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Topic: Pseudo-Education in New Jersey
Replies: 5   Last Post: Jul 18, 2006 9:28 PM

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Richard Strausz

Posts: 4,559
Registered: 12/4/04
Re: Pseudo-Education in New Jersey
Posted: Jul 18, 2006 9:28 PM
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> > According to an article that I read several years
> > ago, in New York City one-third of the education
> > budget is spent on teachers and students, and
> > two-thirds feeds the troughs of the voracious
> > bureaucracy. Does anyone know what the split is in
> > Englewood City or in other NJ cities?
> >

> I don't know the percents anywhere, but I do know
> that it isn't a clear distinction. Here is a test
> Dom. Which of the following would you classify as
> being for "teachers and students?"
> librarians
> counselors
> bus drivers
> cooks
> school secretaries
> classroom cleaning staff
> principals
> assistant principals


Here is an article I found on the web which reacts to some proposals to guarantee that 65% of funding be for teachers and students. (Full disclosure: It is from the NEA.)
======================
65% Funding Scheme: More Deception than Solution

The problem with the "65 Percent" plan is that it sounds like such a good idea.

But it's a real and growing threat to sound school funding. It's serious enough to cause NEA, its state affiliates, the national PTA, and other state and national education organizations to sound the alarm as the scheme spreads from state to state.

NEA also is working with the American Federation of Teachers to provide assistance to the organizations' respective affliates who are battling 65 Percent initiatives in their states.

It's promoted by its backers as a way to increase funds for classroom use, but the promotional rhetoric is actually meant to obscure the scheme's actual consequences. It would, in fact, cripple schools as they work to serve the needs of their students.

Supported by libertarian anti-tax proponents such as Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform, the scheme seeks to force all local school districts to devote 65% of their operational budgets to "classrooms for the benefit of teachers and kids."

That sounds good at first blush and most Americans support the idea.

But the scheme borrows its definition of "classroom" costs from the federal National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) and applies it in a way never intended by NCES or anyone else. The results can be absurd. Spending on football programs, for example, would be allowed, but not on librarians, nurses, counselors, or the buses and bus drivers needed to get kids to school in the first place.

The National PTA, a steadfast champion for increasing resources for classroom instruction, flatly opposes the plan. The PTA says the scheme is "fatally flawed and will hinder, not help our nation's schools in accomplishing the goal of providing every child with a well-rounded, high-quality education."

In stating its strong opposition to the scheme, the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) notes that professional development for educators "plays a critical role in supporting student success..." and "is one of many essential education services" threatened by the 65% scheme.

In Texas, where Gov. Rick Perry imposed this "solution" by executive order, Texas State Teachers Association Public Affairs Director Richard Kouri calls the scheme the "65% Deception." Newspaper columnist Rick Casey dubbed it the "65% Delusion" in a column published by the Houston (TX) Chronicle.

Perry's executive order directed Education Commissioner Shirley Neeley to draft a regulation. After holding hearings and consulting with leaders in the education community, Commissioner Neeley issued a draft of the "rule" in early April 2006 that TSTA's Kouri said will have little effect on the operation of Texas school districts.

The Texas rule makes the 65% "requirement" one of 26 indicators districts must demonstrate. However, districts that succesfully demonstrate any 20 or the 26 indicators suffer no penalties.

Columnist Mike Thomas of the Orlando Sentinel in Florida wrote, "It's a simple-minded gimmick. A study by Standard & Poor's that looked at school budgets and test scores found no significant link between the 65 percent number and increased student performance."

Prominent conservatives like Chester Finn of the Fordham Foundation and Frederick M. Hess of the American Enterprise Institute have condemned the plan, as well. Writing in the conservative National Review, Manhattan Institute senior fellow Jay P. Greene said it's "horribly wrongheaded."

The scheme seemed to appeal to politicians by affording them the opportunity to sound as if they're supporting teachers and students without having to increase education funding, no matter how much it may be needed. Never mind that it's unworkable. It's also been rejected in at least 13 states .

Georgia is the only state that has actually enacted a version of the plan into law, but it has already cropped up in one form or another in as many as 30 states. The Kansas legislature passed a law, but it sets the 65% spending target as a "policy goal," not a statutory mandate.

Last year, the Louisiana legislature approved a resolution asking the state education department to study how the 65% target would impact schools. The report has been completed and submitted and the plan will not be implemented in Louisiana. That means, contrary to the claims of the scheme's backers, that it is not currently in effect in any state.

Oklahoma and Colorado reportedly are the only states where they have filed signatures, but the signatures still must be verified for it to be on the ballot in both states.

In Oregon, Washington, and Arizona, organizers of petition drives aimed at getting the issue on statewide ballots in those states have abandoned their efforts after failing to attract sufficient funding to keep their campaigns going. It was an especially stinging defeat in Arizona because that is the home base of Tim Mooney, who is directing the national campaign promoting the 65% Deception scheme.

Patrick Byrne , CEO of Overstock.com and founder of First Class Education and his supporters -- Norquist chief among them -- ambitiously plan to get it introduced in all 50 states. Byrne, a registered Libertarian Party voter in Utah, started the First Class Education organization exclusively to promote the school funding scheme.

The conservative American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has embraced the scheme and is actively promoting it to its members in all 50 state legislatures.

To increase understanding of how it actually works, Myrna Mandlawitz, a Washington D.C. education consultant, provides the answers to basic questions in "Debating Funding of Public Education: The '65% Solution,'"



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