Reading, Writing, Recession
The aim of education should be to teach us rather how to think, than what to think – rather to improve our minds, so as to enable us to think for ourselves, than to load the memory with thoughts of other men. ~ Bill Beattie
The goal of education should be teach others to think critically. Who, what, where, when and how are important. However, the most important question is, “Why?” This question is often not asked enough and even, less frequently, answered.
A 2008 study from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) entitled Report Card on American Education: A State-by-State Analysis ranked public elementary and secondary education in the nation. They analyzed factors such as test scores, money spent per child, teacher salaries, etc.
Overall, Georgia ranked 44/51 (Washington DC schools are included). Georgia’s average teacher’s pay is 18/51 in the nation and we rank 30/51 in expenditures per pupil. ACT and SAT test scores in Georgia rank 41/51 and 48/51, respectively. Georgia ranks 23rd in the nation when measuring student-teacher ratio.
Minnesota is ranked as the best school system (1/51). The average teacher’s pay is 17/51 in the nation, they rank 22/51 in expenditures per pupil. 23/51 in student-teacher ratios and for ACT and SAT scores, they are ranked 9/51 and 2/51 respectively.
The ever-important question, “Why”. Why the disparity between Georgia and Minnesota? Not sure, but increasing salaries, spending more money per student or even building more schools to decrease the student/teacher ratios do not appear to have the desired effect. There is no “magic bullet” that will fix Georgia’s education problems immediately and spending more money, clearly, does not solve the problem.
In spite of the rhetoric from various groups, the General Assembly is not “balancing the budget on our children’s backs” or “sacrificing our children to balance the budget”. The Governor’s budget recommendations propose that 57% of Georgia’s FY2011 budget be spent on education; 67% of that is slated for K-12 education.
Insanity is defined as doing the same thing over & over but expecting different results. Doubling-down on spending while revenues decline is not a good idea and does not solve Georgia’s $1 billion budget problem.
Report Card on American Education: A State-by-State Analysis http://www.alec.org/am/pdf/ReportCard08.pdf
Georgia Report Card: http://www.alec.org/am/pdf/education/2008_report_card/georgia08.pdf
Minnesota Report Card: http://www.alec.org/am/pdf/education/2008_report_card/minn08.pdf
Georgia Budget FY2011: http://www.opb.state.ga.us/media/12300/state_of_georgia_budget_fy_2011.pdf (page 12)
American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC): http://www.alec.org//AM/Template.cfm?Section=Home