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Robert Winner


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Is there a correlation between per student spending and educational results.

Experts agree that the drop in educational spending per student was driven more by harsh economic realities rather than ideological preferences. In the coming years more education funding is likely to be allocated to teacher pensions and health care benefits, potentially leaving less for classroom instruction.

Paul E. Peterson, director of Harvard University’s program on education policy and governance, said his data has shown a very small positive correlation between how much is spent per student and how well they do.

“It’s costing us a lot more, but are we getting anything out of it? That’s the question,” he said.

Was education more effective prior to President Carter making Ed a Cabnet Post and the money flowing to Washington instead of the districts and the students?


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  • Jun 22 2013: The way that the money is currently distributed and used for education there is very little correlation between the amount of money spent on each student and the opportunities for success that the student will have. Much of the money for education now goes towards technological advancements for the classroom which is indeed important however, it does not need to be excessive and it certainly does not need to be a priority. Many of the spending going on in public schools ends up being extremely wasteful because of the restrictions placed upon the ways in in what time period it can be spent.

    The best way to improve education through spending would be to use that money to be able to offer teachers a higher salary so that there could be enough money to hire only the most qualified people to educate our youth.
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      Jun 22 2013: Madelyn, I am not going to disagree with you but for the sake of discussion .... If we could agree that the power in education is the textbook writers and the test developers ... then investing the money in teachers raises may not be the best way to improve education. To support this I submit that the options have been taken away from the teachers and a strict adherence to a programed daily schedule provided by the textbook publisher is a requirement to cover the items necessary to excell on the high stakes tests that are required. So we teach the test.

      Even while the teachers are NOT getting raises and even being layed off .... administrators are getting raises and perks. State and federal mandates determine the direction and funding. STEM is the ONLY thing being considered and at the expense of other areas. The reason being that the USA was blown away in the PISA exams and we suffered a national brused EGO. This is a bandage where a tourniquet is required. To resolve the existing problems a total evaluation of the educational system must take place. After which a "best" direction is decided upon the best use of existing funds can be redirected.

      None of this can occur under the current system of education being driven from the top (federal level). Of all the decision makers in education .... none are teachers .... they are Secretary of ED, senators, representatives, etc .... lawyers and politicians. Just because they went to school does not make them teachers or experts in the field.

      I agree with you that money does not ensure success.

      Sorry for the soapbox .... I wish you well. Bob.
      • Jun 22 2013: Bob,
        I agree with you that it is a waste of taxpayers money (from both the school district tax and federal tax for the Dept of Ed) on those ed administrative agencies lavish pay and the wasted use of ed funding to schools and the teaching materials.
        I have a serious misgiving on the "text writers and test developers" in the current system. As you probably heard that the governments are gradually taking over most of the textbook writing as well as the course schedule for students in K-12 grades. Recently there has been a "common core" program that the ed administration invited a group of "experts" to write teaching materials for most grades and all the participating states to adopt the common core materials as the textbooks for the students. By that setup, the test developers would be bound by this core contents to develop the test questions. In other word, now the governments (both federal and states) are going to dictate WHAT TO TEACH AND HOW TO TEST" for most of the students. Just recently, the authority also decided to delay the teaching of Algebra I to 9th grade instead the 8th for all schools.
        The standards of 'how well the students do" actually had a dual test scores. One is the tests given by the U. S. Ed Authority here which would be made according what are taught in our government defined education level here. The other is, of course, the PISA tests for the international standard. So our internal test might show some "improvement" throughout the recent years. The results from the PISA test have been dismal.
        We could also compare the teachers' pay between S. Korea and the U. S. The Korean teachers are paid slightly better than that of the US counter part, but they have slightly higher # of students per class, so that the cost of teachers is probably quite even. However, the indirect expense on the bureaucratic administrative functions here is at least twice as much as for the Koreans. The teachers there have much more respect from the students as well.
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          Jun 22 2013: Arne Duncan makes no pretense about the socialization of the education system. For 5 years he has said what he wants and now through Core and STEM as the spears he is accompl;ishing the goal of socialization. I do defend that CURRENTLY the text publishers and the test developers tell the system where we are going and how. The feds want tht exclusive power .... I am not for sure either is a good idea.

          South Korea has always scored well in head to head testing .. true. They are well compensated ... true. However, in the #1 country Singapore the teachers are on a government scale ... they also have student respect and parental support ... the pay there is not so sterling.

          We are on the same page.

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