Richard Posted: Nov 15, 2006 3:30 PM >Richard is wondering about the apples-and-oranges >comparison... :-)
Apples and oranges? What do you mean?
>I suspect Michigan, and most of the country, spend much >less per pupil than do the districts in the NYC >metropolitan area.
I'll take that bet. HOWEVER, while I am confident that the nominal amounts are higher here than in Michigan, we will have to adjust by purchasing power in order to make the comparison. I.e., a dollar gets you a lot more in goods and services in MI than in NYC, so we have to allow for that.
One popular adjustment factor is the price of a McDonald's Big Mac. I will take a hike over to my local Micky D's and report on the going rate of a Big Mac in Brooklyn. Please do the same wherever you are in MI (my apologies if you ever said where you are, but I have clean forgotten).
>I know that our property and income taxes are much less >than those in NY.
Yes, yes, but what do you get for your money? These days you cannot rent a broom closet for $1,200/mo., even in Brooklyn, so it is pointless comparing nominal amounts.
Other than that, I observe that Michigan has roughly 10 million people and the state spends about $16 billion on education. By an astounding coincidence, metropolitan NYC has about 10 million people, NYC proper has about 8 million, and spends approximately $16 billion. Naturally, I imagine MI schools spend more than $16 billion since the $16 billion is only the state's share. Therefore, it certainly looks to me like we should expect rough parity in per pupil expenditure.
Figuring out what Michiganders spend on education, in toto, would require quite a bit of work. Maybe the work has been done. It would be nice if someone could find the published results.
At any rate, while this is all good clean fun, the basic outline is perfectly clear: Michigan, like NY and probably ever other state in the Union, spends a lot of money on education. And that's the point: you cannot reasonably expect to see significantly more public money going into the public schools. If you don't like what you see in the public schools, you are going to have to "think out of the box"; more of the same ain't goin' to cut it, and you ain't gettin' more.
If you really want something better for the children, you will have to find another way to do it. Now, the concept of vouchers was first proposed about four decades ago by a pretty smart guy, the Nobel Prize winning economist Milton Friedman, who is no enemy of the public schools. It's ok to not like vouchers, but they are an example of systemic change. You are going to have to come up with something structurally different from what we now have because it is perfectly clear that the model of education we have been working with for over 100 years has run out of gas. It has delivered all it is capable of delivering. That's it. It's all over. Even the fat lady has started singing.