Thursday, March 3, 2011

Why Teachers Are Scorned: Response To The New York Times

A New York Times article asks "Teachers Wonder, Why the Scorn?" by Trip Gabriel.

Teachers are scorned because they have been ineffective in teaching basic math and reading skills to students over the last 40 years.

From my April 14, 2010 blog, "Cutting Funding For Education Without Negatively Affecting Student Outcomes:"
Despite the more than double per pupil expenditure of inflation adjusted tax dollars on k-12 education from 1970 to 2005, there has been little, if any, improvement in student outcomes. Reading, Math levels and high school graduation rates have remained flat and unaffected by the increase in education expenditures.
See the following charts from the same post.

If one includes inflation over the period 1970 to 2005, instead of using constant inflation adjusted dollars, a dollar spent in 1970 was equal to 5 dollars in 2005. That means in actual dollars in budget terms, in doubling their constant dollar inflation adjusted budgets, school districts are spending over ten times as much as they did in 1970 on per student education. Over 75 percent of school district funds goes to teacher salaries and benefits. Since we are looking at per student costs, the increased in education spending has gone into spending more on individual teachers' salaries and benefits.

While state residents have paid teachers more in base salaries and more in benefits, there has been no improvident improvement in student math, reading scores and high school graduation rates since at least 1970.

Is there really any wonder there is a state taxpayer revolt against teachers. When you pay more for a better product (better educated students as measured by reading and math scores) and you do not get a better product, people will complain, feel they over paid and want their money back.

In all the comments I have seen by teachers protesting the recent state revolts against their salaries and union rights, not one teacher has said that the average student is learning more today than they did in 1970.

As I said in my 2010 post:
If we can double [in inflation adjusted dollars] per pupil outlays without positive impacts on student educational results, can we substantially reduce our education expenses, maybe by even half, without reducing student reading and math scores and without reducing high school graduation rates?

It seems likely.

1 comment :

  1. Every child should get a school voucher to go to whatever school their parents choose. CHOICE is a good thing as it promotes COMPETITION.

    The public teacher noose would then be gone from around the neck of taxpayers - no more publicly funded retirements or healthcare, or their whiny complaints and summers off and leaving at 3:00pm or earlier or walking out on students to protest and then trashing the WI capital costing taxpayers $7 million to repair/clean.

    No more teachers betraying the Constitution by indoctrinating our children in their liberal politics which are all over youtube and no more tenure keeping crappy teachers on the public dole.

    The teachers would be be employed by whatever PRIVATE school they choose to contract with.

    And parents would contract with whatever school they choose.