Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Achievement

As Rocket in the Bocket pointed out yesterday, the status of education in our state is frustrating. The inequality between highly funded districts and underfunded ones is puzzling. It notes,
A great example is education and its systemic effects can be seen right here in Chicagoland. Take for instance the college success rate of students from New Trier High School in Winnetka, Illinois, versus public schools in the Chicago Public School system. Fascinatingly, it is as hard to fail at New Trier as it is to succeed in the Chicago Public Schools. At New Trier, approximately 95% of students go on to a four-year bachelor program. Another 3% go to two-year colleges. (see New Trier Profile). Contrastingly, at the Chicago Public Schools, only 6% of students (only 3% for African-Americans and Latinos) will go on to earn a college bachelor’s degree by the age of 25. (see Chicago Tribune). 27% of Chicago Public School students will go to a four-year college, but the majority of them will fail.
The need for a tax swap such that schools are funded via sales or income tax evenly distributed across the state rather than property tax by district is overwhelming. I cannot understand why this initiative has continued to fail to gain momentum.

Could it be that the continuing achievement gaps and especially the expanding plight of the young African-American male are largely linked to inequitable funding? Or are other factors the root cause?

15 comments:

Oneway said...

"That's not surprising results for a poll question," said Brad Coker, Mason-Dixon's managing director. "There's nothing more popular than schools. But history has shown that when these sorts of things get put on a ballot and people have to vote to raise their taxes, they generally don't."

-from the Chicago Tribune article on the voters poll.

Most people feel the government squeezes enough money out of them, with nothing to show for it. More money won't fix public education.

Westy said...

Most people feel the government squeezes enough money out of them, with nothing to show for it. More money won't fix public education.
Of course people aren't going to vote for taxes. However, a sales tax would put their purchasing in control of what they're taxed.
You say more money won't fix public education. How do we know this? When have schools failed when they get the highest per student funding in the state? I'd sure like to try fielding a solid educational plan in the city with funding as opposed to without. To say schools will fail even with more money without ever offering more money to see if that's the case is not fair.

Oneway said...

It sure is easy to spend other people's money, but that can't fix an inherently flawed system. Public education presents a system in which teachers are not accountable to parents, but to administrators. Administrators are not accountable to parents, but to board members, and so on...

In public education, the parent has virtually no choice, and thereby, no voice. The NEA ensures that the education market is monopolized by public schools, leaving parents with: the local public school, the expensive private school, home school, or move to an area with better public schools.

Westy said...

...inherently flawed system...
...better public schools.

So if it is as flawed as you say, how do the good schools happen? I'm sure the parents in Winnetka are very happy to send their child to the 'flawed' school that New Trier is.
I think the point here is not that public schools are perfect, but how do we turn poor schools into "better" ones? Money seems to be important.

Oneway said...

--Money seems to be important.--

"I've looked at the data, and if someone asked me today how much it costs to educate a child, I have no clue," admits CPS Budget Director Pedro Martinez

--...but how do we turn poor schools into "better" ones?--

Competition would help greatly, but the culture is the key.

My parents immigrated 8,000 miles so I could grow up in the U.S., and not because the schools in India were deficient.

Families should move out of the 'hood.

Westy said...

"I've looked at the data, and if someone asked me today how much it costs to educate a child, I have no clue."
I applaud his honesty. This is exactly the question. It's hard to say. And certainly, some districts will be able to build in efficiencies others don't. I think this is exactly my point, though. I'd proffer to say that the per student spending necessary to provide good education is much closer to what New Trier spends than Chicago is able to.

Families should move out of the 'hood.
Ignoring the fact that many single parent families do not have the means to move and that supply and demand ensures not everyone can move, this is neglecting one very important thing: You state, My parents...
What of the child whose parents are so unaware of the necessity of education that they not only don't push their child to do homework, they'd never even contemplate moving to seek out good education? Consider the blessing your parents are, my man.

Oneway said...

--Consider the blessing your parents are, my man.--

I actually called my mom yesterday after pondering over my parents' sacrificial love for me.

--I'd proffer to say that the per student spending necessary to provide good education is much closer to what New Trier spends than Chicago is able to.--

Pure conjecture. Besides, it is a fact that private high schools spend less and acheive more per pupil than public high schools.

--I applaud his honesty.--

I condemn his incompetence. Is it any wonder that CPS sucks?

--What of the child whose parents are so unaware of the necessity of education that they not only don't push their child to do homework, they'd never even contemplate moving to seek out good education?--

What of this child? How much money ripped from families and lavished in the CPS bureaucracy will it take to educate a child whose parents don't make him do his homework? Answer: It doesn't matter. No school, private or public, can succeed here.

Westy said...

Pure conjecture. Besides, it is a fact that private high schools spend less and acheive more per pupil than public high schools.
Conjecture is exactly what it is. But there is some minimal amount necessary to provide good education. If there are school districts who are only able to spend less than that minimum, those kids are not being offered a fair shot. My guess was that the minimum is closer to what New Trier spends than Chicago.

As you note, of course there are private schools who may be more efficient than some public schools. But there are lots of variables there (like fewer opportunities offered, etc.) and as well, if those same schools are spending more than certain public school districts, isn't it that much more obvious that those public districts are underfunded?

What of this child? How much money ripped from families and lavished in the CPS bureaucracy will it take to educate a child whose parents don't make him do his homework? Answer: It doesn't matter. No school, private or public, can succeed here.
And here's where we disagree. I think that a great public and private schools can redeem many of these youths' educations and thus lives. I know of people for which that was the case. We cannot just say to these children, "Sorry, you don't have good parents and so you're a lost cause." If anything, we should be spending MORE in the school districts where parents are poor and less in districts where parents are good.

Jeremiah said...

A public school in which the teachers would be accountable to the parents would be absolute bedlam. But I don't have a better answer for you.

Parents, however, have much more of a voice than you give them credit for. For one, I see daily the affect parents have on the schools and they have PLENTY of say. Another thing is the fact that it's because of parents that programs like Special Education exist in the first place. Public Law 94-142 (IDEA) and P.L. 105-17 were all pieces of legislature started by parents.

Oneway said...

>>But there are lots of variables there...<<

This is true, there are many variables. Too many, in fact, for any central planning to interpret . Basic economics reveals that the best system to juggle all the variables is a free market, in which floating prices convey a wealth of information. But, public schools monopolize instead.

>>And here's where we disagree.<<

I misspoke in my previous comment. I believe there is hope for every child in Jesus, in this world and the next. But history shows the state is the worst agent of compassion. Welfare is a prime example.

Where we truly differ is that I have a higher regard for the Church as an agent for compassion than you do. In a competitive market for education, I'd welcome Muslim maddrasses, hippie tent-schools, freak fundamentalists, humanists, etc. to offer services. Parents would have no choice but to be involved, because they would pay directly. And Christ would be glorified, just as He is with Christian relief agencies. (Relief is an apt comparison--FEMA vs. churches, post-Katrina.)

>>public school in which the teachers would be accountable to the parents would be absolute bedlam.<<

Bedlam? Sounds like my job!

Some people will wield power. In public schools, parents who are board members and politcally connected wield it. In the market, any parent willing to pay has a voice.

Westy said...

...a competitive market for education...
I presume you're for school vouchers? I definitely am.

The problem remains, though, not every kid would have the chance to go to a private school. There isn't enough space. It would take decades for that shift to happen. What of those left behind? What of those whose parents weren't educated enough themselves to seek out the school vouchers available?

Oneway said...

Vouchers are an improvement, but I don't see why the government would even have to be involved at this level.

A transition to the total privization of education wouldn't be as difficult as the NEA wants you to believe. Space is not an issue. What would take decades?

Left behind? You're slipping in some of that dispensational jargon you learned from Moody, dude.

Private charity will do the best job of aiding the poor.

Westy said...

Private charity will do the best job of aiding the poor.
I tend to agree, but there is no way this happens overnight with education.

What's your vision of private education? Is there a cost for kids to attend schools? If there is, won't the rich then easily end up with the best schools again? If there is a cost, how will low-income families pay for it? Will it be private but required? To work all this out would take a long time.

rookie said...

I am learning alot from ya'lls conversation. Thanks for having it. I don't pretend to be as learned as you, however I do have a thought.
It seems to me the weakness of the free market being used for the entire education system would be our basic nature that includes greed.
Americans (of which I am one) are known for hoarding resources. It would seem unlikely that many of my neighbors would be able to pay for any private tuition beyond $50/month maybe.
It also seems like there would little to no economic motivation to run a school in a community like the one I live in on the west side.
It would seem that if few to no businesses find it profitable to locate here, then an education free market would yield the same result.
I am not sure this makes sense...someone want to help me think through it?

Oneway said...

Rookie, I don't know if you are still waiting for a response. I didn't know this thread was still going, but...

The main thing to grasp is that the free market is not just open to economic forces. Private charity has a powerful role to play if the government would get out of the way.

Either a school is founded to provide a service (for economic gain) or to provide charity. In both arenas, services and charity, the private sector outshines the government.

A school founded in an impoverished neighborhood would be primarily a charity, not motivated by monetary gain. It is up to society to rise to this opportunity. Jesus has founded a Church by His strength that can easily organize a charity school.