September 21, 2010
by Tammy Drennan, NEO Senior Writer
43% of Georgians think schools in their state need to improve their budgeting skills, but Tim Callahan, spokesman for the Professional Association of Georgia Educators, disagrees.
"We keep trying to do education on the cheap, and it will hurt us in the long run," the Chattanooga Times Free Press quotes Mr. Callahan as saying.
If there's one thing the United States has not done in a long time, it's school on the cheap. This would be a good time to replay part of a previous blog:
In March the Cato Institute issued a report on the cost of public schools. Policy analyst Adam Schaeffer made a detailed examination of the budgets of 18 school districts in the five largest U.S. metro areas and the District of Columbia. He found that school districts were understating their per-pupil spending by between 23 and 90 percent. …
Schaeffer calculated that Los Angeles, which claims $19,000 per-pupil spending, actually spends $25,000. The New York metropolitan area admits to a per-pupil average of $18,700, but the true cost is about $26,900. The District of Columbia’s per-pupil outlay is claimed to be $17,542. The real number is an astonishing $28,170—155 percent more than the average tuition at the famously pricey private academies of the capital region.
In other words, everyone is spending more than they're letting on. But even what they're reporting is a more than ample amount of money to serve up a top-notch education.
Funding cuts associated with our current economy will provide good excuses for schools to stay their mediocre course -- and good reasons for parents and those who want excellence in education to choose a better way.
We've waited (and waded) through dozens of reforms, monumental increases in school funding over the decades, and as many school wars as wars around the world, and we're worse off than when this whole experiment debuted.
We've let the government try it for 160 years -- that's long enough. Now it's time to do it ourselves. Our children are watching and waiting. Will we continue to let them wither or will we become the heroes they hope we are?