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Robert Winner


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Why does US education cost so much and still lacks a quality student

All of these figures are from the internet and only reflect Arizona.

1,077,831 students ... 51,947 teachers ... and spend $7,931 per child .... average pay is $44,642 for 180 days per year = $41 per hour ... budget request $42,339,949

With the info from above I multiplied the # students and cost per child and came up with 8,554,744,647 ... I cannot make any numbers match anywhere.

I knew that the Goldwater Institute looked into this not long ago ... they said there are three sets of books and none agree with the other.

We have $25 million from Race to the Top grant and $125,000 per year (grant) for four years to train teachers in the new Partnership for Assement of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC). State and county training departments chage $100 per teacher to train them from the district. The district is not funded for this and not reimburssed although there is $26 million available and "earmarked" for training.

As hard as I try and even with help from the local school budget director I cannot make any of the figures "add up"

To me, it has become clear why our students have problems in math ... the federal and state education departments, legislators, unions, and the millions of hanger-on organizations all contribute to the "math madness" of the education system.

As "owners" of the public education system we must become more involved in the funding and operation of the system. This is a billion dollar system that we all gripe about and shake our heads but fail to question or get involved.

How can we "the owners" be better informed, involved, and effect change?


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  • Jan 13 2013: As I can not reply below your comment I will respond here.

    PISA covers topics of math reading, and science at a level that they think is appropriate. If you don't focus heavily on test-taking, then you are at a disadvantage to this test. If you don't track in education, at the level the test expects, then you don't do well on the test. If you don't focus heavily on "right" answers and focus more on problem solving and creativity, then you don't do well on this test. Our top students still compete head to head with the best in the world.

    If you wish to speak about other countries "after-school" opportunities, then look at most of the world, that doesn't provide activities through the school. Many countries, have after-school academic programs, such as cram schools and hagwons, that students pay to attend, after everything else, to improve their grade and remain competitive. Including, starting before kindergarten to get into the right school.

    As for students in poverty, you misunderstood my thought. Look at current research. The greatest indicator of academic challenges is the level of poverty. Not that these students are "dumb", but that they are struggling to survive and education is last on their minds. This directly impacts the educators ability to teach them and their academic success, more so than race and gender.

    Special education funds do come from other pots. However, they are included in the basic numbers of students, because they are students. Other countries don't include them in their schools.

    I would ask you to clearly define what a "quality student" is. If we are not speaking the same language regarding a "quality" student, then this argument is circular with no defined objective.

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