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A Collection of Public School Facts

August 26th, 2010

http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=11432 (http://www.cato.org/pubs/pas/pa662.pdf)

Real spending per pupil ranges from a low of nearly $12,000 in the Phoenix area schools

We find that, in the areas studied, public schools are spending 93 percent more than the estimated median private school.

http://biggovernment.com/acoulson/2010/06/05/the-u-s-economy-needs-fewer-public-school-jobs-not-more/

Costs of public schools in relation to math and reading test scores.

http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=9326 – a paper on school choice.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bxeP-krUrdU – Milton Friedman’s Free to Choose Series on Education – part 1.

I reserve the right to say I told you so

May 19th, 2010

prop 100 passed.  I reserve the right to say I told you so regarding:

  • this sales tax increase will become permanent
  • teachers will still be laid off
  • our public schools won’t improve in the next three years
  • in three years, the state of AZ will not be in a better financial position

Voters of “Yes” enable government to pilfer your wallet, your freedom, your liberty. Its YOUR OWN FAULT. You deserve all that is coming to you.

Firing a Tenured Teacher

May 4th, 2009

What a terrible idea; tenure. This is what we subscribe to teach our kids:

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-teachers3-2009may03,0,5765040,full.story

We need vouchers and we need them now.

Colleges Suffer due to Poor Decisions

May 1st, 2009

Bloomberg has article discussing the situation surrounding many college campuses today. it goes into how colleges borrowed money to spend on things like new dorms, buildings, as well as rock walls, jacuzzis, and mini kitchenettes in all the dorms in order to attract students to their campuses. Well, with federal loans tougher to come by and private loans all but non-existant, students are no longer willing to pay for those amenities and are choosing cheaper alternatives, like community colleges. Well, those spend-happy colleges are now facing tough financial decisions because their tuition revenue is dropping.

That’s the point of a recession. To weed out those who conduct business poorly. People who spend their own money on college don’t choose it based on the jacuzzi count. Only those who allow others, including the federal government, choose based on that. Federally funded loans and state funded insitutions have shifted the cost of higher education from the student (where it belongs) to tax payers. We gave students money to get an education, and we let them make that decision based on jacuzzi counts.

College isn’t for everyone. It should be expensive. It should only be worth going to college for degrees where higher learning is needed. A four year degree isn’t necessary for political science, public works administration, sociology, and other fluff degrees. Some areas only require a few semesters like book keeping, etc. A good measure of how necessary a degree is how few electives are needed. For example, my electrical engineering degree required 16 hours of electives. My wife’s sociology degree required 64 hours. Which degree offers better marketable skills? Just guess.

This recession is just what higher learning needed, but now we have Mr. Obama offering stimulus money to keep these institutions afloat, the worst thing we can do. Let those schools fail. Force kids to re-evaluate their future goals and methods for attaining those goals.

Encouraging Public Employment

April 15th, 2009

CNN has an article discussing how to get your student loans forgiven by entering into the public sector. Do we really want to encourage kids to put a drain on our universities to enter into the public sector, the sector well known for producing the worst results recorded? I don’t think we need to waste tax dollars on state-funded universities and federally funded loan forgiveness. Can’t those same kids find meaningful jobs in the private sector where their contributions would be more fully appreciated?

AZ Budget Cut Recommendations

January 27th, 2009

Arizona spends alot of money. We spend alot of money on education. Legislators are currently talking about cutting education spending to balance the budget. I strongly believe we need to always have a balanced budget. Here is how I recommend cutting educational spending.

Eliminate School Districts

Public Schools are organized like massive corporations. There are many layers of management supported by high profits (often protected by government regulations, but that’s another post).  Teachers report to Principals. Principals report to Superintendents. But, superintendents have assistant superintendents. Everyone has assistants. There is an entire layer of bureaucracy that generates nothing. No teaching, no creation of wealth, just leaching. Don’t believe me? Tell districts they need to cut spending. Do you know what they say? Raise taxes or cut programs, both while whining about Arizona’s future, like Arizona will fall into a state of ruin without their school district’s overhead.

Superintendents make approximately $150-180k/year. Assistant Superintendents make approximately $100k/year. Paradise Valley School District has five assistant superintendents. If we can save $1-2million/yr by eliminating one district, we could save at least $150-300million/year. There are 150 school districts with websites known to the state of Arizona.

We don’t need school districts anymore. There may have been a time when that level of bureaucracy was needed, but not any more.

More on ASU Budget Cuts

January 27th, 2009

Michael Crow has released another statement, whining about ASU’s financial crisis, like its the only one suffering right now. Below is his letter. My comments are sprinkled throughout.

Based on some of the responses I’ve received recently regarding the state budget proposal, I wanted to forward a few key facts to counter the lingering inaccuracies and misperceptions I continue to encounter. The information below provides important clarification related to pending budget concerns and the magnitude of the challenges ASU is facing.

Fiction: The cut to ASU in the proposed legislative budget is a small fraction (between 4 and 12 percent) of the university’s overall budget.
Fact: The actual percentages are 35 percent of the 2009 state General Fund budget that is remaining for the year and when the proposed 2010 cuts are added, it totals 40 percent of the university’s state General Fund appropriation in 2008 on a Full-time Equivalent (either a full-time student or its equivalent of two part-time students) basis.

The percentages quoted by some state legislators are based on a total budget that includes hundreds of millions of dollars in federal research funding as well as bookstore and meal plan purchases and even football ticket sales. ASU’s research enterprise and its ancillary operations from the bookstore to the football team are – and must be – financially self-sufficient and in fact, these activities subsidize a substantial portion of the instructional budget.

FYI: When a professor receives a research grant, ASU gets half of it while the professor gets the other half for spending on research associate pay and other costs associated with the project. So the fiction, is actually a fact. His fact is just reworded. These activities are subsidizing instruction, meaning they need to be included in the budget, making the state legislator’s comments accurate. Sometimes the truth hurts, doesn’t it Mr. Crow?

If ASU were to close its dormitories and bookstore and stop doing federally funded research and stop playing football, the revenue associated with those activities would also end. So, it is a fiction that ASU has other revenue that could begin to replace the loss of state revenue.

State revenue and the tuition paid by students account for 79 percent of ASU’s instructional budget. To make up the loss of state funding, tuition for in-state students would need to be almost doubled to $11,000 a year.

Fiction: The proposed legislative budget won’t really hurt ASU. The university has gotten a lot of new state money in recent years.

Fact: The proposed budget cut would take student funding at ASU back about 20 years, from $8,111 per full-time student (or equivalent) in 2008 to $4,902 for 2010, which is lower than the $5,017 ASU received in 1989. To see the full chart of state funding from 1986-2010, click here <http://asunews.asu.edu/files/GF_per_FTE_history.pdf> .

General Fund per FTE Student (not adjusted for inflation)

1989 2006 2010
$5,017                         $6,334                         $4,902

The primary mechanism the State of Arizona uses to fund its universities is an enrollment growth formula – if your enrollment increases, your state funding increases by a proportional amount.

The State of Arizona has experienced substantial population growth and more qualified students are choosing to attend ASU every year, resulting in an enormous demand for and growth in the university’s enrollment – from 43,000 students in 1989 and 50,000 students in 2000 to 67,000 students today. Enrollment growth funding over the last 20 years has not kept pace with actual enrollment growth. So, most of the “new” money ASU has received in recent years is “catch-up” money, intended to bring Full-time Equivalent student funding back to previous levels.

Can you define qualified? I have seen ASU’s students. Perhaps we should raise the qualifications above “Having a Pulse and Rich Parents”. If we can’t afford 67,000 students, cap enrollment at 43,000. Arizona students unable to get into ASU can attend community college until they value their education enought to work hard and succeed at it. No one is entitled to college education, and most people don’t need it.

Furthermore, the state has no regular capital construction or maintenance budget for its universities. Twice over the last six years ASU has gotten a special appropriation to build badly needed new buildings. These additions are in no way “excess funds” that the university can cut without there being drastic consequences.

If drastic consequences means no more new buildings, I welcome drastic consequences with open arms. Five years of disgraceful spending had to end. It just so happens 2009 is the year.

Fiction: The budget proposals on the table are merely options so no one should be overly concerned about them.

Fact: No other options have been put on the table by the Legislature. Historically in Arizona, legislative budget options often become the actual budget. Even as a starting point, these cuts are so extreme that the ending point could still have dire consequences for ASU. So, there is cause for grave concern.

Fiction: ASU is unwilling to make cuts.

Fact: ASU has already taken more than $37 million in state funding cuts and prepared for further reductions by eliminating a total of 500 staff positions and 200 faculty associate positions. We have disestablished schools and merged academic departments while managing to preserve academic quality.

The university is prepared to take additional cuts but we must be clear about what needs to be done to reach the funding reductions laid out in the proposed legislative budget. These actions could include:

* Laying off thousands more employees.
* Having a massive furlough of all remaining employees for two weeks or longer.
* Increasing tuition and fees.
* Closing academic programs.
* Closing a campus or possibly two.

Don’t close; sell ASU West and ASU East and ASU Downtown.

Fiction: These cuts are no more than short-term pruning or fat-cutting.

Fact: The intended or unintended consequences of these cuts would be to move ASU away from being a research university – which it became 50 years ago by vote of the people of Arizona – back to being a state college without graduate programs or research.

To read the January 25 Arizona Republic editorial supporting these facts, click here <http://president.asu.edu/files/AZ%20Rep%20College%20Budget%20Editorial%20012509.pdf> .

These budget cuts won’t affect federally funded research, as mentioned in the first fact or fiction series. This isn’t rocket science, its political pandering. Must be nice to whine and complain to your boss about your raise. Does anyone else get to do that?

Boy Arrested for Flatulence

November 24th, 2008

Seriously. Here is the link. Why would you want to send your kids to school? Insane rules and piss poor performance… gee, where do we sign up?

Posted in education | 1 Comment »

Competition Among Public Schools

August 25th, 2008

You may or may not be familiar with Arizona’s Open Enrollment Law. It states that children may attend any public school their parents prefer, inside or outside their district. It was Janet “The Commie” Napolitano’s idea of the free market in the school system (She hates the idea of vouchers.  I.E. public schools having to compete with (read lose to) private schools).  The East Valley Tribune has an article talking about how Tempe Union will begin busing kids from Maricopa to Tempe for school.  This addresses why there has been such a slow uptake of out-of-district educations. District managers have kept their buses in their district to stay off each others’ toes, eliminating any improvement the Open Enrollment Law could of had. However, the free market, no matter how handicapped by bureaucracy, still functions. The article has a significant amount of whining, but the real details can be extracted. From the article:

“When we’re invading another district’s boundary to get them, I think that’s not quite fair,” said longtime Tempe Union High School District board member Michelle Helms, who recently opposed her district’s plan to allow Tempe buses to pick up students in Maricopa. “I would not like someone to come into our boundaries and take our children.”

This statement is exactly why the free market works when governments stay out of the way. Michelle does not want people coming into her boundary to take “their” children, because then she does not have to work to maintain her populations. She can be lazy and poorly execute her job without the chance of losing it. I also like how she thinks its not fair for “her” students to be forced to attend a school in her district with an obvious perception of ineptness. How Terrible!

To be clear, I do not support The Commie’s plan. Vouchers are the best, fastest, cheapest way to obtaining world class education for our kids. How many people have heard of Lendingtree.com? When schools compete, our kids win!

On a side note, this demonstrates why cartels don’t work. Some member will always break the agreement to obtain an advantage in the market.

Day Care at High School?

June 25th, 2008

The Boston Herald has a story on the alleged pregnancy pact in Boston. The thing that bothers me the most is the day care center on site. Seriously? Boston tax dollars spent on day care for high schoolers? That scares me.