Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Spending On Public Education 44% Higher Than Reported.

As Henry's brother I've had a lot of exposure to home schooling, but have yet to take the plunge. Part of it is the thought of home schooling with six kids sounds overwhelming. Part of it is the schools in our area are pretty good.

Now the school district is facing budget cuts at the moment which made this article "Spending On Public Education 44% Higher Than Reported" by Cato. The schools here are saying they are spending $12,000 per student, and now will have to make do with $10,000. If a classroom has 20 kids, it seems like they should be able to survive on $200,000 per classroom. But now the question after this article is, how much are they really spending, and where does it all go?

The schools are asking for input, suggestions, but without disclosure of where the money is going, I wonder how effective it will be. It feels a bit like they want parents to buy into the fix and then say, "There is no solution but to raise taxes!" but then maybe I'm too cynical. So perhaps the district will do something stupid, the education will suffer, and we'll finally take the plunge into homeschooling.

In any case, Cato has a video which is kind of an executive summary of the paper, I found it worth watching:


I like the close quote of "It is impossible to have a public debate about education policy if public schools can't be straight forward about their spending."

10 comments:

Mrs. C said...

Dear Derek,

I have a non-verbal child in public school and am perfectly happy with his care. When he grows up a bit, I may *have* to homeschool him. I also have older children (high school-age) that will more than likely finish their schooling in public ed.

But I have other children for whom this is the best option. I have six children as well, and it's overwhelming to think of homeschooling all of them especially as most of them have special needs.

So some of them go to public school and some stay home, and right now I'm happy with that. Like you, I'm overwhelmed at the thought of homeschooling *everyone,* but in my case mostly because the children I have have special needs that do NOT "go together," and housework and the like would not get done without a family friend or someone to come help me.

It just wouldn't... I think part of parenting is realizing our limitations, too. God bless! :)

Derek Cate said...

Ya, we've been quite pleased with the schools here so far. My oldest is in 6th grade and has really enjoyed it, has blossomed, for which we were grateful, we were scared since for some kids middle school ends up being a horror. If it didn't work out we were ready to homeschool her. Our kids are reading nuts so maybe it wouldn't be too bad, "get your work done and you can read." Quite a blessing to have kids who love to read.

This video and topic was just timely with our current situation with the school district talking budget cuts. So far they've suggested cuts that would save hundreds of thousands of dollars, but they need to save millions. So far I've not been impressed with the quality of the financial data (while asking for parent input), and after this video I wonder if I would get it. Hard to know, but in any case we fight the good fight. :-)

Sebastian said...

Sort of begs the question if they actually know where the money goes.

Derek Cate said...

A fair question. With all the agencies involved, with federal, money, and local money, different money dependent on or provide for this or that program, there may not be any one person who knows. I guess private schools have it easier in that department.

Derek Cate said...

Sorry, that should have read "with federal, STATE, and local money". That's what I get for typing when I should be getting my 6 year old ready for bed. :-)

Anonymous said...

If I remember correctly, Obama helped to STOP a voucher program in Washinton DC that give a few students about $7,000 a year to escape Washington DC's terrible public schools and go to private schools. Obama's own children go to Sidwell private school for about $28,000 per year, where they get a excellent education. The Cato video indicates that DC schools actually cost about $28,000per year. Does this suggest a solution?

Derek Cate said...

So one of the thoughts with the local school system having budget issues, it seems like paying people to homeschool or doing vouchers would almost make sense. They would never do it, they would be giving up control, but a fun idea. I would expect that the people in DC would be outraged to know that the actual school cost is on par with Sidwell, but the education is much worse. And so governments hide costs ...

Arby said...

I sometimes wonder if public school administrators forget that they are tax payers, too. Are these administrators as comfortable with city and state legislators hiding costs and spending with their tax money as they appear to be lying to parents of school children?

Carol J. Alexander said...

Popped over from the Carnival. Thanks for the info.

The Reflective Educator said...

I find this very interesting as a former DCPS teacher. I wonder what the superintendents of these districts would say about this - or what the Brookings Institute might say.