Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Comments on school spending

A friend in CT with some comments on the discussion about whether spending more money is the answer to what ails our schools:

In New Haven we have Fair Haven Middle School run by the district at an average per pupil expense approaching $14,000. Only 19% of its 8th grade scores At or Above Grade Level on the statewide reading / writing / math exams. Half a mile away is Amistad Academy. Amistad's average incoming student arrives in 5th grade 2 full grades behind. Less than 25% of Amistad's 5th grade is at grade level. 3 years later on the statewide exam the percentage is 75%. Amistad's African American 8th graders outscore the statewide average for white students. Amistad spends $11,000 per pupil.

Anyone who thinks that more money for our urban districts is the key to improving student outcomes is ignoring the profound systemic problems plaguing those organizations. As an example, consider the fact that Fair Haven's performance has been consistently dismal since the state began collecting the data, and there is no reason to believe it will ever improve as it's currently constituted. Yet every year the city troops another 862 children into an academic deathtrap, and every year every employee in that system is insulated from any accountability for the outcome.

 Subscribe in a reader