Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Schools Wasting Money and Failing Our Kids

The United States spends more money per student than any other country on the entire planet. Our children should be scoring the highest, getting the best grades, and having the brightest futures. That would be true if all of that money was well spent, and if money was the only thing that mattered.

The documentary, The Cartel, demonstrates just how poorly that money is spent, and just how horrifically those situations are affecting the children of the United States. Even though we as a nation are spending more than any other, we are ranked below 23 other countries in terms of proficiency and test scores for our students. Director Bob Bowdon shows the stark truth when it comes to the financial failures of American education.

Do American Students Make the Grade?

The Nation’s Report Card (NAEP) shows startling numbers for our children’s education and achievement (or lack thereof). If you go to this site you will see the skewed representation of the test results for each state. Bar and line graphs are given for various achievements, but if you look close enough you can see that while the bars might reach the top of the graph, perhaps in the Science section for 4th graders in Florida, the top of the bar graph only goes to 160. The problem? The total score possible for this section is 300! This example is true for every state where numbers are available.

According to Bowdon’s research, only 37% of high school seniors in the United States can read and write at or above an 8th grade level. Proficiency in math and reading on a national average is well below 50%. The NAEP website touts the claim “Mathematics scores for 9- and 13-year-olds higher than in all previous assessment years.” While this might sound promising and as if the children are doing remarkably well, the reality is that in 1973, the average score was 219 and in 2008 the average score was 243. Yes – this is an increase, however, once again, these test scores are out of a total 500 points – we’re not even half-way there, yet.

So – do American students make the grade? No -which means we as a nation that is responsible for the education and future of our children are not making the grade, either.

What About the Financing of Education?

We are the leading spender on education per student in the world. Since money obviously can’t buy good test scores, let’s take a look at where all of this money, our money, is going. The Cartel took the great state of New Jersey to spearhead the look at the failing education spending programs in our country.

  • The state of New Jersey leads the country in education spending, yet in 2007 only 39% of the students from here were proficient in reading, and just 40% in math.
  • In 2007 the average teacher’s salary was $55,000, but each classroom incurred $258,000 in overhead fees (and we aren’t talking about schools with state of the art technology).
  • The Camden school district was investigated for falsifying test scores so that the achievements of students would come under less scrutiny.
  • School districts in NJ have been investigated for fraud, theft, and other illegal and inappropriate uses of educational funding.
  • Phantom salaries were paid to phantom teachers in NJ – just one of many corrupt examples of lost money.
  • One teacher admitted that after 17 years of teaching, he was only doing so with a reading level of 3rd or 4th grade, and that he had taken numerous shortcuts in his role of teacher in order to keep his job.

While these instances shown in The Cartel are definitely dramatic, it is not as if New Jersey is an island floating in a country of amazing and upstanding educational practices. One of the most dangerous things we are doing as a nation is letting teachers’ unions have so much control over the future of our children.

  • Tenure protects teachers beyond a reasonable doubt, and protects bad teachers as equally as amazing ones.
  • Teacher records are sealed. A teacher “resigning” after allegations of misconduct can move to another district and apply for a new job with no mention of past behaviors.
  • School districts cannot often afford the litigation expenses involved with attempting to remove poor performing (or even illegally or inappropriately behaving) teachers.

Something has to change in order for the children in our country to receive quality educations. It doesn’t require more money, or even more testing. It requires taking away the ability of school districts and the teachers’ union to misuse funds, keep bad teachers, and turn the other way when students are failing. They are failing. One look at the real numbers shows that not half of our children are adequately educated to compete in a global setting. But we are the ones failing the kids. We need to do something different, something better, if we truly want something better for our kids.

The Cartel might be one of the most depressing documentaries you will watch on modern education, but it is well worth the time.

Related posts:

  1. Is Your Children’s School Failing Them?
  2. Teach Your Child to Manage Money
  3. Weapons Of Mass Instruction: Why Schools Suck!

View full post on Parenting Tips For Raising Successful Kids |

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