gbaji, you keep saying that there is no evidence that increased funding has no bearings on whether a school is successful at teaching their students. How do you know? Where is your evidence that it doesn't?
It's not that it has "no bearing" on outcome, but that at a certain point, the value of spending more money is outweighed by other factors. There's a whole body of studies looking at this and the conclusion is pretty clear. In school districts already doing well, spending more money improved test results and rankings. In school districts doing poorly, spending more money didn't have much effect at all. The causes of poor schools is more than just lack of funding and can't be fixed by just spending more money.
Maybe I'm simple minded, but it seems pretty clear cut to me. If schools are funded better, students will do better.
That's not clear cut at all. So if schools spend $500 on each chair instead of $50, the students will do ten times as well? That makes no sense. Just spending more money doesn't make the education better. Yes. I used a contrived example, but the point is to make it clear that you can't assume that more spending equals better education. There's lots of ways you could spend more money and not have an impact on the education outcome at all.
Schools will attract better teaches, because the schools can afford to pay the teachers a decent wage, and better teaches are going to be more likely to reach out to the students who are trouble makers and have no interest in learning.
Even if we could assume that the movie of the week plot where all it takes is a good teacher to show up and magically the trouble making students will want to learn and turn into great citizens by the end of the semester actually happened more often than lighting hitting those students instead, it still wouldn't work. Unless you find some way to force those teachers to not choose to teach elsewhere
more money isn't going to work. Everything else being equal, most teachers will choose to teach in a good quality school with good students who want to learn. The pay differential would have to be dramatic to make that change.
I think the largest issue with school funding is the reliance on property taxes. I don't know if this is true nation wide (but I'm pretty sure it is), but the higher income areas have better schools because they have houses and other properties that are worth more, so more property taxes are give to the schools. This is also largely impacted by school bonds and such passing.
Yes. Most education funding comes from the local city, and most of their revenue comes from property taxes. But it's not like we can force cities to not do this. What you're proposing isn't just to increase funding for schools in poor areas, but you'd have to find a way to prevent higher rent areas from spending more on their schools. You'd need some pretty draconian measures to accomplish this and there's still no reason to assume that it would achieve what you hope for.
The town I grew up in is a retirement community, and there are plenty of very nice, high value homes here. Our schools are crap though, because the retired rich people who live here don't want to pay taxes for anything, let alone someone else's kid. My mom told me that from the time we moved here when I was 7, every few years the school board would try and get a bond passed to get the district more funding, so they could make improvements to the actual buildings, buy new textbooks, etc. Every time they put the bond up to vote, it failed until my sophomore year in high school. The funny thing was, that year it finally passed, my mom actually voted no on it, because I would have graduated by the time the entire project was finished, so she figured I wouldn't get any benefit from it.
Ah... The red/green game in effect. Your mother wanted others to pay when it benefited her, but didn't want to pay herself when it didn't. Interesting.
Let me give a counter anecdote, which somewhat counters the idea of funding. Where I live, there are several individual towns, and everything else is considered part of the "City of San Diego". This means that there are a number of very wealthy communities which fall inside the City and not in their own separate town. This means that they pay higher property taxes, but the results are shared between their schools and the schools in the lower income parts of the city.
Want to compare the difference between a school in Carmel Valley (where I live, but part of the City of San Diego), and say Logan Heights (also a part of the City). Want to guess which schools get a larger per-student portion of the city funding? Everyone loves to focus on the independent towns (like Del Mar, or Solana Beach) which collect significantly greater property taxes for education than other areas, but they fail to look at the areas where rich neighborhoods and poor are lumped into the same pool.
But it's that latter case that allows us to examine whether more spending helps a poorly performing school. And the answer, pretty resoundingly, is no.
I don't know if this would help or not, but I think what we should do is collect all the property taxes by state that would go to the schools, and average them out evenly, then distribute them to the different schools.
It wont help. It wont help even if you distribute the money unequally and spend twice as much on schools in poorer areas.
Um... And it would be illegal to do anyway. Those cities collect property taxes, not the state. The state collects additional taxes which it uses for education programs as well.
This will still lead to some inequality due to income variants between states, but I think overall it would be a lot more fair than the current system.
I think people often misuse the term "fair". There's nothing more fair about this. An equal outcome is not necessarily a fair one.
Um... But semantics aside, it still wouldn't work. Assuming that the objective isn't just to ensure equitable funding, but rather to achieve the ends of improving education outcomes in currently under performing schools, then we should look at that outcome instead of just assuming that an equitable distribution of funding will automatically fix the problem. It wont.
I think a limit on the payroll for school administrators (based on the cost of living for the area of course) would help a lot too. The last superintendent of the school district here was chased out of town when the community found out how much money she was making. She didn't even have a Ph.D., and she was making more than 150k a year. That was more than any other superintendent in the state, yet the schools still couldn't afford to do a lot of things. It was very messed up.
Yup. You're always going to have people who will take advantage of the system. But this is why a voucher system (or something similar) which puts the education choice (and the education dollar choice) in the hands of parents would at least help a bit. If a school (or district of schools) has to compete for their dollars, then they'll be more likely to do things with that money designed to make the parents more likely to spend their dollars on that school/district. Education outcome becomes the presumed measurement. And we're talking about outcome from the parents perspective, not what some pencil-pushers think will achieve results based on the current pet-theory of the moment.
It's not a perfect alternative. Nothing is. And it's not going to magically turn around poorly performing schools either. But as I've stated several times in this thread so far, the question is whether we should be focusing on trying to fix broken schools, or give students an opportunity to get away from them. And while it sounds wonderful to talk about fixing the school, if that process requires denying students the opportunity to find something better and it's been going on pretty much unfixed for decades now, aren't we doing more harm than good? What comfort is it to the student who had to suffer through trying to obtain a good education from a terrible school that you were spending money to make the school better instead of giving him/her a way out?
Not much comfort at all.