More money for what?

New York City apparently will have an extra $5.6 billion to spend on public schools, bringing the per pupil average to $15,320 in current dollars, thanks to a court decision. Jenny D, posting at 4 a.m., wonders if the money will be spent to improve teaching and learning or just for more of the same. Read the comments, and this follow-up post, which quotes Robert F. Kennedy thinking about how to spend $1 billion to help poor children in 1965.

Kennedy: And then I come to this other point, that if you are placing or putting money into a school system which itself creates this problem, or helps to create it, or does nothing or very little to alleviate it, are we not just in fact wasting the money of the Federal Government and the taxpayer and investing money where it is really going to accomplish very little if any good?

For $15,320 per student, New York could lower class size to five.

About Joanne

Comments

  1. I’m trying to think of what we could spend $15,000 on to educate each of our 3 kids. I don’t think I could spend all of that.

  2. You’re not from around here are you? What if your teenager has an emotional outburst and acts out. In a good neighborhood you would naturally have them institutionalize for a couple weeks, so a team of doctors could adjust their medication. This would require a team of therapuetic professionals within the school system to facilitate a stabilized reentry into the mainstream system. Perhaps a personal aide.

    In every neighborhood we need camera’s, in-school police, and assertiveness training programs to teach the oppressed use the evidence to archietect justice. In headstart they video tape the children when they mis-behave and have 4-year old group therapy. Peer-discipline, where a sociopath is born, tends to empower an articulate corporate-Barbie who would like to force the team to build her house instead of bombing it. It’s kind of cute at 4 and the teachers put up with the bullying Mom’s demanding special attention to Susie’s esteem since she’s gifted and the school’s lucky to have a good influence like her, but these empowered Mom’s have insatiable needs. NYC needs more gifted schools for 4 year olds. http://www.nytimes.com/2005/02/17/nyregion/17gifted.html

    And they need principals who will support the police to keep kids in lines, in dangerous schools poor kids are forced to attend (instead of being arrested for defending them).
    http://www.nydailynews.com/front/story/278033p-238117c.html

    It takes a lot of money to fund this stuff. That’s why superintendents are hired for their fund raising and marketing skills instead of education. We all know charisma means money, and corruption:

    The financial scandals at the Roslyn and William Floyd school districts, where former school officials have been accused of stealing millions of dollars, and the climate of public mistrust those scandals have created, make the job even less appealing, Dr. Manley said.

    and that means more money:
    Professional firms handle about half of the searches in the suburbs, the survey by the council of superintendents found. Joseph Laria, a former superintendent in Riverhead and the president of PosiTrends, an educational consulting and recruiting company, charges $12,000 to $15,000 to recruit a superintendent, plus expenses that can add another $15,000 to the bill.

    I guess I could go on, and on. Obviously this is a complex issue a layman couldn’t possibly understand.

  3. *blinks* I could go to college for a year on that amount.

  4. Mike in Texas says:

    I understand NYC has a lot of schools that are physically falling apart. Perhaps some of that money could be spent on repairing infrastructure.

    In truth, it will probably be spent on new and remodeled admin buildings and more administrators.

  5. Mike in Texas wrote:

    In truth, it will probably be spent on new and remodeled admin buildings and more administrators.

    Yeah, but if you’ve got a school district you’ve got administrators and those administrators are higher on the organizational foodchain then you.

    That ought to be enough information for you to come up with a solution to the problem of all that money being “spent on new and remodeled admin buildings and more administrators.”

  6. Yeah, but if you’ve got a school district you’ve got administrators and those administrators are higher on the organizational foodchain then you.

    That ought to be enough information for you to come up with a solution to the problem of all that money being “spent on new and remodeled admin buildings and more administrators.”

    Eat the administators? I’m sure with all that pork they’ve got around, they’d fry up real nice.

    Seriously, I want to see a big string attached to that money that would go something like this: Budget priority will go to those personnel and facilities with which children come in contact on an average day. If this condition ain’t met, yank the extra money.

  7. I could go to college for a year on that amount.

    In certain parts of the US one could take a comfortable, year-long vacation for that amount…

  8. Adrian wrote:

    Budget priority will go to those personnel and facilities with which children come in contact on an average day.

    If that budget priority is a directive to the administration of a school district then you just don’t understand what the problem is.

    The problem is the hierarchical organization squatting on top of the schools. While the contribution to education of those bureaucrats is, at best, questionable, they’re use of resources – read, money – is all too real. And all the directives in the world aren’t going to convince them to commit organizational suicide. They aren’t going to oversee and assist in a reduction of their empires.

    Get rid of the hierarchy and you get rid of most of what’s troubling American public education. Leave it in place and all your efforts are for nothing.

  9. Allen – I’m saying that that should have been a string on the money placed there by the court that issued the ruling. If their point was to help students, to force the state to pay out the money without that stipulation is useless.

    My prediction for what will happen is that not a single dime of the extra money will make it to the classroom, since each level of administration in that fat, bloated leviathan of a district is going to take its cut.

  10. I get you know and I agree. I think your proposed amendment to the court ruling would have been counterproductive over time though. It would have inevitably involved the judge, or some judge, in deciding what constituted education and what didn’t.

    The history of judicial involvement in the public education system is not a happy one. Examples proving my point are bussing and desegregation.

  11. I wonder what percent of budget admin is in the NYC school district? In my wife’s district, admin is 7% of budget, which is certainly not excessive or out of line.

    Where a lot of the NYC money should go, however, is into raising teacher salaries so they can attract better and brighter teachers. The rest should go into upgrading the infrastructure.

  12. Rex wrote:

    In my wife’s district, admin is 7% of budget, which is certainly not excessive or out of line.

    Source?

    Reason I ask is that your number is so completely at odds with a study done by Bruce Cooper, Professor of Educational Administration at Fordham University, who did a detailed analysis of the New York Public School system High School division. His conclusion was that the adminstrative expense constituted better then 60% of the division’s budget.

    Where a lot of the NYC money should go, however, is into raising teacher salaries so they can attract better and brighter teachers.

    What’s to be done with the already-hired teachers who, willing to work for lower rates of pay, are obviously inferior? Do you think paying them more money will make them better and smarter teachers? If not, shouldn’t they be fired to make room for the flood of “better and brighter teachers” who are waiting for the pay rate to rise to meet their requirements?