DC officially has the lowest graduation rate in the country this year.
Only 59% of seniors graduated last year. To give you some perspective, the graduation rate the year before 76%.
Not the belabor the point, but that means that for every 100 students in Washington DC in the 2010-2011 school year, only 59 of them graduated.
In case you were wondering, this is not good.
A study done in 2010 by the Cato Institute found that schools in Washington D.C. were spending over $28,000 per student on public education.
Iowa had the highest graduation rate (88%) and you know how much THEY spent per student in 2009?
Because I thought that the teacher’s unions kept saying that schools need MORE money to succeed. Seems like they might have that backwards.
At the very least, correlation does not equal causation, probably something teachers should know.
Vermont came in at 87% and spends $17,847 per student.
Wisconsin also was at 87% and spends $11,783.
North Dakota, New Hampshire, Nebraska, Indiana, Tennessee and Texas all came in at 86% and spend between $8,654 and $13,519 per student.*
Not only are these states spending FAR less than DC, they are coming in markedly higher in graduation rates. Something is off about this picture if the teacher’s unions are telling the truth. (hint: they aren’t).
Not to bore you with numbers, but the bottom tier schools came in anywhere between $8,363 and DC’s numbers, which report as the highest school spending based on the Cato study.
The truth is that there is something VERY wrong with education in this country and it’s not something that more money is going to fix. Look at this chart prepared by Cato. Education funding has, almost literally, skyrocketed since 1970. Test scores, however, have remained remarkably stagnant.
Teacher’s Unions are the problem here.
I feel very strongly about education reform. If you are the least bit interested in it, I recommend the documentary Waiting for Superman. (Though Michelle Rhee, former school super-intendent for DC, who plays a large part in the documentary has lost a lot of my respect for her recent push to work with teachers unions, rather than beat them into the ground with their own incompetence.)
Other than beating the teacher’s unions with a very big stick, the only other solution is school choice, charter schools, and school vouchers. (Or, if you can manage it, homeschooling, which I am a product of) A couple of studies and books on the subject, that I would recommend are Education and Capitalism and a study from the Economics of Education Review, called ‘Can Parents Choose the Best Schools for Their Children?’ (In case you can’t access that journal yourself, here’s a summary: They can) and this Heritage foundation study.
I know this isn’t a typical post from me, but it’s a topic we need to be pressing. I know the 2014 elections will be important. I know Obamacare is terrible. I know that our foreign policy is in shambles.
But our children are the future of this country. If we allow their education to be destroyed then the future of this country has no hope.
*numbers from kidscount.org, 2009 spending. This site, unlike the Cato study is using district reported numbers, the Cato study reports higher expenditures than are usually reported, in my major cities.