A Solution to Kansas’ Ed Funding Paradox

Excellent Teachers with Larger Class Sizes and Lean, Excellent Leadership

Here’s the post that I made on “Voice for Liberty in Wichita” website which can be found here:

http://wichitaliberty.org/kansas-wichita-quick-takes/kansas-and-wichita-quick-takes-friday-november-26-2010/comment-page-1/#comment-216731

I watched KSN’s Jessica Schlageck’s report on the new survey results released Monday by the Foundation for Educational Choice regarding Kansan’s erroneous perceptions of educational funding. Dave Trabert of the Kansas Policy Institute gave an excellent interview where he astutely pointed out that Kansans generally don’t realize just how much tax money Kansas schools already receive and that, as the schools ask for more and more, the schools nor the public have yet to define”How much is enough.” The fact is that if we increase taxes to 100% and give all the money to the schools we would destroy our economy and have no schools at all, so obviously there’s some upper limit to the necessity for school funding. It’s also interesting that the individual leading the vanguard in the court battle is not a parent or business person, the sort of person you think would be leading the way if more spending were necessary to produce greater economic growth—what businessman or parent would be against that?—but rather, John Morton, Newton’s school superintendent, one biased toward bloated school system overhead: the perpetuation of his own salary.

I was further interested to note that my comment to that article reflected the wisdom of Bill Gates shared just above on the WichitaLiberty site, that better teachers—who are rare—and larger class sizes are the keys to cost effective achievement. Further it’s time we shrank district staff overhead and dispensed with wasteful extravagances as it seems Lawrence schools are learning to do. With that as an introduction here was my response to the KSN report which can be found at http://www.ksn.com/news/local/story/Survey-results-fan-flames-in-education-funding/SplQIipXz02lMClBXF4cZA.cspx  :

According to the “Trends International Math Science Study,” students from Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Russia and England all score higher on the study’s standardized test than the United States and yet the United States spends more than any of these as a percentage of GDP, except for England, and more than all in terms of real dollars according to the CIA World Factbook. There is no relationship between dollars spent on education and individual achievement as far as raw throwing dollars into school systems is concerned. Probably the best educational value in Wichita is the Classical School of Wichita which has one of the highest National Merit Scholar to student ratios at a fraction of the cost of public education by any measure. School funding advocates like superintendent Morton of Newton are clearly biased since they directly benefit from increased taxation for schools and yet there is no direct correlation in any available data of economic growth trending with educational expenditure. Quite to the contrary, some of the chronically poorest nations on earth, with the worst education, spend the highest percentage of GDP on education. What matters most is quality curriculum, quality leadership, and quality teachers that can be achieved with higher student-teacher ratios and fewer frills exactly as they have been doing and are doing in Hong Kong, Singapore, Korea, Japan and Russia. In order for class size to make any statistical difference in achievement the class must be smaller than 10 and then it would be virtually impossible, read astronomically expensive, to equip all such classrooms with excellent teachers, and so the achievement gain due to small classes would be reversed by poor teachers. The truth is that larger classes with exceptionally well qualified teachers and complete parental support with excellent lean leadership is the path to educational excellence for the masses as well as economic prosperity for the economy as a whole. At least that’s what Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and Korea have proved. The elite will have their “Roxbury Latin’s,” of course, but it’s not good for anyone for everyone to have them.

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About brentdavis1

Chief executive of Complete Education, a tutoring and test prep company, I am a disciple of Jesus making disciples in Wichita, KS and at Wichita State University where I am a grad student in economics, while I help students achieve their academic goals, lead my family in the Way of the Lord and promote liberty, probity and valor in all my communities. I am an Austrian school economist avocationally and I enjoy talking about economics and sound economic policy in addition to studying the Bible with others to improve those around me financially and politically as well as spiritually.
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