basic structure, to the form, and down to the essentials of the education itself, our educational system is built for a different time, a different people, with different goals, dreams, and desires. Our current educational system will simply not move us to where we wish to go, and we know it.
The solution is change, but we are too conservative to allow change, after all change might be bad and our children might be educationally injured. Plus, the pressure from the school district, union teacher, administrator, and staff is to leave everything alone, don't rock the boat.
I will leave you in Sir Ken Robinson's very capable, and funny care. Sir Ken is brilliant, you can tell by his posh British accent. Enjoy!