May 21, 2014

National Report Card

The abysmal state of education today cheats our children and imperils our future. 
DC Schools spend $29,349 per pupil:  Result 83 % of eighth graders are not proficient in reading and 81% are not proficient in math.

Our National Report Card: No Education Progress Since 2009

According to the NAEP — a standardized test often referred to as the nation’s “report card” — just 26 percent of the country’s 12th graders are proficient in math. Only 38 percent are proficient in reading. Those numbers are entirely unchanged since 2009, when the NAEP was last administered.

Notably, reading achievement was significantly higher overall in 1992 when the NAEP exam was first administered in reading.
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If academic achievement on the NAEP is any measure, the policies of the past half century just aren’t working.

Since the 1970s alone, inflation-adjusted federal per-pupil spending (part of the goal of which was to narrow achievement gaps) has nearly tripled. The behemoth federal Department of Education filters all of this taxpayer money through more than 100 federal education programs, many of which are duplicative, most of which are ineffective. It’s no surprise then that this administration’s policies, which seem designed to increase program count and spending, haven’t moved the needle on achievement either.
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But at a minimum, policymakers should infuse a little flexibility into how the roughly $38 billion federal K-12 education budget is spent.

The conservative alternative to No Child Left Behind — the APLUS Act — would go a long way toward achieving that goal, by allowing states to put federal education funds toward any lawful education purpose under state law, instead of filtering funding through the labyrinth of federal programs.

States have demonstrated that they are far more effective at catalyzing innovation in education than the bureaucrats who brought you No Child Left Behind and now Common Core. Let’s allow states to totally opt out of No Child Left Behind, rather than have to navigate the quid pro quo waiver process the Obama administration has established, and direct dollars to their most pressing education needs.

Such an approach could also help to limit the number of non-teaching administrative staff in schools, whose primary purpose is complying with the paperwork burden handed down from the Department of Education.

The chart at the link shows that non-teaching staff has increased 138%  since 1970 while student enrollment has only increased 8%

Posted by Jill Fallon at May 21, 2014 4:54 PM | Permalink