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SAT reading scores hit record low for Class of 2011

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posted on Sep, 20 2011 @ 12:28 PM
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Originally posted by SirMike


Based on the above graph, whcih represents inflation adjusted public school spending vs test scores since 1970, the obvious solution to this issue is more money.


I couldn't find this graph, however I was able to locate one of the sources, the NCES Digest of Education Statistics for 2007, table number 171.

Here is a foot note below the costs, which were adjusted for inflation:

NOTE: Beginning in 1980–81, state administration expenditures are excluded from both “total” and “current” expenditures. Current expenditures include instruction, student support services, food services, and enterprise operations. Total expenditures include current expenditures, capital outlay, and interest on debt. Beginning in 1988–89, extensive changes were made in the data collection procedures. Some data have been revised from
previously published figures.


I'll come back to this. First, here's a graph from the Texas Comptroller regarding Federal expenditure versus local and other expenditures on public education:




In this image, we see that Federal spending accounts for 7.6% plus another 0.2% (from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act) for a total of 7.8%.

In the next image, we see from the state of Massachusetts that Federal spending has hovered around 5% to 7% of total funding, with State and Local footing the rest of the bill:




Finally, in this last graph we see that both the Federal share of spending and the amount in % of GDP are lower than they were in the 1960s.




So, here is my quandary. If per student spending has risen and test scores have lowered, what can be the rational explanation? Well, let's go back up to the footnote about spending since the beginning of the Reagan administration:


NOTE: Beginning in 1980–81, state administration expenditures are excluded from both “total” and “current” expenditures. Current expenditures include instruction, student support services, food services, and enterprise operations. Total expenditures include current expenditures, capital outlay, and interest on debt. Beginning in 1988–89, extensive changes were made in the data collection procedures. Some data have been revised from previously published figures.


So, how do these costs break down?

On page 254, table 172, the expenses are broken down on a per student basis. We find that of the total average per student expenditure ($10,071), the following is true:

Instruction: $5321
Health, Speech Pathology, Libraries, Media/Computer centers, Curriculum materials, Staff training: $3024
Capital Outlay(building/repairs): $1097
Interest on Debt: $273

Ok, these are all per student at the national average - some states get much more, some much less. However, these are misleading because not all students need Speech Pathology, for example, and all students collectively benefit from Curriculum development materials, Libraries and Multimedia centers.

So, this boils down to burdens, really. The Federal government actually shoulders a relatively small portion of the costs of public education. But, in the process, they carry steep requirements and national standards that sometimes are not in the best interests of the students.

In fact, since this is a "conspiracy" board, I would logically conclude, that the requirements dolled out by the government as quid pro quo for their roughly 7% additive to the spending on students seem to feed into the privatization scheme. I would argue that the relatively small amount of money being spent carries with it a large requirement on the backs of each individual school, which, although propped up by property tax, means that some are less funded than others, especially in poorer communities.

I think the end result is a Federal Mandate (such as NCLB and Race to the Top) that inaccurate judge individual progress on abstractions of collective development based solely on quantitative subjects (math and science) and prescriptive basic writing exercises with little to no emphasis on analytical skills, fostering creativity, and especially realistic, unwavering, and truthful historical context. Not to mention that civics is a joke.

I would also blame entertainment and sports - not in and of themselves, but rather the overemphasis outside of school on watching professional sports and/or mindless television programs all day long, combined with new social media that have essentially changed the focus of the language from descriptive usage to 500 character limitations and fewer, forcing txtng and essentially language change. Meanwhile, the students are expected to analyze texts. There's the reasoning...




posted on Sep, 20 2011 @ 12:59 PM
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reply to post by Sphota
 


I ran out of room...at least ATS allows me to use big words...better than twitter, I guess.

At any rate, going back to privatization, what I meant was that as the federal government supplies a relatively low amount of total costs (around 15% total for all states) those infusions into the system come with a heavy burden of Federal education mandates (such as NCLB) that create a "teach to the test" environment in classrooms that more often than not already exceed student:teacher ratios recommended by empirical academic studies.

Anecdotally, my one of my education professors told me that when he was teaching elementary ESL and Spanish, his principal rationalized a classroom size of 35 students (when the recommended limit is around 20 or 22 for that age group) because his ESL class only had 5 or 6. So, the principal averred, the average is the correct ratio. However, we know that that is not how it works.

Back to the theme of privatization. How do you convince the public to stop funding public schools and instead give their tax payments to a private corporation (as a subsidy)? You ruin the school districts. This need not be an absolute conspiracy, where people are actually meeting somewhere to plot the demise of the public school system. But, in reality, it comes out that way because there is so much money in privatized education (yet still on the government dime through subsidies and those "vouchers") and it behooves the lobbyists to insure that Federal mandates break the back of the poorest schools leading to privatization in the long run.

If we are going to complain about the roughly 1% or lower of GDP that the government spends on education for all 50 states, plus Guam, PR and US VI, then we should rethink the aspect of this that angers us. It shouldn't be the per student abstract numbers, but rather how the money is being spent and what strings are attached. Likewise, we should be examining, by comparison, the 4.05% of GDP we spend on the military budget.

I don't really like the way that GDP breaks down because it makes it look smaller than it really is. If you look at comparative pie charts of total spending, defense leaves education in the dust.



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