On EdReformer, Tom Vander Ark has productivity ideas too, starting with “blended learning.”
1. Require all students to take at least one online course each year of high school and negotiate a 10-20% discount with multiple online providers and give students/schools options.
2. Provide statewide access to multiple online learning providers and reimburse at 80% of traditional schools (with performance incentives for serving challenging populations).
3. Encourage K-8 schools to adopt a Rocketship-style schedule with 25% of student time in a computer learning lab and a tiered staffing model that makes long day/year affordable. A loan program to upgrade to a 1:3 computer ratio would support adoption of a blended model and could be repaid out of savings.
Schools also could boost productivity by encouraging students to finish high school in three years or take dual-enrollment classes to earn high school and community college credits, Vander Ark writes.
He has more ideas for managing facilities more efficiently and making changes at the state level.
Update: As education spending rose in California, the percentage of classroom spending fell, concludes a Pepperdine study that ended before the wave of teacher lay-offs.
More of the funding increase went to administrators, clerks and technical staff and less to teachers, textbooks, materials and teacher aides, the study found. It was partially funded by a California Chamber of Commerce foundation.
Total K-12 spending increased by $10 billion over the five-year period ending June 30, 2009, from $45.6 billion to $55.6 billion statewide. It rose at a rate greater than the increase in inflation or personal income, according to the study. Yet researchers found that classroom spending dipped from 59 percent of education funding to 57.8 percent over the five years.
“Some districts with the least amount of overall funding devoted the greatest percentage to direct classroom spending,” AP reports.