We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Conservatives will take this as evidence that education is bad.
It is actually stunning evidence for genetics underlying school-type intelligence and achievement. The money is going to other things, such as character development and increased extra-curriculars, which we value, but not at this cost.
When it's your kid in school you do value extra-curriculars at a ridiculous rate, however. It becomes an exercise in "where do you draw the line?" If baseball is funded, why not tennis? If band is funded, why not orchestra? Just in the last ten years bowling, lacrosse, and field hockey have been added, and crew is pushing to get in.
Assistant Village Idiot
There is also Pournelle's Law. Pournelle's Iron Law of Bureaucracy states that in any bureaucratic organization there will be two kinds of people":
First, there will be those who are devoted to the goals of the organization. Examples are dedicated classroom teachers in an educational bureaucracy, many of the engineers and launch technicians and scientists at NASA, even some agricultural scientists and advisors in the former Soviet Union collective farming administration.
Secondly, there will be those dedicated to the organization itself. Examples are many of the administrators in the education system, many professors of education, many teachers union officials, much of the NASA headquarters staff, etc.
The Iron Law states that in every case the second group will gain and keep control of the organization. It will write the rules, and control promotions within the organization.
Assistant Village Idiot
Excellent insight - and why I visit Maggie's Farm. Will be spending more time looking into Pournelle's Iron Law of Bureaucracy. Thanks! Bull
Like so many things, I'm not sure any amount of money we would ever spend would be enough. There's always someone saying "If we only had a little more, we could do..." And talk about a shitty bang for your buck; I try to teach my own kids about return-on-investment, public education would never be the pro-model.
And the teacher pay thing, which is always blowing up, why? I'm pretty sure teachers know what their prospective pay going in is, so why so much surprise. I looked at pay range for Indiana teachers, not incredible, but $46-66K per annum isn't bad. Especially with 2 months off in summer, a week in fall and spring, 3 days at Thanksgiving, and 2 weeks at Christmas, plus 2 personal and 10 sick days. Sounds pretty good to me.
I'm swimming upstream here, but I really don't get the need for public tax support for sports teams. You don't need Nobel prize winners to teach youngsters how to read and cipher, just reasonably competent people with a solid basic education, and a school with sane disciplinary procedures. Not a gulag, but a place where anyone physically disruptive or dangerous can be kicked out so everybody else can get some work done. Get the basic 3 R's into all the kids, then figure out who can and will learn on a higher level and quit wasting their time.
The cure for these trends is a voucher system to fund the student and not the school. Public monopolies work to benefit the monopoly employees and not the client. Look at the sad state of state employee pensions to observe that fact.
In 1970, when I was in school, there were no special education students in the building. When I was in high school, there were some, in the basement of the school with a separate entrance. We never saw them. They were not required to take any exams with the rest of the student body. I think most SPED kids were still immediately made wards of the state when they were born because one never saw them. 50 years later, SPED kids are mainstreamed and required to pass high stakes state exams. These kids require help from SPED teachers, TAs, educational helpers, social/emotional support personnel, special bussing, medical helpers, security, etc. These people cost money. Their test grades and added expense are factored into this disappointing graph. However, the failure to mention it is sloppy and unfair. In addition, there was no internal suspension room or any other time-out rooms in the building. If you were sent to the office, someone would paddle you and you were sent back to class. If you were really bad, you were expelled. The laws are different now. The costs of implementing these laws must be factored into any calculations.