UPDATE: The title should really be â€œWhat Do CA Schools and 1990â€™s Dot.coms Have in Commonâ€.
Both benefited from wads of cash thrown in their respective directions with little in the way of expectations attached.
A soon-to-be-released study of California’s public education system says the state will have to stop pouring money blindly into schools — and spend far more money specifically on kids with the highest needs — if it wants every student to succeed.
Yet Another Public School Study (YAPSS) saying the same thing… give local administrators more control over personnel issues and stop throwing money at a problem without going first to the structural issues underpinning it.
California schools run an operating budget of around $52 billion a year, yet rank near the bottom in the U.S. in terms of academic achievement.
But I’m quite sure the voters will approve the next $20 billion school bond measure without thinking twice about the fact that the debt measures cost about 2x the face value to repay. Perhaps we should consider the inconvenient truth that the state spends more on some salaries (not teachers, mind you) than they do on textbooks when considering putting more taxpayer money into school budgets.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, instructional spending in California is only 54 percent of per-pupil spending. For example, the Los Angeles Unified School District spends only $84 per pupil on textbooks (or 90 percent of the state average) but spends $107 dollars per student on Supervisors’ salaries (which is 191 percent of the state average and does not include principals or other school level administrators).
I just don’t think California’s education system can be managed as a single entity anymore, as a state we should consider splitting education into 4 separate management districts. Each district should be managed separately and receive funding from regional tax revenues with separate revenue line items for Federal and State dollars on a per-pupil basis.
While there is merit to a needs-based funding, as a parent and a taxpayer I just can’t reconcile the notion that my local tax dollars would be shipped to another part of the state, so in the end I think it better to keep that aspect of the system as it is and create incentive for the regions to increase their tax base through economic development activities.
There is also a massive voter education effort that needs undertaking to inform voters of the consequences of bond measures and destructive economic policies that deprive schools of much needed funds. Then there is the elephant in the room – the teacher’s union – and unless there is bi-partisan support for taking a stand here, or citizens rise up through the initiative process, I just don’t see any progress being made on this front.