Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Educators Are The Ones Needing Education (Part 1)

We live in a world of very constrained and limited resources.  But imagine, if you got more resources, even adjusted for inflation year-after-year.  Your performance ought to improve, right?  Not if you are one of the fine public educators in this country.  The more you spend, the more your performance deteriorates.  Of course, your job is protected by a hostile teacher's union and tenure.  You can't be fired no matter how bad you are at what you do, yet you complain how you're so damn underpaid.

Perhaps the benchmark standard test for scholastic achievement is none other than the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT).  This exam was designed by educators to be objective and is used in college admissions to differentiate among qualified candidates.  It is also used to award scholarships.  For those unfamiliar with this test, you can learn more by clicking here:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SAT

Average national SAT scores by year, Verbal and Math are listed below while in paratheses are inflation-adjusted per capital spending on education according to the U.S. Department of Education http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=66.

1972 530 509  ($4,489)  1986 509 500   ($7,007)  2000 505 514  ($8,923)

1973 523 506                 1987 507 501                   2001 506 514

1974 521 505                 1988 505 501                   2002 504 516

1975 512 498                 1989 504 502                    2003 507 519

1976 509 497                 1990 500 501  ($7,749)    2004 508 518

1977 507 496                 1991 499 500                    2005 508 520

1978 507 494                 1992 500 501                    2006 503 518 ($10,041)

1979 505 493                 1993 500 503                    2007 502 515
       
1980 502 492                 1994 499 504                    2008 502 515

1981 502 492                 1995 504 506     ($7,796)

1982 504 493  ($5,639)  1996 505 508

1983 503 494                 1997 505 511

1984 504 497                 1998 505 512

1985 509 500                 1999 505 511

As can be easily gleaned from the chart above, per capita spending even after adjustments for inflation has MORE THAN DOUBLED from 1972 to 2006.  At the same time Verbal scores have declined from 530 to 503 while Math has edged up from 509 to 518.

Average test scores are also directly correlated to household income.  The higher the average household income, the higher the average test scores.  So, while there has existed a debate as to the racially biased nature of the test, most of the racial differences are explained by income differences rather than genetics.

The trend toward deteriorating test scores is even true among the Advanced Placement Exams which, if passed, give high school students college credit.  The rate of test taking is at all-time high, while at full 41.5%
of tests taken result in a failing grade http://www.usatoday.com/news/education/2010-02-04-1Aapscores04_ST_N.htm.

So, we've identified the extraordinary failure of public education spending.  What's the solution?  It's known as school vouchers, which we'll explore in part 2 of this series.

Meanwhile, Marko's Take is here to save you each more than the $10K per capita you're being forced to spend.  We're still free and more informative than Encyclopedia Brittanica.

Marko's Take

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