Education–We’re Doomed

I read this in yesterday’s NY Times:

“…the best of China is now scoring better than anywhere else in the world. America’s 15-year-olds ranked 14th in reading skills, 17th in science and 25th in math, below the average.”

What is happening? We shovel money to the schools and our students perform like this?  I couldn’t find any data on China’s spending per pupil in US dollars, but I did see an article that said it is close to the spending levels in Latin America – which I see is less than half of what we spend. Seems they are getting better results than we are.

Our high school here in Batavia recently put up a $70,000,000 addition – for a drama auditorium and new athletic fieldhouse. Maybe that’s the problem – we spend more on drama and sports than we do on reading, math and science. Drama and sports will not make us competitive in the 21st century. We have serious problems facing us and we need serious, smart people to tackle them.


Perplexio said…
I've been reading some commentary on this on some of the political blogs I read (in particular The Rational Capitalist and The Drunken Conservatives (commentary with a slur).

Basically the gist from the right is that it's not how much money we throw at the problem its how that money gets spent. We keep increasing spending on education but we aren't seeing the results because so much of that money is being, as you have rightly indicated, misspent. Maybe if federal education money were incentivized it would improve education... All schools get a base amount determined by the cost of living in the area(s) where their schools are located. Any additional funds over and above those base amounts would be rewarded more money based on improved test scores, decreased dropout rates, etc. and the additional funds could be used for the extracirricular "perks" (new auditoriums, field houses, athletic facilities, etc.)

Another idea for funding athletic facilities at public schools-- have schools partner with area fitness centers. For example have fitness centers run promos where a portion of membership costs go to local school district athletic equipment and facilities. Possibly they could even donate equipment to school districts as they upgrade to the latest/greatest/newest models. This would be an investment in potential future business for them... instill in the students a respect for and love of fitness and those students may very well become their customers once they graduate and have entered the workforce.

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