Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Problems with the Government Schools?

The University of Washington wants to throw your money at them. To be fair, it’s only billed as an executive summary of a working draft, but 16 – 32% increases in education spending seems daft, even for a draft.

The Beacon Journal summarizes the approach:

“Researchers generated recommendations for a variety of school settings by talking to education officials who were part of state- and school district-level teams.

Poor urban districts preferred policies to lengthen the school year and meet the needs of the poor; rural districts preferred increasing teacher pay, reducing class size and extending the school year. Wealthy suburban districts were mostly satisfied with funding.”

If this is an accurate description, the “study” is nothing more than a survey of government educator’s wish lists, with some cost estimates attached. Thus, it’s no surprise that the major recommendation is for new state spending on the order of $1.2 - $1.4 billion.

While there are some small nits that the education union bosses will pick at (e.g., differential pay for math and science teachers, and fewer teacher’s aides), there are the offsetting raises in salaries, 4% proposed real annual increases, elimination of private tutoring, and reduction in class sizes.

When you read something like “the team specified a real annual salary increment of 4% to accommodate increases in experience, education, and performance” what that really means is that they expect a 4% increase on top of a cost of living adjustment. So, if inflation was estimated to be 3%, the education unions want 7%.

Did you get a 7% increase last year? Is anybody offering to amend the state constitution to guarantee you a 7% increase? Didn’t think so.

No mention of accountability, or weeding out incompetent teachers or administrators.

It’s even more frightening since the Beacon notes that: “the state team moderated the investments to bring the costs toward a more feasible range.”

Of course, if Ohio amends the constitution to make government run education a fundamental right, you can confidently forget about the “moderation” part, and simply double or triple the amount required for a “high quality education”.

More BMD on this topic here.