Money doesn’t buy success

Sausalito Marin City School District spends more than $22,000 per student — three times the California average — and pays teachers an average of $71,000 a year. Classes are small. Yet students — three-quarters come from low-income black and Hispanic families — post mediocre results. Bill Evers and Paul Clopton, writing in the Marin Independent Journal, blame progressive fads and long-term incompetence.

Out of 1,025 districts in California, Sausalito is ranked 724th, which is at the 29.4th percentile.

. . . Decades of a different curriculum in every classroom, ineffective and unevaluated teaching practices and teacher training, overemphasis on student self-esteem and low academic expectations created an academic deficit that has been hard to repair.

Wasteful spending and weak discipline policies led to a 1998 recall campaign in the small district.

District leaders have recently improved the coherence of the curriculum and adopted a high-performance reading program that emphasizes phonics first, rather than the district’s previous whole-language instruction. District leaders also reduced the proportion of children designated as learning disabled. Much of the students’ learning problems had been the result of the district’s poor teaching of reading, and over-designation of students as disabled had contributed to the alienation of parents from the district. These recent changes have led to some gains in student test scores – principally in the lower grades whose students have benefited from recent changes.

But progressivists still hold power in the district and in the foundations supporting it, Evers and Clopton write.

Marin City, once segregated housing for black shipyard workers during World War II, is surrounded by wealthy, well-educated Marin County. Judging by the enrollment numbers, middle-class Sausalito parents send their children to the district’s charter school or to private schools.

In New Jersey, a lawsuit is trying to give parents an exit voucher from chronically low-performing schools that spend nearly as much as Sausalito Marin City, Betsy writes, quoting Clint Bolick’s Wall Street Journal column.

One of the defendant school districts in the new suit, Englewood City, spends $19,194 per student, well over twice the national average. But at Dismus Middle School, over two-thirds of the students do not have basic proficiency in math and fewer than half are proficient in language arts literacy. Newark, a recipient of massive Abbott funding, spends $16,351 per student and pays its teachers an average salary of $76,213. Yet in 24 of its schools, fewer than half the students demonstrate basic proficiency in math or language arts. At William H. Brown Academy and at Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. School, fewer than one of every 10 students demonstrates basic math proficiency. It’s time to try something else for these children.

Imagine what an inner-city parochial school could do with that kind of money.

Here’s Edspresso on the New Jersey lawsuit.

About Joanne

Comments

  1. Prof210 says:

    Actually, I’m not convinced that the average inner city parochial school would do an appreciably better job educating an inner city child than the public school from which he/she transferred. I’m pretty sure, however, that some of our strong suburban schools would be able to provide an environment that would give inner city kids willing to put in extra effort a chance at a world class education. And in NJ, those suburban districts actually spend a bit less per student than the pro rata spending per student in struggling urban schools. Thus, open enrollment might actually represent a financial plus for suburban schools.

  2. But the point is that bags of money, contrary to the never ending complaints by supporters of the status quo, won’t do the job. Not that we need this further datapoint but it’s nice to have the observation confirmed, again.

    Also, it’s my opinion that elevation-by-osmosis is a crock as well. Just dragging kids twenty or thirty miles so they can rub up against all those suburban kids, with their disciplined and purposeful life (yeah, right), is both patronizing and unsupported by any evidence.

    The problem isn’t that there are struggling urban schools. The problem is that there are urban school districts. A couple of cities may be trembling on the edge of addressing that problem. Bloomberg wants to do an end-around the state legislature which won’t officially raise the charter cap by creating defact charters and the mayor of Indianapolis has gone to the state legislature to get the city district rolled into the municipal government.

    It’d be nice to have a reason for the continued existance of school districts other then inertia and political will but I don’t think there is one.

  3. Mike in Texas says:

    Wow, an article from a member of the Korat Task Force without one bit of evidence presented to back up the “facts”. What a surprise. In short, this is an opinion piece pass off as facts.

    Allen brought up charters and there IS statistical evidence to compare the Marin City schools with a charter. The information can be found at Great Schools.net. The local public elementary school, Bayside, slightly outperforms the local charter school, Willow Creek Academy.

    HOWEVER, if you look at the student demographics for each school, Willow Creek should be doing much better. It only enrolls 14% low socio-economic status students, compared to 82% for Bayside.

    The authors failed to note that Bayside and Willow Brook Academy have both met their AYP goals for the NCLB act. Each school has 100% or nearly 100% English as a second language students, which could very easily account for their low test scores.

    When I was getting my ESL certification the consenus was it takes 7 years to develop an academic understanding of another language. NCLB and many states demand it in two or three years, and even one year in some places. If they can’t speak English they are not going to score well on a test in English.

  4. Allen is spot on.

  5. nailsagainsttheboard says:

    My brother lives in Marin County (Mill Valley) and has to shell out $15K for his daughter’s private school kindergarten year….he was complaining, but now I realize he’s getting a bargain, compared to the $22K taxpayers are shelling out for Marin public schools. I went to good LA public schools K-12–pre-busing, pre-bilingual education, pre-multiculturalism– and paid approx. $10K for 4 undergrad years at UCLA. How times have changed.

  6. Well, $22,000 sounds like a fact to me so there’s one. Teachers pay, average in Sausolito, is $71,000 and that also sounds like a fact to me. In the California testing scheme, Sausolito ranks 724 out of 1,025 which sounds like another fact to me. So there you are, three facts and that’s in just the first two paragraphs.

    In short, this is an opinion piece pass off as facts.

    Um, no. It’s an opinion piece being passed off as an opinion piece since it was published on the opinion page of the Marin Voice. How’s that knee-jerking problem doing? Not well on the evidence.

    HOWEVER, if you look at the student demographics for each school…

    Ah yes, the “black (brown) kids can’t learn” defense. You don’t think $22,000/year/kid is enough to overcome their genetic inferiority? Kind of makes me wonder what it would take. $32,000/year/kid? $42,000/year/kid? Or is the answer, as it’s been for the last forty or so years, “more”?

    Each school has 100% or nearly 100% English as a second language students, which could very easily account for their low test scores.

    Well sure. But so could an indifference to educational outcomes on the part of the district administration and the union.

    When I was getting my ESL certification the consenus was it takes 7 years to develop an academic understanding of another language.

    A consensus you say? Well, that’s good enough for me.

    If only the passengers of the Titanic had thought of the power of the consensus perhaps they would have come to the consensus that the ship isn’t sinking and not have to bother with all that lifeboat launching and panicking and drowning.

    Oh, by the way Mike, I’m still waiting for that groundswell of public rage and disgust that’ll sweep away the NCLB. You think it’ll arrive any time soon or am I liable to grow old and die waiting for it to appear?

  7. Mike, I think you’re misreading the Great Schools info, to which I linked. The charter school actually has more students who are “English Learners” (14 percent) than the non-charter schools (9 percent and 2 percent), because it draws more ethnically and economically diverse students. The non-charters primarily enroll low-income black students. I agree that the charter school should be doing better given that its students are less disadvantaged. The Evers-Clopton column makes that point as well.

  8. Of course money alone isn’t going to improve education. The money has to be spent wisely. Wisely in education means not just highly paid teachers but highly competent teachers who have access to the highest quality educational resources.

    Andrew Pass
    http://www.Pass-Ed.com/blogger.html

  9. Just testing

  10. Mike in Texas says:

    Joanne,

    You are right, I misread the pie chart and did not notices it distinguishes between languages spoken at home and English language learners.

    Allen, here in Texas the average teacher salary is supposedly somewhere near 46K. I do not know anyone who makes that much money who is an actual classroom teacher. In fact, most school districts in my area pay at or near the state minimum, which currently tops out at 42K for 20 years experience. I’m not saying other teachers don’t make that much, I’m sure many in the urban areas make more but also have to contend with a higher cost of living. Average salaries can be manipulated as easily as teacher to student ratios by including administrators.

    Hmm, as far as the groundswell let’s see. The Florida Sec. of Education has come out and said he will NOT abide by the NCLB rules regarding schools who have received A’s and B’s on the state accountability standards but are deemed failures under NCLB. Nebraska will be revolting soon and Conn. has sued the federal govt. Utah has passed laws stating the state accountability system takes precedence over the federal standars and Arizona is in revolt. Surely you’ve seen stories about it on the internet?

  11. Mike in Texas says:

    Allen,

    I searched the website and could not find a salary schedule. However, nearby San Rafeal City Schools does post a salary schedule here. An elementary school teacher with 24 years service AND 60 hours of advanced education can top out at 72K. Assuming that nearby school districts offer competitive salaries it seems very doubtful indeed that the average teacher in Marin City would make 71K a year.

    But then again, facts aren’t usually the domain of education “reformers” like the people at the Korat Task Force or the Hoover Institution.

  12. Look at http://www.ed-data.k12.ca.us/, it has all the data.

    For 2004-2005, Sausalito Marin City’s total expenditures per student is $22279, average teacher salary is $70981, pupil-teacher ratio is 13.8. So Bill Evers and Paul Clopton are accurate.

  13. Thanks for the unrequested information about Texas but this is California and a pretty flush area of California at that. And, in this school district where the teacher’s average pay is almost double the average pay of Texas teachers and where the per pupil expenditure is almost three times the Texas figure we get all the same excuses and about the same results.

    That Texas judge who pulled the $15,000 per student figure out of his butt might be interested to know just how effective “fully funding” education is. Or maybe he wouldn’t be that interested. It doesn’t take a huge amount of intelligence to divine the fact that a high price tag doesn’t necessarily equate to high quality as is proven beyond much doubt by the Sausolito school district. But that degree of insightfullness might be beyond the capabilities of a jurist who’s come to the conclusion that Texas is a monarchy and he, king.

    I guess we have different standards as to what constitutes a national groundswell.

    Apparently, you believe that a couple of politicians doing some posturing constitutes a groundswell. You’ll note that in none of your examples does righteous wrath take the form of telling the federal government to take their funds and stick ’em. Every last one of your ferocious revolutionaries wants the money but doesn’t want the accountability. Must be nice to be able to make demands like that with a straight face.

    And kudos to bd for lowering the boom on your libels of the Koret Task Force with a satisfying “thud”.

  14. Mike in Texas says:

    Bd,

    Thank you for the link to that website, it makes for some interesting reading.

    According to the expenditures listed, depending on which one you read this district has 18% administrations costs and 17% other outgoing which is not specified. This amounts to nearly 8K per student in non-instructional purposes. Even without this expenditure they are spending a great deal more than other disticts. I would say the administrators and the school board shoudl have some explaining to do on this one.

    Allen, can you elaborate on the 15K per student pulled out of a judge’s butt?

  15. Mike in Texas says:

    Allen,

    Neither the Korat Task Force or the Hoover Institution are friends of education. They seem to have found a statistical anomaly among Ca school districts. We have several in Texas also that take in huge amounts of money per student. Looking at the data for that district they take in HUGE amounts of money, something on the order of over 20K per student for at least the last 3 years. While this district needs to be investigated it is hardly typical.

    Also I DO feel the states should be telling the federal govt. to take their money and shove it. The US constitution never mentions education, so it is a state responsibility. Unfortunately the feds play hard ball with their money, threatening to remove funding for programs that are absolutely essential, like special education and Title I. Few states are willing to go without those funds but I suspect they would be better off footing the bill for them themselves.

  16. Indigo Warrior says:

    IMO, the real problem is with inner-city families and the way they raise their children -and has nothing to do with money, race, geography, or the right schools.

  17. Hey, your the guy who pointed me to the judge’s decision and it’s there for you to read as well. He went out and found someone who’d give him some academic cover for cavalierly deciding how much the state of Texas ought to be spending. That’s where your “the government admitted it’s only funding education at 55% of what’s necessary” comes from.

    And, lest we stray too far from the topic, that Texas figure is, and I’ll help you with the arithmatic since I know how averse you are to the skill, about 75% of what the Sausolito district is already spending and with precious little to show for it.

    But that $15,000 is a fantasy figure since, as you know, I did the arithmatic and lo! at $15,000 per student the education budget would be over 70% of the entire state budget. Ain’t gonna happen. And here we have a school district that’s actually spending three times what Texas is spending and not getting three times the results. Hell, they’ve got nothing to show for all that money but an exceptionally well paid staff, which, and you correct me if I’m wrong, is not the purpose of the public education system.

    Which brings us to the question that’s just begging to be asked: if it isn’t money that ensures a good education, what does?

  18. Mike in Texas says:

    Allen,

    I believe the figure you came up with was in the ballpark of 12K, not 15 (if I remember correctly). The 55% figure was from a study paid for by the Republican controlled Texas legislature.

  19. MiT – Speaking as a Marin county local of more than 20 years, while San Rafael and Sausalito/Marin City are geographically close district, the property tax bases upon which they draw are vastly different. Every house in Sausalito is a small, high-value house, providing a financial boon to the school district. In fact, that’s how they can afford to spend 22K a kid where the northern Marin districts of San Rafael and Novato have yet to pass 10K a kid to my knowledge.

    That being said, as someone who’s spent a lot of time in both San Rafael and Sausalito, I’ve noticed quite a lot that the teenagers in the Marin City area are MUCH, MUCH more out of control than in San Rafael’s Canal neighborhood, which is demographically similar. I think the attitudes exhibited in the schools have a lot to do with it.

  20. Andy Freeman says:

    > When I was getting my ESL certification

    Ah yes, the folks who doomed a generation of brown kids to poverty by keeping them in a language ghetto.

    Of course they think that what they teach takes a long time to learn, they’re being paid for as long as it takes.

  21. Mike in Texas says:

    Andy,

    Do you even know what ESL stands for?

  22. Wayne Martin says:

    > Neither the Korat Task Force or the Hoover
    > Institution are friends of education.

    Is this “eduspeak” to describe organizations that believe in cost controls and demonstrable results for the application of the public’s money?

  23. Mike in Texas says:

    No Wayne it is not eduspeak. It is a bunch of people with absolutely no experience in education trying to influence the govt. and the media into turning your children and mine over to greedy corporate executives who wish for nothing more than to make a profit. Would you want YOUR children attending a school where the main concern was profit, not your child’s education?

  24. “Would you want YOUR children attending a school where the main concern was profit, not your child’s education?”

    Exactly why my kid won’t go to public school.

    As for greedy companies running the schools, they might do a better job that greedy politicians. The latter has a vested interest in the status quo while the former actually has to deliver results.

    If greed and profit are interfering with your child’s education than the Teacher’s Unions really have to get you mad, right?

  25. If they produce literate and numerate graduates, their main concern could be cannibalism, as far as I’m concerned. Their motives don’t count, if they can’t educate the kids. All too many public school districts take in huge amounts of public money, and have nothing to show for it.

  26. “they’ve got nothing to show for all that money but an exceptionally well paid staff, which, and you correct me if I’m wrong, is not the purpose of the public education system.” If you let the staff run the schools – or anything else – without quality controls to ensure their job is actually getting done, that *is* what becomes the main purpose. Businesses are subject to this too, except that if they take it too far, their customers go away, the business fails, and the staff loses their jobs. Public schools get their tax money even if all the parents take their kids out of the schools…

  27. Funny thing about greedy corporations. If they can’t deliver the product, they don’t last long. The government schools monopoly has been failing to deliver the product for decades and their response to customer complaints is to raise the price.

  28. Mike in Texas says:

    If they can’t deliver the product, they don’t last long.

    And when they meltdown they don’t hurt anyone, like Enron. Oh wait, thousands of people were screwed on that one, not to mention all the people in California who had to pay higher energy prices b/c the greedy corporation manipulated the prices.

    Or how about the charter school manager in Ca. that went out of business without telling anyone, leaving thousands of students scrambling for schools. That didn’t hurt anyone, did it?

    If they produce literate and numerate graduates, their main concern could be cannibalism, as far as I’m concerned. Their motives don’t count, if they can’t educate the kids.

    The problem is they don’t. That’s why Edison is losing so many school contracts right now. What was Edison’s main selling point? Why founder Chris Whittle was good buddies with Bush Sr.

  29. Mike in Texas wrote:

    I believe the figure you came up with was in the ballpark of 12K…

    $12,000 $15,000 or $22,000 who cares how much it is as long as the results are scarce and the excuses plentiful? That is the topic at hand. So what do you say, Mike? Are $22,000 per student and $71,000 average salary for teachers enough to ensure success in your opinion? That’s a hell of a lot more then Texas is spending yet the results don’t seem to be any better then those Texas gets for a whole lot less.

    The 55% figure was from a study paid for by the Republican controlled Texas legislature.

    A delightful spin but I know what the story really is.

    The only sense in which the study was paid for by the Republican-controlled Texas legislature was that the legislature sets the budget for the judiciary. It was the presiding judge who ordered up the study to determine how much money, in the opinion of his single expert, the people of Texas ought to be spending on education.

    No Wayne it is not eduspeak. It is a bunch of people with absolutely no experience in education…

    Judge for yourself. Here’s a link to a list of the members of the Koret Task Force.

    In case anyone’s missed it, Mike’s been misspelling “Koret” as “Korat”.

    Clever variations on the organization’s name. How very adult.

    JuliaK wrote:

    If they produce literate and numerate graduates, their main concern could be cannibalism, as far as I’m concerned.

    Oh, I think I’d have to draw the line at cannibalism. Profits and greed, OK. Cannibalism, not OK.

    markm wrote:

    If you let the staff run the schools – or anything else – without quality controls to ensure their job is actually getting done, that *is* what becomes the main purpose.

    Ah well, there’s the rub.

    Who decides what constitutes quality? What metrics would objectively measure that a child is receiving a high quality education? Trick questions of course.

    The public education systems springs from the political decision-making process and remains solidly enmeshed in the political system to this very day. So that answer to the questions above is “whoever has the most political clout”.

    You’ll note that the one group that can reasonably claim to be most immediately concerned with a high quality education is conspicuous by the absence of its lobbyists in the halls of the legislatures. That would be parents.

  30. Mike in Texas says:

    Its cute Allen how you continue to deny the truth.

    This is from Judge Dietz’ ruling in Sept. of 2004:

    After the 78th session, the Joint Select Committee on Public School Finance
    commissioned a study (the “Taylor Study”) that would, among other things, make “a
    determination of appropriate funding levels to enable high academic performance.” That
    study was completed and delivered to the Joint Select Committee in March of 2004. The
    Taylor Study purports to measure the costs of meeting a 55% passing rate on the TAKS
    test, both at 2003 “met standard” levels (2 SEM below panel recommended cut scores)
    and at the 2005 panel recommended cut scores. The Taylor Study’s initial charge was to
    report the costs of meeting multiple performance standards, with the understanding that it
    was not the researchers’ job to determine which measure was “adequate.” Drafts of the
    Taylor cost function study discussed the costs of meeting performance standards higher
    than 55 percent until days before the public release of the study in March 2004. Dr.
    Taylor removed the discussion relating to these higher performance targets at the request
    of certain legislative leaders, who were concerned that the higher costs associated with the
    higher performance targets would be the focus of attention. The omitted analyses
    confirmed that the higher performance standards required additional revenues to meet.
    For example, the Taylor Study found that a 90% performance standard on TAKS would
    cost an additional $3.6 billion per year in 2004 dollars.

    The ruling itself can be found at:

    http://www.gcisd-k12.org/schoolfunding/images/dietz_ruling2.pdf

  31. Walter E. Wallis says:

    ” if it isn’t money that ensures a good education, what does?”
    Discipline and motivation. And all that other stuff that runs through this site.

  32. MiT wrote:
    And when they meltdown they don’t hurt anyone, like Enron.

    The public schools have been in meltdown for years. Using your analogy, what you’re proposing is keeping the kids at a toxic waste site while you try to clean up the mess.

    OTOH, the reformers are merely suggesting the kids be transfered to sites that, while not perfect, have yet to go critical.

  33. Mike in Texas wrote:

    Its cute Allen how you continue to deny the truth.

    Not nearly half as cute as your juvenile variations on an organization’s name but I digress.

    So Mike, how much is enough?

    How much money does it take to educate those low-income kids, hmmm?

    Obviously, $22,000/student and $71,000/teacher isn’t enough to ensure that the kids end up educated otherwise, one presumes, the Sausolito district would have done it. That is what the district exists for, isn’t it?

    You know, if you were a trifle more introspective and trifle less self-serving you might reflect on why you inevitably end up taking refuge in various rhetorical dodges. If you had an answer to the question I’ve asked several times in this thread, and in others, you could just fling it out. But no, as quickly as possible, you change the subject to the amount going to administration or the details of a Texas legal opinion or just about anything but the question on the table. That assumes that you actually do give a damn about the subject and aren’t simply amusing yourself while you count the days until retirement hoping that the system hangs together long enough.

  34. Mike in Texas says:

    Allen, you yourself computed how much Texas should be spending to acheive the goals it demands from the schools.

  35. Indeed I did. After you refused too and did your best to evade the question just like you’re doing now. So I’ll ask it again.

    So Mike, how much is enough?

    How much money does it take to educate those low-income kids, hmmm?

  36. Mike in Texas says:

    100% of what it takes to achieve the demands you have given them.

    As I have PROVED time after time after time, Texas is only funding a 55% passing rate on its tests but demanding more.

    So how about it Allen? Should states not be able to demand goals they aren’t willing to fund?

  37. Andy Freeman says:

    > 100% of what it takes to achieve the demands you have given them.

    Hmm, is MiT really asserting that if we just spent enough, all would be good?

    Let’s suppose that one school succeeds with a given level of funding and another fails with the same level of funding AND the identical or better kids. What should we do with the failing school?

    I suspect that MiT would say that the response depends on whether the school is public or private. That’s an interesting answer for those of us who think that educating kids is reason we spend public money.

    In the past, MiT has insisted that private schools that fail (and even some that succeed) should be shut down if they get public money. Has he ever suggested shutting down a public school? (He wouldn’t shut down a public school that killed kids and served their flesh in the cafeteria, so we’ve yet to find out how low his standards for public schools are.)

  38. Mike in Texas says:

    Andy,

    Do you have some FACTS you want to debate about?

    Whenever closing down a school is brought up I ask about the other facts in the situation, not just the bullet points presented by a media that is too lazy to dig for facts or doesn’t care to.

    He wouldn’t shut down a public school that killed kids and served their flesh in the cafeteria, so we’ve yet to find out how low his standards for public schools are

    Congratulations! With that kind of pointless unsubstantiated emotional appeal you’re ready to be a member of the mass media.

  39. Andy Freeman says:

    When a public school is involved, MiT does more than ask for facts, he insists that the result of looking at said facts (which he doesn’t know) would support keeping said school open.

    When a private school is involved, MiT doesn’t ask for facts, he demands that it get shut down.

    MiT is free to prove otherwise by citing any instance where he has supported shutting down a public school.

    As to my “cannibal school” question, I’ve asked MiT repeatedly for what facts would justify shutting down a public school. He consistently refused, so I gave a set of facts (cannibal school) and asked if that would be enough. He ducked, becoming insulting as demonstrated above.

    If MiT has changed his mind about cannibal school and now thinks that it should be shut down, he can say so.

    Prediction – MiT will duck again and get absusive. (Gee, past performance may not guarantee future results, but it’s likely.)

  40. So, I must apologize. I intended the comparison to cannibalism to be a humorous exaggeration, but it seems some readers did not take it that way.

    The point remains, however, that the first job of a school is to educate the kids. The motives of the school employees don’t matter, if they do not educate the kids.

    All this emphasis on “greed and profit” is a red herring, as only volunteers do not draw a paycheck. Any private school has to pay attention to the bottom line, because they have to cover their expenses. A public school is assured of a steady income stream, at present.

  41. Mike in Texas wrote:

    100% of what it takes to achieve the demands you have given them.

    Is that more or less then $22,000 per year?

    Never mind, the point’s made: you’re far too clever to ever tie yourself some figure when the word “more” has worked for so long. I’m sure the subtlety of evasion is lost on “the masses” who ache to be led by our betters.

    As I have PROVED time after time after time…

    You’ve got to stop living in your head where all these brilliant victories are achieved. To date, the closest you’ve come to even accurately presenting the circumstances of that “55%” figure was to link to the decision which, it should be noted, made it clear that an economist, appointed by the presiding judge, came up with the figure which the judge subsequently decided was the proper figure. There’s your proof.

    So how about it Allen? Should states not be able to demand goals they aren’t willing to fund?

    Let me help you with your sentence construction: So how about it Allen? Should states be able to demand goals they aren’t willing to fund?

    How’s that? Better?

    To answer the question you were trying to pose: States are the enablers of public education. Since public education, in every state, is ultimately under the jurisdiction of the state, the states, which is to say, the people, can demand anything they want. Remember when I explained how you can’t get the politics out of public education because public education is the result of politics? That’s why the electorate, via our elected representatives, can demand any damned thing we want.

    If the people of Texas decide that school teachers will henceforth be required to wear big shoes, baggy pants and rubber noses then you’ll clown-up or move on. That also means the people of Texas can demand that you teach the children of Texas what they want taught, measured by the metrics they set and if you can’t do the job they want done then you can move on.

    JuliaK wrote:

    So, I must apologize.

    No need.

    I’m reasonably sure that no one doubts that you’d be alarmed if the teachers of your kids indulged in cannabalism. 🙂

    The point remains, however, that the first job of a school is to educate the kids.

    Indeed. But remember that public education consists of more then just schools and, in fact, schools aren’t at the top of the organizational hierarchy. Except for the fairly recent establishment of charters, all public schools existed as extensions of a school district and the first job of a district used to be as the funding agent for the schools. But that job’s been aggregated at the state level in many states so the districts are now the agency for selling debt to finance capital expenditures and second-guessing the principals and teachers of the individual schools. The importance of the latter service is amply demonstrated by the absence of school district administrative meddling in charter schools.

    Whatever function school districts once served, their value now, like the appendix, is clearly less then the trouble they can cause.

  42. Mike in Texas says:

    Allen,

    Obviously you didn’t bother reading the direct quote from the judgement:

    That
    study was completed and delivered to the Joint Select Committee in March of 2004. The
    Taylor Study purports to measure the costs of meeting a 55% passing rate on the TAKS
    test, both at 2003 “met standard” levels (2 SEM below panel recommended cut scores)
    and at the 2005 panel recommended cut scores. The Taylor Study’s initial charge was to
    report the costs of meeting multiple performance standards, with the understanding that it
    was not the researchers’ job to determine which measure was “adequate.” Drafts of the
    Taylor cost function study discussed the costs of meeting performance standards higher
    than 55 percent until days before the public release of the study in March 2004. Dr.
    Taylor removed the discussion relating to these higher performance targets at the request
    of certain legislative leaders

    Joint Select Committee does NOT mean judicial.

  43. Tell ya what. Why don’t you provide the link to the source of the quote? That way I can do what I always do, illuminate your uninspired misrepresentation.

    By the way, I notice that you have no response to my outlandish assertions that the public education system is whatever the electorate decides it should be, your professional responsibilities are whatever the electorate decides they ought to be and that if you can’t discharge those responsibilities to the public’s liking then you ought to be fired. Nothing to say on the subject?

    Oh, and just so your juvenile evasiveness is put on prominent display:

    So Mike, how much is enough?

    How much money does it take to educate those low-income kids, hmmm?

  44. Andy Freeman says:

    My cannibal school reference was to an earlier discussion. I was trying to come up with something that even MiT would agree would justify shutting down a public school.

    I failed. Until I succeed or MiT gives us an example, we’ve yet to find anything that MiT thinks would justify shutting down a public school.

    Yes, MiT will occasionally say that he supports shutting down a failed public school in some unstated circumstance, but he apparently believes that no public school can fail, even one that serves students as cafeteria food.

    MiT seems to think that the purpose of public education funding is to give money to public schools. He objects whenever someone suggests that the purpose of public education funding is to educate students.

  45. Mike in Texas says:

    Andy,

    You and Allen have both failed to provide legitimate reasons to close a public school, so you have to think up ridiculous examples.

    Show me a failing public school and I bet you can also find; lack of funding, corrupt local and state officials, poor and crime ridden neighborhoods, overcrowding, lack of resources (Visit NYC Educator’s blog and find out how hard it is to teach when your school has 2 and a half times the students it was built for and not enough toilet paper). But visit that local school and show me some incompetent uncaring teachers. Show me the REAL cause as to why that school is failing and tell me there are no answers to improving it.