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How to Make American Schools Better: Cut Their Funding

Written by Gary North on August 21, 2012

The great myth of all government bureaucrats is this: if the taxpayers shovel in more money, performance will increase. The opposite is usually true. Cut a budget, and performance increases.

The best example in America life of the failure of the “spend more, and results improve” is tax-funded K-12 education.

I graduated from high school in 1959. Five years later, SAT scores began to decline. They have never gotten back to 1963’s scores.

It was in 1964 that Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society programs got rolling, including federal money for public education.

In 1959, the typical high school class had a student-teacher ratio above 30-to-1. Today, it is half this.

Small class sizes end when students go off to college. If small classes are good for education, why do colleges stick 100 to 1,000 students in a lecture hall? Why are discussion groups at least 25 students?

Because in college, there are no disciplinary problems. The thugs don’t go to college.

Solution: expel the thugs, early. But school districts are paid by the state in terms of students enrolled. Principals keep the thugs on campus. You get what you pay for. State funding pays for thugs.

In a recent speech, Obama claimed that the federal government must spend $25 billion to subsidize school districts. There have been 300,000 layoffs in teachers. He challenged Congress to come up with the money.

This was a election-year speech. He knows Congress will not come up with the money. But that is not my main point. My main point is this: the fat in the school system is blatant.

Administration absorbs far more than is necessary. The more money that goes to administration, the worse the schools get: more violence, lower test scores.

The classes could easily be doubled in size. Performance would increase, if the disciplinary problems were expelled. Teachers could teach.

If we really wanted better schools, we would enforce these rules: “Cut funding. Expel thugs.”

Meanwhile, a 13-year-old honor student is threatened with expulsion if she does not remove a photo of her softball team from her notebook. This is American public education. It is run by people without any sense.

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8 thoughts on “How to Make American Schools Better: Cut Their Funding

  1. get rid of the unions, dire the incompetent and keep teachers who are QUALIFIED in the system….my preference is VOUCHERS….allow the parents to SELECT a school for their kids that will help weed out the system …withold funding from failing schools…evidently they are not interested in really teaching only collecting a check from the taxpayers

  2. dick Grace says:

    The solution is obvious to everyone but politicians and educators. Give the money to the states and allow the parents to choose which school to send the money to in tuition grants. Problem solved. No department of education, no teachers unions and much better education. Education has gone downhill since the 1950's with no end in sight. We pay more per student for education in this country than any other country and get an inferior product. Educators are just another hog at the the feed trough.

  3. I agree with the facts in this conversation so far; throwing MORE MONEY into education has done NOTHING towards improving the outcome! Being NOT Politically Correct, let's call a spade, a spade……our American education system took a nose dive when INTEGRATION became the law of the land!!! Standards were lowered and social promotions became common practice! MONEY and MORE MONEY was wasted on any and all PC methods to correct the problems! The thugs and their parents couldn't care less! NO amount of MONEY will correct what's been done! America was changed in the early 60's and NO politician will address the true facts. Equality in the negatives is the law of the land. To accomadate equality, everything must take backwards steps! The "Give Me/You OWE Me" population in America now controls our country. The ACLU and Liberal courts strengthen this attitude and America suffers…..education continues to fail———

  4. 2WarAbnVet says:

    The NEA (union) basically began to take over education in this country in 1966, and the quality of learning has been going downhill ever since.

  5. Poor Taxpayer says:

    10/25/50 These are the numbers in Vermont during the last five years! 10% fewer students, 25 % more staff, and 50% budget increase, combined with a decline in SAT performance. Thank you unionized school system and gutless state governent!

  6. Decentralizing will certainly help but ultimately the problem of public schools is public schools. Letting parents choose where to take their tax collected money will not solve the problem. Because who defines what constitutes as a proper school where parents will be "allowed" to take their children? It will be bureaucrats as always and their values are always out of synch with the parents and that will NEVER change no matter what.

    The voucher scheme won't work because the same bureaucrats who indoctrinate will still have the power to define what schools are acceptable. The only solution is private schools. The problem is that parents don't value education that highly for their children. They say "we can't afford those prices" but they can afford playstations etc. They are cheapskates.

    Here is an article by Murray Rothbard on this problem which explains it much more clearly. http://www.lewrockwell.com/rothbard/ir/Ch10.html

  7. Getting rid of incompetent students would have (by far) the single biggest impact on American education. It would allocate resources spent on discipline, administration, and security toward education; but even without this positive effect the test score mean would necessarily rise. Given that much of the debate on the state of education hinges on the almighty standardized test scores, and the US's education relative to other nations, this would at the very least given politicians one less thing to ignorantly blame each other for.

    Robert Weissberg's "Bad Students not Bad Schools" is a necessary read for anyone interested in the education "woes" the country faces. He ruthlessly discredits idiotic and acronym-laden cure-all education solutions devised by administrators and educational "experts" with PhDs but no classroom experience using a carefully researched and defended thesis. Weissburg lists five essential parts that are needed for a student to learn what society deems important–and at the top of this list is student intelligence. Until we disavow egalitarianism and recognize student limitation–any goals will be unrealistic. Especially in a country with a growing number of NAMs (non-Asian minorities) that are genetically and culturally predisposed toward lower IQ and hence, learning ability.

    As the country debates universal health care, I wish we could move the conversation to universal education–which is taken as a given. The amount of tax money wasted in education should be looked at from this angle as well. Not only are our schools not worth the money spent on them, the money spent on them could be allocated much, much better by the private sector. Without mandatory education, the children who are unable to succeed in school won't be forced to go through the motions. They can more quickly look for occupations/activities that they enjoy–things like repairing cars, welding, construction, etc. Schools will compete on the marketplace like any other service, and parents who are serious about sending their kids have choices about what school is the best value. Added bonuses include the avoidance of the nasty social debates we see on school boards. Christian schools can have prayer, teach creationism, theology, apologetics, religious history, etc. while secular schools will no doubt open up for people that want their students taught evolution or liberal sex education. Parents who object to ciricula can petition the school to change policy, but can also more easily change schools. After all, their tax money isn't be spent on education. The money they save on taxes can be spent on private education they wouldn't have been able to afford before.

  8. jerry1944 says:

    Get rid of unions, put God back in class and not a muslumm cult BUT God, get rid of the ACLU, declip,im back in school and not KIDS RIGHTS. and it mite help not to have lib teachers