Town Square

U.S. Schools Spend More; Receive Less; CSR Not Effective

Original post made by parent, Another Pleasanton neighborhood, on Jun 15, 2011

There was a great editorial in the Tri-Valley Herald today about spending in the schools. They were talking about a new study by the National Center on Education and the Economy.

Items of note:

THE UNITED States spends more per student than all but a couple of small European nations and has been trying to raise its schools' relatively low academic performance for many years. Yet for all our many efforts to improve K-12 education, student achievement has stagnated for more than a decade.

The national study found that expensive programs often have little effect on learning. It rightly criticized California's attempt to improve student performance with smaller K-3 class sizes, saying that "decreasing class size is among the most expensive and least effective" reforms.

It seems our district is using emotions to sell classroom size reduction to the community while the data shows it to be the most expensive and least effective reform.


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Posted by Reader
a resident of Foothill Farms
on Jun 15, 2011 at 3:32 pm

dear resident,

have you read the study? i didn't think so. please provide evidence for the claims you make. specifically ...

"It seems our district is using emotions to sell classroom size reduction to the community while the data shows it to be the most expensive and least effective reform."

in the meantime, consider what the study actually says.

"Put these three points together—highly qualified college educated women and minorities abandoning teaching as a career, the drop in admission standards following the baby boom and the decision by many capable students to avoid teaching because of the widespread teacher layoffs, and we can see the danger ahead for the United States. All we need to do to acquire a very poor teaching force is nothing. Inaction, not action, will bring about this result. It is critical that this trend be reversed. We cannot afford to continue bottom fishing for prospective teachers while the best performing countries are cream skimming.

So it should surprise no one that we have a teacher quality problem.
When we looked at the countries topping the education league tables, we saw that teaching is not just referred to as a profession but is actually treated as though it is one. Those countries are willing to compensate teachers in the same way they compensate people in the professions, which, until recently, have been heavily dominated by men.

It turns out that neither the researchers whose work is reported on in this paper nor the analysts of the OECD PISA data have found any evidence that any country that leads the world’s education performance league tables has gotten there by implementing any of the major agenda items that dominate the education reform agenda in the United States.

We include in this list the use of market mechanisms such as charter schools and vouchers, the identification and support of education entrepreneurs to disrupt the system, and the use of student performance data on standardized tests to identify teachers and principals who are then rewarded on that basis for the value they add to a student’s education or who are punished because they fail to do so.

Make sure compensation for beginning teachers is and remains
comparable to compensation for the other non-feminized professions;
add the amounts necessary to attract capable teachers to hardship
locations, and specialties in shortage; tie amounts to steps on the career ladders."

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Posted by My 2 cents
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 15, 2011 at 3:51 pm

One of the problems with the US is that to teach in k-12 you need a teaching credential. My niece is studying abroad for a year, and over there, no teaching credential needed, her teachers have to have at least a master's in the field they are teaching (no teaching credential,, but REAL qualifications).

A math teacher then, should have a master's in math.

I have a friend teaching at a highly prestiguous private school in San Jose, she has a master's in the area she teaches, and guess what? The public school system would not hire her due to a lack of teaching credential! She is an excellent teacher with the knowledge and the master's in her field, yet not qualified to teach in public schools!

Standards for becoming a teacher should change in the US. Do not allow education majors to teach. Make them get a real degree in math, science, art, etc, and teach the area they specialize in. For elementary, make teachers have a degree in Math, Science, English, Languages, Art, and then rotate the kids like in middle and high school, so that they are always with a knowledgeble teacher. I especially see poor teaching in math.

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Posted by Marvin
a resident of Danville
on Jun 15, 2011 at 3:55 pm

Yes, 2 cents, we've heard you say these things many times before. Have you read the study?

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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Jun 15, 2011 at 8:04 pm

Here is the link to the paper: Web Link

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Posted by I'll raise 2 to 4
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 15, 2011 at 11:48 pm

I agree. Be educated in the subjects taught...far more important than seniority, etc. "Educ" is mostly about learning to work the system and being a union puppet.

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Posted by Night Owl
a resident of Birdland
on Jun 16, 2011 at 12:44 am

So, 2 x 4, THAT'S what you took away from the study?

And so you'd support the idea of paying teachers higher salaries and pensions if they majored in, say, math instead of education?

Actually, it's a loaded question. My son's public school teacher has a degree in math and apparently didn't find it too onerous to get a teaching certificate. She's an excellent teacher, by the way, and I'd hardly call her a 'union puppet'. Do you really expect anyone to take you seriously when you offer such gibberish?

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Posted by Let's do a real comparison
a resident of Amador Estates
on Jun 21, 2011 at 6:37 pm

"THE UNITED States spends more per student than all but a couple of small European nations"

Let's do a comparison that really matters. Stop comparing our school system to the European model - their students do not shine as much as the students in Korea, Japan, and China. How much do those countries spend on education? How much do they pay their teachers? How many of those parents complain about homework?