California School Spending
Before you believe the dire cuts claimed by advertisments and our law makers, it is always good to review the facts. I was curious on trends in Per Pupil spending in California as well as what has our teacher base looked like over the last few years. All I hear is massive cuts, layoffs, and less money to work with.
Here is what I found. My source is ed-data. The site takes the information reported by every school district in California to the department of education and summarizes the data in nice charts and demographics. The nice thing about this site is that it is actual data and not put together with any agenda. It is simply a partnership between the department of education, California, and the site to generate easy to read stats on our schools. I encourage you to visit the site.
Here our some interesting facts.
School Spending from 2003-2008:
Dropout Rates: 2003-2007
|School Year||Teachers||Classified Staff||Services||Admin/Other||Students|
Despite the messages from our media and legislators the numbers show the following:
-4,506 new teachers since 2003.
-Education spending has increased from $43B to $52B or 21% in five years.
-Per pupil spending has gone from $7,598 to $9,045. (All in costs including fees not in expenses as reported by EDU)
-15,951 new non-teaching positions added. (no wonder we can’t hire new teachers).
Even with a 21% increase in spending and 20K jobs added, the drop out rate has increased from 13.3% to 21.1%.
The truth is that we have added more money and not seen any noticeable changes. It is not the fault of the teachers or the condition of the schools. It is the system that is broken. Unfortunately our children are being used as pawns by the law makers and the unions to gain power and revenue. If they truly had the best interest of our children in mind, they would not defend every job, every paycheck, and every program. The workforce is over 600K jobs, there needs to be a way to reduce the dead weight in a fair manner. When dead weight is reduced, efficiency improves and pay goes up for everyone. We basically have a system that says if a job is not getting done by a group, instead of making cuts or holding that group responsible, you simply hire a new group to fix the problem while retaining the old group and the best part is that we the tax payers are ok with it.
I bet you could survey every school in California by the kids and get ratings on teachers that would give good insight into who should stay and who should go. Unfortunately we don’t trust our own kids. I can tell you in High School, we all new who the “kickback” teachers were. One teacher was so bad that 50% of the time he slept during the class. It was an English class and I only opened a English book twice. On the other end of the spectrum we had several teachers that did not follow the “criteria” and inspired debate and trust. The assignments were meant to inspire thinking and researching followed by group debate and discussions for all sides of an argument. They made an effort and to this day I still remember the classes, silly thing is, those two teachers were the teachers that the administrators punished. Why, parents complained the discussions were to advanced and off criteria. Amazing, no one complains about the teacher sleeping in class, but try to inspire thinking and all hell breaks.
What can we do? Demand reform and hold our representatives and administrators responsible. Tell the unions that while we agree that teachers are valuable and need higher pay be only if they can agree to ensure accountability and waste prevention. The argument has become so tainted that just by saying no against the schools puts you on the same ground as a convicted felon. The truth is, the majority of people (democrats and republicans) want our children to have a good education. I would even argue that most would want to pay teachers more if our tax burden was not so bad, but that can not happen until the system shows that there is not waste. Simply giving it more money is not a solution. We are smarter than that and should demand better of our representatives.