The More Things Change . . .


Hot Air:

New study, new confirmation that dumping money into schools doesn’t fix them

So many progressive “solutions” to public policy problems simply involve dumping money into a hole. Education is no different. From teachers’ unions to New York Times pundits, the answer is always “more money.” Conservatives doubt that solution – that just dumping money into the education system doesn’t actually improve student outcomes. This isn’t a new argument, but a new study out from the Cato Institute [pdf] finds that not a single state was able to improve their education outcomes by increasing the amount of taxpayer money they spent on education.

Author Andrew J. Coulson writes:

Not only have dramatic spending increases been unaccompanied by improvements in performance, the same is true of the occasional spending declines experienced by some states. At one time or another over the past four decades, Alaska, California, Florida, and New York all experienced multi-year periods over which real spending fell substantially (20 percent or more of their 1972 expenditure levels). And yet, none of these states experienced noticeable declines in adjusted SAT scores—either contemporaneously or lagged by a few years. Indeed, their score trends seem entirely disconnected from their rising and falling levels of spending.

I started school in 1965. Back then there were no preschools or Headstart programs where I lived and kindergarten was sort of a free year academically. We didn’t start getting serious about learning until the first grade, and I still remember learning to read starting with “See Spot. See Spot run. Run, spot, run!”

Our teachers were almost all women – some of them blue haired old ladies who had been teaching since the 1930’s and 1940’s. We didn’t have all the benefits of modern educational methods and I don’t remember having lots of homework, but somehow we still learned to read and write and do arithmetic. We also had art, music, and athletics.

I know for a fact that people have been complaining about the quality of “modern” education since before I started school. I know this because I can think of at least two books that were written back then where the characters talk about how the schools aren’t teaching kids right. One of them is Have Spacesuit, Will Travel by Robert A. Heinlein. The other is To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

It is an article of faith on the Left that the problem of inner-city illiteracy is caused by inferior schools which in turn is due to underfunding because of racism. But the cold hard fact is that those inner-city schools typically spend more per student than schools in the suburbs.

After nearly half a century of desegration, busing, class-size reductions, new programs, new technologies, free lunches, curriculum changes, new teaching methods, the Internet and huge increases in spending, inner-city illiteracy and drop-out rates are as bad as they ever were. On the other hand, suburban schools haven’t improved much either.

I’m just spitballin’ here, but you think maybe we should try something different?


About Myiq2xu - BA, JD, FJB

I was born and raised in a different country - America. I don't know what this place is.
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67 Responses to The More Things Change . . .

  1. The Klown says:

    This was published in 1958:

    You see stories about boys, poor-but-honest, who go to the top because they’re smarter than anyone in the county, maybe the state. But they’re not talking about me. I was in the top quarter of my graduating class but they do not give scholarships to M.I.T. for that-not from Centerville High. I am stating a fact; our high school isn’t very good. It’s great to go to-we’re league champions in basketball and our square-dance team is state runner-up and we have a swell sock hop every Wednesday. Lots of school spirit.

    But not much studying.

    The emphasis is on what our principal, Mr. Hanley, calls “preparation for life” rather than on trigonometry. Maybe it does prepare you for life; it certainly doesn’t prepare you for CalTech.

    I didn’t find this out myself. Sophomore year I brought home a questionnaire cooked up by our group project in “Family Living” in social studies. One question read: “How is your family council organized?”

    At dinner I said, “Dad, how is our family council organized?”

    Mother said, “Don’t disturb your father, dear.”

    Dad said, “Eh? Let me see that.”

    He read it, then told me to fetch my textbooks. I had not brought them home, so he sent me to school to get them. Fortunately the building was open-rehearsals for the Fall Blow-Out. Dad rarely gave orders but when he did he expected results.

    I had a swell course that semester-social study, commercial arithmetic, applied English (the class had picked “slogan writing” which was fun), handicrafts (we were building sets for the Blow-Out), and gym-which was basketball practice for me; I wasn’t tall enough for first team but a reliable substitute gets his varsity letter his senior year. All in all, I was doing well in school and knew it.

    Dad read all my textbooks that night; he is a fast reader. In social study I reported that our family was an informal democracy; it got by-the class was arguing whether the chairmanship of a council should rotate or be elective, and whether a grandparent living in the home was eligible. We decided that a grandparent was a member but should not be chairman, then we formed committees to draw up a constitution for an ideal family organization, which we would present to our families as the project’s findings.

    Dad was around school a good bit the next few days, which worried me -when parents get overactive they are always up to something.

    The following Saturday evening Dad called me into his study. He had a stack of textbooks on his desk and a chart of Centerville High School’s curriculum, from American Folk Dancing to Life Sciences. Marked on it was my course, not only for that semester but for junior and senior years the way my faculty advisor and I had planned it.

    Dad stared at me like a gentle grasshopper and said mildly, “Kip, do you intend to go to college?”

    “Huh? Why, certainly, Dad!”

    “With what?”

    I hesitated. I knew it cost money. While there had been times when dollar bills spilled out of the basket onto the floor, usually it wouldn’t take long to count what was in it. “Uh, maybe I’ll get a scholarship. Or I could work my way.”

    He nodded. “No doubt … if you want to. Money problems can always be solved by a man not frightened by them. But when I said, ‘With what?’ I was talking about up here.” He tapped his skull.

    I simply stared. “Why, I’ll graduate from high school, Dad. That’ll get me into college.”

    “So it will. Into our State University, or the State Aggie, or State Normal. But, Kip, do you know that they are flunking out 40 per cent of each freshman class?”

    “I wouldn’t flunk!”

    “Perhaps not. But you will if you tackle any serious subject-engineering, or science, or pre-med. You would, that is to say, if your preparation were based on this.” He waved a hand at the curriculum.

    I felt shocked. “Why, Dad, Center is a swell school.” I remembered things they had told us in P.T.A. Auxiliary. “It’s run along the latest, most scientific lines, approved by psychologists, and-“

    “-and paying excellent salaries,” he interrupted, “for a staff highly trained in modern pedagogy. Study projects emphasize practical human problems to orient the child in democratic social living, to fit him for the vital, meaningful tests of adult life in our complex modern culture. Excuse me, son; I’ve talked with Mr. Hanley. Mr. Hanley is sincere-and to achieve these noble purposes we are spending more per student than is any other state save California and New York.”

    “Well . . . what’s wrong with that?”

    “What’s a dangling participle?”

    I didn’t answer. He went on, “Why did Van Buren fail of re-election? How do you extract the cube root of eighty-seven?”

    Van Buren had been a president; that was all I remembered. But I could answer the other one. “If you want a cube root, you look in a table in the back of the book.”

    Dad sighed. “Kip, do you think that table was brought down from on high by an archangel?” He shook his head sadly. “It’s my fault, not yours. I should have looked into this years ago-but I had assumed, simply because you liked to read and were quick at figures and clever with your hands, that you were getting an education.”

    “You think I’m not?”

    “I know you are not. Son, Centerville High is a delightful place, well equipped, smoothly administered, beautifully kept. Not a ‘blackboard jungle,’ oh, no!-I think you kids love the place. You should. But this-“ Dad slapped the curriculum chart angrily. “Twaddle! Beetle tracking! Occupational therapy for morons!”

  2. 49erDweet says:

    My YD is an experienced, hard working, dedicated 3g teach with a crowded, underachieving E2L class of inquisitive kids w/o an aide and w/next-to-zippo parental involvement. She HAD an aide a couple of years ago but her district needed more administrative staff to “facilitate” the new Fed and state guidelines, so in her district classrooms lost their aides. She will have her masters in four months and get a nice raise, but is trapped in a system that will become increasingly dysfunctional because they still insanely keep trying to fix themselves the same old way when that method never works. If only they had more money……

  3. votermom says:

    Public education is run by scammers.

  4. votermom says:

  5. DeniseVB says:

    Oh yeah ! Also, check out the PDS in the replies. Beyond haters, misogynist pigs.

  6. DeniseVB says:

    Speaking of school …. Michelle visits one in China! While we remove teaching cursive writing in our schools, Chinese children learn calligraphy. Of course, this sounds like one of their better schools for the smartypants/wealthy kids, kinda like Sidwell Friends?

  7. DeniseVB says:

    Texas had me worried after I saw the headline …. LOL ……

  8. lyn says:

    OT, is this feline fine art or fine feline art?

  9. SHV says:

    The flat test scores in the “Trends” chart are likely pure bull shit. IIRC, SAT scores peaked in 1961-1962 and have been “re-normalized” three times since then in order to compensate for falling performance. I remember, about thirty years ago, a program on Public TV where the re-normalization was justified by the fact that more minorities were taking the SAT and the original SAT curves were based on White males. WTF??

    • WMCB says:

      I have see from time to time some samples of essays, schoolwork, etc from average , say, 6th grade students in decades past. Most of our high school graduates couldn’t turn in that quality of work today.

  10. WMCB says:

    This is very long and very involved, but you ought to read it. Did you know that your local bank (not just the central banks) creates money out of thin air every time they make a loan?

    It’s all a house of cards. All of it.…-and-deposits-follow

    • 49erDweet says:

      This explains the incessant solicitations to refi the mortgage “at a lower rate”. Marginal banks are “churning” the marketplace attempting to bolster themselves. Might also explain Helen’s rash of banking suicides. Unmet commitments and unfulfilled expectations.

  11. lyn says:

    Another OT, click cc to turn English on:

  12. helenk3 says:

    the educational system we have now is a result of low expectations.
    do not really expect teachers to be able to teach
    do not really expect kids to have to learn

    not every teacher or every kid are geniuses but it is no longer expected for everyone to be the best they can be.

    don’t tell Johnny he is not doing well in reading , writing or counting, it may hurt his feelings

    don’t tell the teacher he or she is not doing a good job after all they put in the time and paid union dues

  13. leslie says:

    I just turned on NPR to hear that there is a bill pending in the IL legis. to amend the state constitution regarding the way the monies for education is distributed. Right now, the bulk of it goes to the cities so the $ per student is greater in the cities. The proposal woulod make the distribution more equitable so the suburbs would get more money and the cities – less. The discussion that followed was led by the “reporter” who asked how this would affect the voting in the GE and how many Democrat votes would the legislators lose, not how would this improve the quality of education in Illinois. Really, this is disgusting.

  14. The Klown says:

    Hammer of Kraut:

    Putin mobilizes thousands of troops, artillery and attack helicopters on Ukraine’s borders and Washington counters with baguettes, American-style. One thing we can say for sure in these uncertain times: The invasion of Ukraine will be catered by the United States.

    Why did we deny Ukraine weapons? Because in the Barack Obama-John Kerry worldview, arming the victim might be taken as a provocation. This kind of mind-bending illogic has marked the administration’s response to the whole Crimea affair.

    Why, after all, did Obama delay responding to Putin’s infiltration, military occupation and seizure of Crimea in the first place? In order to provide Putin with a path to de-escalation, “an offramp,” the preferred White House phrase.

  15. helenk3 says:

    maybe it is me, but I think the principal was trying to help the kids. You are in an english speaking country. If you want to succeed maybe it would be a good thing to practice your english

  16. The Klown says:
  17. The Klown says:

    From “The Hitler Model” by VDH:

    Obama looks to logic, reason, and morality in his confusion over why Putin did something that cannot be squared away on any rational or ethical calculators.

    Putin, however, has a logic of his own. American intervention or non-intervention in particular crises is not just the issue for Putin. Instead he sees fickleness and confusion in American foreign policy. He has manipulated and translated this into American impotence and thus reigns freely on his borders.

    Red lines in Syria proved pink. Putin’s easily peddled his pseudo-WMD removal plan for Syria. America is flipping and flopping and flipping in Egypt. Missile defense begat no missile defense with the Poles and Czechs. Lead from behind led to Benghazi and chaos. Deadlines and sanctions spawned no deadlines and no sanctions with Iran. Then there was the reset with Russia. Obama’s predecessors, not his enemies were blamed. Iraq was cut loose. We surged only with deadlines to stop surging in Afghanistan. Loud civilian trials were announced for terrorists and as quietly dropped. Silly new rubrics appeared like overseas contingency operations, workplace violence, man-caused disasters, a secular Muslim Brotherhood, jihad as a personal journey, and a chief NASA mission being outreach to Muslims.

    Putin added all that up. He saw a pattern of words without consequences, of actions that are ephemeral and not sustained, and so he concluded that a weaker power like Russia most certainly can bully a neighbor with access to stronger powers like the United States. For Putin and his ilk, willpower and his mythologies about Russian moral superiority are worth more than the hardware and data points of the West.

    • The Klown says:


      Deterrence is an art, not a science. And it is transitory, often psychological, and as easily lost as it is hard to regain. Weak states invade others with strong backers because they are not deterred and feel they can get away with it—and thereby become stronger by their sheer success. If they fail, it is usually because they or their intended targets had originally misjudged relative power. Some sort of hostilities then ensue to correct those inaccurate initial appraisals. Peace follows when everybody again knows who was truly weak and who was strong in the first place.

      When Putin clearly learns that the United States was all long the stronger power, and remains the far stronger power, and that Russia, for all its blather about the greater will and spirit, was and remains the weaker party, he will be deterred and recede. Then calm will return.

      In contrast, if Putin continues to meddle in Ukraine and meets no consequences, then he was probably correct that for all the impressive military force of the United States, for all its economic power, for all its global influence and array of international allies, it really is retreating from the international stage.

      In some sense, Putin defines power not by tanks or GDP, but by a state’s willingness to gamble to use whatever power it has. He assumes that others less reckless than he would rather rationalize their unwillingness to use their superior economic and military assets than run the risks of employing them. For an aggressive but weaker belligerent, its sheer audacity, indeed its recklessness is seen as a force multiplier—an unfathomable asset that sometimes makes up the difference in what is lacking in bombers or cash. By that standard, a weak Putin believes that he’s strong and assumes anyone more powerful who disagrees will not prove it. It is up to others to disabuse him of that folly.

  18. DeniseVB says:

    Oh what fun, meet a new follower 😉

    I tell ya, the Tea Peeps are going to take over the world, we all have the same goals …. get rid of corrupt politicians for starters.

  19. The Klown says:
  20. The Klown says:
  21. votermom says:

    I’m utterly shocked at such baseless calumny!

    • 49erDweet says:

      Cathayans do appreciate a thin veneer of sociability and manners. Good luck with Marian’s.

    • Lulu says:

      The Secret Service act like assholes because the Obama’s think it is fine for them to be their proxies and let them and their “guests” get away with it. I have been around Secret Service with Lady Bird and Bush I and they did not act like dicks because the people they were guarding would not have put up with it. If people were booked in rooms on the same floor that means this was a “hurry up and spend money trip before the Republicans slap a budget on us”.

      • 49erDweet says:

        Yep on the last minute. SS has evolved downhill, IMO. Worked with them several times; each progressively worse. Some agents use travel assignments as personal party time between shifts, and aren’t always at their best.
        Worked with DoS Dignitary Protection twice. Much more professional and thorough, again IMO.

    • helenk3 says:

      looks like being nasty runs in meeeschele’s family

  22. The Klown says:

    Totally bogus headline:

    Ted Cruz Throws a Temper Tantrum After Eric Holder Refuses His Special Investigator Request

    Body of article:

    After Attorney General Eric Holder refused to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Obama and the IRS, Sen. Ted Cruz released a tantrum like statement where he stomped his feet and repeatedly compared Obama and the IRS to Nixon and Watergate.

    After Attorney General Holder told Cruz no, the Texas Senator released his own statement:

    It is the height of hypocrisy for the Obama Administration to claim that the investigator leading the investigation into the IRS’s illegal program has no conflict of interest. The investigator is a partisan Democrat who has donated over six thousand dollars to President Obama and Democrat causes. Just as nobody would trust John Mitchell to investigate Richard Nixon, nobody should trust a partisan Obama donor to investigate the IRS’s political targeting of President Obama’s enemies. Sadly, “in the discretion of the Attorney General,” Eric Holder has chosen to reject the bipartisan tradition of the Department of Justice of putting rule of law above political allegiance.

    Both Nixon Administration Attorney General Elliot Richardson and Clinton Administration Attorney General Janet Reno appointed special prosecutors whose integrity was beyond reproach; Eric Holder should do likewise. To date, nine months after a damning Inspector General report, nobody has been indicted, many of the victims have not even been interviewed, and Lois Lerner has twice pleaded the Fifth. And yet the Attorney General refuses to allow a genuine-and impartial-investigation.

    The integrity of the Department of Justice deserves better. The American people deserve better.

    In Ted Cruz’s mind, a scandal where there is zero evidence that President Obama was involved in any way is exactly the same as Richard Nixon and Watergate. The IRS scandal hasn’t caught on with the American people, because there is no scandal. Liberals and conservatives were both targeted by the IRS. There was no targeting of just conservatives.

    None of this matters to Ted Cruz. Sen. Cruz has convinced himself that the bogus IRS scandal is on par with Watergate. Attorney General Holder was correct to deny Cruz’s request for a special prosecutor. Holder’s office concluded that there was no conflict of interest with the DOJ running the investigation. There was no conflict of interest, because the Obama administration had nothing to do with the IRS scandal.

    With the repeal Obamacare movement dying by the second, Cruz is in desperate need of another vehicle to attach his outsized political ambitions to. Republicans have no credibility on these scandals, because their allegations are baseless conspiracy theories that have no evidence supporting them. Ted Cruz doesn’t need evidence. He knows that Obama is guilty of something. His temper tantrums where he throws around Nixon and Watergate keep the donations rolling in, but they make the Republican Party look even more absurd than usual.

    • DeniseVB says:

      Gowdy threw a bigger TIZZY fit. As did I 😦 Good grief, Holder’s a jerk, no, he’s freakin’ corrupt.

      • 49erDweet says:

        I’m ordering up extra popcorn if 2016 goes against the dems. Watching them try to keep Holder out of prison has got to be beneficial to Orville Redenbacher’s bottom line.

  23. elliesmom says:

    One of the “developments” in education is something we’re not supposed to talk about. Before the late 60’s a lot of professional jobs were not particularly welcoming to women. To go into those fields meant you had to fight and claw your way in. So a lot of very smart, capable women went into teaching where being smart and female went together. Most teachers were in the top of their classes academically. When medicine, the law, engineering, and business became more welcoming, even if not always enthusiastically so, the “cream of the crop” of women had many more choices, and a lot of the best and the brightest took them. Today’s teachers do not come from the top of the class anymore. A lot of them have a hard time passing the basic literacy tests required for licensing and struggle with the subject matter tests required of secondary school teachers. I took those tests, and I was flabbergasted that anyone with a bachelor’s degree couldn’t pass them. But a lot of candidates for licensing don’t, and a lot of teachers who are licensed passed by the skin of their teeth.

    • WMCB says:

      Same thing has happened in nursing. Some of the nurses they are graduating now scare me. They really are ignorant.

      The woman who ran my nursing program was an old Army nurse battle axe who brooked NO failure. She taught you well, but if you could not meet her standards, she failed your ass in a heartbeat. She took very seriously the fact that you would have people’s lives in your hands. She wanted you to KNOW nursing, physiology, drug interactions, mechanisms of body systems, etc, not just regurgitate canned answers. Some years after I graduated, they fired her. They wanted someone who would fudge and coddle and graduate a bigger percentage, whereas she made nurses go back and retake courses. She was too demanding and made students feeeeel baaad. The fact that she graduated top-notch nurses didn’t matter. Get rid of her, put in someone who will shove students through the system with minimal requirements for actually knowing anything.

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