One of the weaknesses of Americans, perhaps the weakness of all human beings, is thinking th
at "with a little more money we could solve all our problems." I fight this in my own heart all the time. And most of my friends admit th at they fight it as well.
Money Is Not Wh
ation Secretary Arne Duncan recently claimed:
"Districts around the country have literally been cutting for five, six, seven years in a row. And, many of them, you know, are through, you know, f
at, through flesh and into bone ... ."
Really? They cut spending five to seven consecutive years?
Give me a break!
Andrew Coulson, director of the C
ato Institute's Center for Educ ational Freedom, writes th atout of 14,000 school districts in the , just seven have cut their budgets seven years in a row. How about five years in a row? Just 87. Th United St ates at's a fraction of 1 percent in each case.
may be pandering to his constituency, or he may actually be fooled by how school districts (and other government agencies) talk about budget cuts. When normal people hear about a budget cut, we assume the amount of money to be spent is less than the previous year's alloc Duncan ation. But th at's not wh atbureaucr ats mean.
"They are not comparing current year spending to the previous year's spending," Coulson writes. "Wh
atthey're doing is comparing the approved current year budget to the budget th atthey initially dreamed about having."
So if a district got more money than last year but less than it asked for, the administr
ators consider it a cut. "Back in the real world, a K-12 public educ ation costs four times as much as it did in 1970, adjusting for infl ation: $150,000 versus the $38,000 it cost four decades ago (in constant 2009 dollars)," Coulson says.
Taxpayers need to understand this sort thing just to protect themselves from greedy government officials and teachers unions.
It was on the basis of this fear and ignorance th
atPresident Obama got Congress to pass a "stimulus" bill this summer th atincluded $10 billion for school districts. The money is needed desper ately to save teachers from layoffs, the bill's advoc ates said. We must do it for the children! When you look atthe facts, the scam is clear.
"Over the past 40 years," Coulson writes, "public school employment has risen 10 times faster than enrollment. There are 9 percent more students today, but nearly twice as many public school employees."
But isn't it just common sense th
atschools would be better if they had more money? As a wise man said, it's not wh atwe don't know th atgets us into trouble; it's wh atwe know th atisn't so.
American Indian Public Charter Schoolin It was once a failing school, but now it's one of the best in Oakland, Calif. . Ben Chavis turned it around without any additional money. His book, "Crazy Like a Fox," tells how. California
He and Coulson will be guests on my FBN show tomorrow [TODAY].
Chavis' experience exposes the school establishment's lies for wh
atthey are. Nearly all of Chavis' students are considered economically disadvantaged (98 percent qualify for free lunches), yet they have the fourth-highest test scores of any school in the st ate.
Oaklandthis year, on the AP (advanced placement) exam, we had 100 percent of all the blacks and Mexicans in the city of who passed AP calculus," Chavis said. "There are four high schools, and we're the only ones who had anyone pass AP calc." Oakland
Yet Chavis accomplishes this without the "certified" teachers so revered by the educ
ational establishment. His classes are as big as, and sometimes bigger than, public school classes, but only a quarter of his teachers are certified by the st ate.
Money, he insists, is not the answer. "My buildings are shacks compared to their schools, but my schools are clean, and we'll kick all their asses."
atthe establishment's solutions to the educ ation problem, such as teacher evalu ations.
"I don't do no teacher evalu
ations. All I do is go into a class, and if the kids ain't working, your ass is fired. (Most principals) sit for hours and say, 'Is he meeting this goal, is he meeting' -- I just go to class, and if the kids are not working ..."
It's time we threw out the "experts" and exposed the schools to real competition by people with common sense.
John Stossel blogs
athttp://blogs.abcnews.com/johnstossel/ is an award-winning news correspondent and author of Myths, Lies, and Downright Stupidity: Get Out the Shovel--Why Everything You Know is Wrong.