Friday, May 22, 2009

How poor schools impact the economy:

From Corey Booker's blog, I got this link to a New York Times article:

Study Cites Dire Economic Impact of Poor Schools

I am going to rob and steal from this article:

WASHINGTON — The lagging performance of American schoolchildren, particularly among poor and minority students, has had a negative economic impact on the country that exceeds that of the current recession, according to a report released on Wednesday.

I don't endorse the study. I didn't look at it closely and examine how well run it was. I am only reporting the study. These guys (and gals) and their estimates could be off. I am simply blogging about an article about this study.

The report concluded that if those achievement gaps were closed, the yearly gross domestic product of the United States would be trillions of dollars higher, or $3 billion to $5 billion more per day.

That is a lot of money. Maybe in reality it is not that much. It is hard to debate one thing though: If the American system of education was better we probably would be a wealthier nation. In Japan the populace is overeducated to an extent (if that can be possible). Japanese people that are janitors could kill you with the physics, science and math that they have learned. That isn't a bad thing, but those people do still clean up the place. I admire the Japanese and this is no slight. I agree with the premise of the report and I suspect everyone does. If our educational system was better, our economy would be better. The nation would have more wealth, and you would probably have more wealth too. Spread it around! (Shakes the Socialist!)

Get this quote:

The New York City schools chancellor, Joel I. Klein, who introduced the findings at the National Press Club in Washington, said the study vindicated the idea that the root cause of test-score disparities was not poverty or family circumstances, but subpar teachers and principals. He pointed to an analysis in the report showing low-income black fourth graders from the city outperformed students in all other major urban districts on reading (they came in second in math).

“Schools can be the game changer,” he said. “We are able to get very, very different results with the same children.”

The chancellor of the New York City schools is blaming bad teachers and bad principals. And in blaming bad teachers and bad principals he is blaming the system and the teachers unions that defend the status quo. No way around that in my book. I am glad Corey Booker highlighted this article.

This is what Secretary of Education Arne Duncan had to say:

“In many situations, our schools are perpetuating poverty and are perpetuating social failure,” he said, adding that the federal education bureaucracy had often hindered past efforts.

Our schools are perpetuating poverty and social failure, and the education bureaucracy has often hindered past and present efforts. Mr. Duncan can tell it like it is on occasion.

What was interesting to me is this: You can click the link and read the whole article in the NYTimes. Not once was the word "voucher" mentioned in the whole article. They may have hinted at it when they quoted Sharpton ("There are no sacred cows in this"), but they never brought themselves to even say the word voucher or talk about school choice in any way other than another public school.

I think someday people will look back at these archives and laugh. School Choice is going to be the next civil rights movement, and the people that stand in the way or ignore it are going to be on the wrong side of history. We have a report that talks about the dire state of our schools in relation to the economy, and school vouchers don't even merit a word, let alone a sentence. It is mind boggling but true.

I also liked the report talked to how school results and test scores vary by region.

Students educated in different regions also showed marked variation in test performance, despite having similar demographic backgrounds. In Texas, for instance, schools are given about $1,000 less per student than California schools, but Texas children are on average one to two years of learning ahead of their counterparts in California.

I would like to see some google mapping with bad schools overlayed with the political party that tends to dominate. I think it would be fair to take a look at that. In Cincinnati and our urban centers in the midwest, the politics is dominated by Democrats and the school boards are dominated by the Democrats.

Cincinnati hasn't elected a Republican Mayor since 1971, and it is considered a conservative city. Detroits last Republican mayor was first elected in 1957. Louisville was in 1965. Chicago was in 1927. It isn't just mayors, that is only what you can look up on wiki. It is schools boards. It is urban Democratic party strongholds. It is the big political machine that teacher's unions use to force people into a situation of neverending failure.

And I will throw this link in for good measure:

Broken Cities: Liberalism’s urban legacy
By Steven Hayward

It is dated a bit but it is still a classic. Sphere: Related Content

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