Money can’t buy school results

Published 9:18 am Friday, April 8, 2011

Over time I’ve gathered notes on spending and education. Here are just a few.

1. Asian students often do better than fellow students sharing same classrooms and teachers.

2. Home-schooled kids generally do better on SAT tests and in college than peers. They also socialize better with peers and their elders. According to one study, when all things are considered, their education is done at a lower cost than in public schools.

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3. A study that was done shows a negative correlation between money spent and SAT scores; the more money that is spent, the lower the SAT scores. See

4. Studies have shown that after prayer was taken out of schools, SAT scores went down, teenage pregnancy went up and divorce went up. Newspaper articles prior to prayer being taken out indicated the biggest concern of teachers was running in hallways, chewing gum and talking in class. Now we have liaison officers patrolling hallways, metal detectors, security cameras on buses and school lockdowns. We have indeed “come a long way, baby.”

5. Kansas City was desperate to improve eduction. After spending $2 billion to improve education, the Kansas City school district failed 11 performance standards and lost its academic accreditation for the first time in the district’s history.

6. Ben Chavis is a former public school principal. (It must be mentioned here that there are questions about Chavis and his methods.) Chavis took over the American Indian Charter School in Oakland, Calif. His school spent thousands less per student than Oakland’s government-run schools spends. “Everyone has been conned — you can give public schools all the money in America, and it will not be enough,” he said. Since Chavis took over, his school went from being among the worst middle schools in Oakland to the one where the kids get the best test scores.

7. Bob Chanin, an NEA official (now retired), said, “It is not because we care about children … we are advocates because there are more than 3.2 million people who are willing to pay us hundreds of million of dollars in dues each year. … The goals that guide the work we do … must not be achieved at the expense of due process, employee rights or collective bargaining.” Here is an indication that union leadership cares more about power and money than about education itself.

8. Over the years, TV news reports have shown a few inner city teachers armed with only paper, pencils and books have turned young children into voracious readers who are eager to learn. “Teach a man to fish …”

9. A study of villages and urban slums in India, Ghana, Nigeria and Kenya showed that kids going to private schools (where costs are less than public schools) had less teacher absenteeism and students did better academically. (University of Newcastle professor James Tooley)

10. Another study showed that students in Catholic schools outscored public school students by 23 points on SAT tests. This was done at a cost averaging $2,000 less per student that public schools.

11. According to 2006 study by Professor Jay P. Greene, University of Arkansas, America doubled the amount it spent on public education over the last 30 years with negligible increases in student performance.

Money can buy educational tools, but it’s questionable it buys successful results. Success is molded in the home.

Tom Jacobson

Albert Lea