T Nation

$ for School

I’ve heard alot about the Iraq war and one of the things I’m tired of hearing about is that it takes money away from public education

My state, Wisconsin, continually spends more money on public education in Milwaukee than any other place within the boundary lines of good old WI.

Now that being said, you’d think Milw. would be in atleast the top 10 best school districts of Wisconsin. The truth of the matter is that it is always last! Money does not always solve everything. So, everyone thats anti-war stay that way if you want, but please drop the," we need the money for education" crap.

I work at a charter school in deep South Texas. The distict we broke away from is the lowest performing district in the state and spends about $7500/student a year.

We take kids from the same colonias (rural slums), spend $3350/student a year and have been one of the top 10 schools in the state for three straight years. Money is not the solution to the problem with education in America.

But money can be part of the solution. $25,000/year = poor teacher quality. I’m not saying we should just automatically jack up teachers’ salaries, as that would just be overpaying our current crop (possibly), but there’s no way people are going to be able to raise families on that kind of money. I mean, I only have 1 spare kidney.

To mace.J: Where in Milwaukee are you? Where do you workout? This is the first time I’ve ever seen a post from a fellow Milwaukeean.


I don’t know anywhere that pays teachers that low. My base pay is about $34,500 this year, and I’m not even certified. Keep in mind we only work about 9 months a year, we get all holidays off, including a week in the Spring and two weeks for Xmas break, and we get 10 sick days a year.

The best teachers seem to be Teach For America people. They are so dedicated and professional. Money doesn’t have anything to do with their commitment.

doogie, I live in the hellhole known as South Carolina. I believe I can find you documentation for $25,000 being the starting salary for a teacher with a bachelor’s.

I considered the Teach for America thing. Marriage kind of screwed that, but you never know. It’s hard to think of anything more fun to me than teaching.

One of my best friends from College just started Teach for American in the slums of Baltimore, and she is getting upwards of 40k a year…pretty good since her housing is only about 300 a month for a huge huge place. I went to a fancy pants private school that cost upwards of 17k a year per student and the teachers made 24,000 a year, most were right out of college like the ones this h.s sends its students to…its not about the money, its about the dedication of the teachers.

College tuition is going up at record rates, because of state budget crises. Only 2 states are not in financial trouble, if I recal correctly.

There is less financial aid money for student loans, etc.

Since bodybuilding is generally more of a hobby for middle class and upper class folks (due to how expensive it is to eat properly and train) I assume that some folks here will not understand the financial crunch that we are in.

biltritewave, I understand that the dedication of the teachers is of utmost importance. The problem is that you will quite often get people who are only capable of pulling in $30k a year elsewhere, so the teaching quality will suffer on average.

I know a guy who scored a 1600 on the SAT, finished in the top 2% of his class and would love to teach, but can’t come anywhere close to supporting a family on that kind of money. So he’s not teaching.

One thing I have a question about, and maybe I should search some of the old threads, is what teachers do during the summers to make some decent extra money.

Jared NFS,

I have a wife and two kids. My wife is finally in her last year of nursing school, but I’ve supported us on my teaching salary the whole time. It’s not a great lifestyle by any means, but we get by. During summers there is usually a month of summer school for extra money if you want it. I’ve also sold cars and worked on farms.

This is a topic that has a lot of background info, plus some arguments of value on both ends.

First problem I see with it though is the admin staffing at schools. I don’t know how anyone can defend it, but some nuts still try to.
I live in minnesota, my mom was a teacher for 25 years. My aunt/uncle are both teachers in michigan, both near retirement.

First off, teacher’s salaries is a state issue. The feds really have almost no place in this discussion, they are there just to standardize various aspects and partially subsidize some parts of funding.
So the buck basically stops at your state, and even partially at your county (for property taxes).

I know in the states around me the salaries really aren’t that low. Most teachers do quite well, solid middle class and of course have the summertime off.
The problem we have here though is administration. EVERY SINGLE YEAR we keep voting on additional levies to increase school funding, and every single time one of the biggest “reasons” listed for the yes vote is student to teacher ratios, ie more teachers are needed.
Yet, most of the increased money (not including capital building costs on those specific levies) always goes to the admin level.

Take a gander at the size of the admin staffing in your school district. Look at the district office buildings, and wonder why they have them even though there isnt a single student using them.

Now, this may be somewhat state specific, but admin pay levels have skyrocketed over the last decade or so. Here in minnesota the teacher’s union was a big supporter of removing the “governor pay guideline” from the superintendant’s pay scale. Which means now admin in schools can be paid more than the governor, which used to be a limiter on max pay. Superindentants are now like small business CEO’s, raking in far too much money and adding lots of buddies to other high paying jobs in office.

Another really cool area of abuse is the union itself. Minnesota is home to several big unions, and out of the top 10 highest paid union officers in our state, 5 of them belong to the education union. FIVE! All from the same union.

And I’m not even going to talk about the university systems, since those are laden with scams and money grubbers.
No reason for uni tuition to go up 10% per year except pork. Pretty similar to medical field in that regard.

So, to shorten it all up, I would say the biggest problems we have in education funding are pretty similar to the problems you see in other business’s, except of course education is our tax money, not discretionary spending.

Legal/compliance issues are raising the costs a lot, thanks govt.
Building costs go up, that is just due to regs/union labor/expansion of cities. Not much you can do with that.
Salaries always go up, just at a faster rate among admin. Also I still have no idea why the admin staffing has increased so drastically in last few decades. It’s not helping the quality of learning, so obviously there is another reason for it.

Another thing I wanted to mention is cuts dont always mean less total money.
Politicians love to say cuts when they dont agree with the law or bill, even though many times it’s just a reduced increase.

I coach for sports clubs to augment my income. But Doogie is right, I’m only contracted to work 187 days a year, and I’ll be earning just over $40K this year. Of course, the "consultant " who came down for ONE DAY to talk to us about our new mission statement was paid $15K. Damn, I need to start consulting.

Lumpy, you hit a nerve with me. And before you all start to ignore, keep in mind that I’m a student who just say tuition jump over 30% from last year to this year.

What annoys me about my fellow students at public institutions who whine and complain about tuition is the fact that you act like higher education is some right that you’re being deprived of. It’s not. It’s a luxury. And anybody who says they can’t pay for a public education is an out and out liar. Yep. It’s all crap. I said it.

If you want an education you do what I did for my undergrad (private) and what thousands of other people do, you borrow for it - and my family made less than 45k last year and had 7 kids. Seriously. I’ve heard these kids whine that their tuition went up to a figure that was still less than 1/4 what my undergrad tuition bill was. Shut up and get a job or a loan application you cry baby.

The cost of a higher education is extremely expensive. You need to have labratories stacked with millions of dollars in equipment, stacks and stacks of books, an enormous faculty and staff, and more services than you can ever use. And then students keep crying for more and more services, better professors, larger libraries, newer computers, and without thinking of the cost. And then you whine when you pay a few thousand dollars (when in reality it costs the school over 5x’s what you are paying). Why don’t you be thankful that you are getting thousands of dollars worth in subsidized education paid for by tax dollars you haven’t contributed in yet.

I’m at the University of MN and not only do students (now myself included) get a huge subsidy on education, but they get enormous discounts on bus fares, discounts on local event tickets, cheap tickets for campus sporting events, and about a hundred other things that other students at local colleges (generally private) don’t get.

And I haven’t even started to go on about how students don’t take state budgets into account when they ask for more money…

I chose to pay the more expensive tuition of private school the first time around, and in my opinion, private school students do have some room to complain (so long as they are not also making demands for increased services), but public students need a dose of shut the hell up. You’re getting a huge gift from your state and all you do is whine about it. Education isn’t cheap, but it’s still worth it so suck it up and pay for it.

Due to lack of funds, students must pledge to televised flag

By Associated Press, 9/15/2003

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Students at Central High School have been watching TV during the Pledge of Allegiance, but no one’s complaining.

Unable to buy enough real flags for the new school year, Central High has taken to showing an image of the American flag on classroom TVs while students make the pledge.

A new state law requires school children to say the pledge at least once a week, and the school simply doesn’t have enough flags for that.

The problem originated five years ago when the high school was repainted and many flag holders were taken down, Principal Mary Mackbee said.

“It’s very expensive to outfit a school like this with flags and flag holders,” she said.

Other schools throughout the St. Paul and Minneapolis districts, already burdened with budget cuts, are struggling to provide enough flags.

Many schools haven’t said the pledge regularly for years. The St. Paul district’s most recent estimate showed 1,300 classrooms without flags, another 970 without flag holders.


hey doogie, where you at? i lived in McAllen off and on for about 4yrs. i love south tx

gymdawg: I live about 20 mins outside of Milw. now. Until about 3 years ago I live on the North side, close to Bayshore Mall. As of right now, I train at home, but I hope to relocate to a gym. Where are you in Milw?

Everyone: I have to say I agree with antiliberal on this one, Milwaukee is always last and the teachers want a raise!. While I don’t think every teacher is out to money grub, I do think that it’s the “powers that be” that gripe and swindle cash out of people pockets. This makes the teachers look very bad. This angers me because WI is one of the most taxed states in the US. So, theoretically, everyone should get their share.

gymdawg to mace.J: I live on the far northwest side of Milwaukee and train at United Fitness Center in Menomonee Falls.

WASHINGTON (Sept. 16) - The United States spends more public and private money on education than other major countries, but its performance doesn’t measure up in areas ranging from high-school graduation rates to test scores in math, reading and science, a new report shows.

‘‘There are countries which don’t get the bang for the bucks, and the U.S. is one of them,’’ said Barry McGaw, education director for the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which produced the annual review of industrialized nations.

The United States spent $10,240 per student from elementary school through college in 2000, according to the report. The average was $6,361 among more than 25 nations.

Yet the United States finished in the middle of the pack in its 15-year-olds’ performance on math, reading and science in 2000, and its high-school graduation rate was below the international average in 2001 - figures highlighted by Education Secretary Rod Paige.

The country fared better in reading literacy among fourth-graders, where it finished among the top scorers in 2001. But the declining performance as students grow older served as a warning to the nation, Paige said.

‘‘These results highlight an extremely important truth about our educational system: I think we have become complacent, self-satisfied and often lacking the will to do better,’’ Paige said.

Appropriate spending has emerged as a key political issue this year as the nation’s schools deal with federal reforms. The No Child Left Behind law demands better performance from students and teachers, particularly in low-income districts, but critics say Republican leaders in Congress have spent too little on the effort.

The report, released Tuesday, sets international benchmarks and identifies areas for improvement.

Based on educational level, the report says the United States spends the most on higher education for every student and is a leading spender on primary and secondary education.

Paige said the nation must fill the gap between it and other countries, and bridge another between students succeeding in American public schools and those falling behind. Within that promising fourth-grade reading showing in the United States, Paige said, is a revealing number: the higher the percentage of poor students, the lower the average score.

‘‘There’s no such thing as a ‘typical’ fourth-grader,’’ Paige said. ‘‘We want to go to each fourth-grader. We need to see who needs the help.’’

The new federal law requires states to chart adequate yearly progress - not just for a school’s overall population, but for groups such as minorities and students who speak little English. Sanctions grow by the year for schools receiving low-income aid that don’t improve enough. Consequences range from letting students transfer to a better school within their districts to handing control of a poor-performing school to the state.

‘‘No other country is imposing such a rigorous requirement on its schools,’’ McGaw said.

But from school boards to Congress, growing numbers of leaders say the federal government isn’t committing enough money to the task. States must, for example, expand their standardized testing and put a highly qualified teacher in every core class by 2005-06.

Federal education spending has grown by $11 billion since President Bush took office, Paige said, but that includes spending beyond the first 12 grades. Even increased money for elementary and secondary education doesn’t cover the law’s sweeping expenses, said David Shreve of the National Conference of State Legislatures.

‘‘You can’t just mandate that things happen and then not follow up with the resources to make it happen,’’ said Shreve, senior director for the conference’s education committee.

Comparisons of spending among countries is difficult, he added, because the systems vary widely.

Another thing to add to this mess is the whole “special needs” student thing.

Yes our per student total monies spent is a high average, but people don’t realize that the number is raised greatly due to “special needs”.

I’m not talking mentally challenged students either, Im talking about behavior issues, like gang members and so on.

In the inner city school districts (like our mpls/st paul ones) we spend the most money per student, way more per student than the outstate (non metro area) does.
One of the reasons is because our society likes to use the school systems as a “prison” for crime ridden youths.
And of course when kids get sent back to school for “prison”, they require a vast amount more of attention than normal students. Counselors, extra staff, monitors… Just adds to the bill and with little reward to be honest.

You get a few dozen kids in each grade level who run a yearly bill of $30k each and they bloat up the average pretty quick, and all they are doing is siphoning the money away from all the students who actually care about school.

Problem we have is the political peeps wont address this problem. They are too busy tripping over each other trying to garner votes instead.

Mix that issue with the admin/regs cash cows and you have big troubles.

It’s not the spending side of the ledger on which we’re lacking, although you’d never know it from listening to the unions. However, I am not silly enough to assume we spend all this money wisely, especially with all the bureaucratic crap required these days.

From today’s San Jose Mercury News

Posted on Tue, Sep. 16, 2003

U.S. tops in school spending, not scores
Associated Press

WASHINGTON - Given its investment in education, the United States isn’t getting the return it expects when compared with the performance of other nations, a report shows.

Among more than 25 industrialized nations, no country spends more public and private money to educate each student than the United States, according to an annual review by the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

But American 15-year-olds scored in the middle of the pack in math, reading and science in 2000, and the nation’s high-school graduation rate was below the world average in 2001.

“The countries that spend more tend to be the countries that do better. But … it’s not a perfect relationship,” said Barry McGaw, the organization’s education director. “There are countries which don’t get the bang for the bucks. And the U.S. is one of them.”

Education Secretary Rod Paige, chosen by President Bush to oversee the nation’s public school reforms, said the results confirm that schools here have grown complacent, and that a new law tying federal spending to school performance will help. Other countries, he said, are moving ahead while the United States remains “mired in internal education politics and mediocrity.”

“I don’t think we’ve come to grips with the urgency of this situation,” he said.

But other education advocates said international spending comparisons can be misleading, and they contend the federal government is shortchanging schools just as academic expectations soar.

The United States spent $10,240 per student from elementary school through college in 2000, according to the report. Average spending among more than 25 nations was $6,361. The range stretched from less than $3,000 per student in Turkey, Mexico, the Slovak Republic and Poland to more than $8,000 per student in Denmark, Norway, Austria and Switzerland.

Australia, Finland, Ireland, Korea and the United Kingdom are examples of nations that have moderate spending on primary and lower secondary education but high performance by 15-year-olds in key subject areas, the report said.

The United States fared better in reading literacy among fourth-graders, where it finished among the top scorers in 2001. But the declining performance as students grow older should serve as a wake-up call that the nation has two gaps to fill, Paige said: one between it and other countries, and one between top performing and low achieving students here.

American students should be challenged to work harder, said Jack Jennings, director of the Center on Education Policy, a research group that advocates for better public schools.

But the nation’s investment in education deserves a closer look, Jennings said. Many school districts rely on property taxes, yielding inequities between richer and poorer areas that are masked by overall numbers, he said. And the United States has expectations of its schools that many countries don’t, such as sports programs that drive up costs, he said.

“You can’t just put dollars in one column and test scores in another column,” Jennings said. “Life is more complicated than that.”

The United States spent 7 percent of its gross domestic product - the country’s total output of goods and services - on education in 2000, the second-highest total among the countries. Within that total, the U.S. share of public spending on education was only average compared with the other countries, but the U.S. private investment in schools was high.

Viewed by level of education, the United States spends the most on higher education for every student and is a leading spender on primary and secondary education, the report says.

Nationwide, states are dealing with the federal No Child Left Behind law requiring them to chart adequate yearly progress - not just for a school’s overall population, but for groups such as minorities and students who speak little English. Sanctions grow by the year for schools that receive low-income aid but don’t improve enough.

“No other country is imposing such a rigorous requirement on its schools,” McGaw said.

Federal education spending has grown by $11 billion since President Bush took office, Paige said, but that includes spending beyond the first 12 grades. Even increased money for elementary and secondary education doesn’t cover the law’s sweeping expenses, said David Shreve of the National Conference of State Legislatures.

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