The Answer to All America’s Educational Troubles

I have just returned from a meeting where people from all levels of the educational community met with officials from the U.S. Department of Education.  There were members of the school board, parents, K-12 educators, community college personnel and people representing a variety of colleges.

When the representatives of the US Department of Education asked, “What can the federal government do to improve graduation rates” a large number of people – too many people said, “give us more money”?

If more money were the solution to raising educational achievement, then the  Washington DC school system would not have any problems.  It spends $13,446 per student (2006 figures),the third highest per pupil expenditure in the nation.

I am not saying that schools cannot use extra money for smaller class sizes, higher teacher salaries, etc. But if the educational community believes that the answer to increased academic achievement is to merely to increase inputs then they are not aware of the health crisis, the wars we are currently fighting, the recession, the unemployment rate, etc.  Before the politicians, policy makers and the public will reply with more funding, schools need to start producing better outputs.  The nation is losing 30% of its K-12 students (a greater amount of its minorities) and the post-secondary schools are graduating 20-25% of the best that the k-12 system produces.  Something is wrong with this picture.  I would not flying in a plane where the plane crashed 30% of the time it took off.  I do not believe that you, the reader would either.  The students who dropout of colleges and universities are not only the best that America produces, but foreign students as well.  If the argument of the universities is that the K-12 system is not equipping these students with the skills they need to thrive in the university, then do not accept them.

Those are my thoughts.  I would like to hear yours.  I will post the best comments.