Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Just a Quick Review of the "Disaster" in Education

George Mitchell points us to this article.

...For a variety of reasons, from one year to the next, schools almost always have more real revenue for each of their enrolled students. For the past hundred years, with rare and short exceptions and after controlling for inflation, public schools have had both more money and more employees per student in each succeeding year. Teacher salaries have increased more than 42 percent in constant dollars over the past half century, while educators’ working conditions, health plans, and retirement arrangements have become ever more commodious. Moreover, school-related revenues and employment levels have increased even when the economy (as measured by Gross Domestic Product or GDP) turned down, unlike what typically happens in sectors such as manufacturing and retail sales, where recessions trigger cutbacks in personnel and profits.

As for the future of MPS:

School district insolvencies are rare and most often the result of administrative or school board mismanagement and malfeasance, rather than from the consequence of diminished revenues and systematic budget cuts.

Why? Simple.

School district politics, including those surrounding funding issues and taxation, tend to be dominated by self-interested coalitions of parents and school district employees. For these constituents, the costs of becoming informed and actively participating in school district decisionmaking are low relative to the benefits to be gained. Employee-parent coalitions tend to dominate local school-board elections and ballot measures regarding school funding (see “The Union Label on the Ballot Box,” research, Summer 2006). Their self-interest and favorable predisposition provide schools with political protection against budget cuts when the overall economy turns down

There is a lot more at the link.

Suffice it to say that the "crisis" is staring at you in the graph at the top of this post. Don't be fooled by the guy to whom I owe the HT for this item!!

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