Show Me the Money

1 Nov

Just read two articles from Sunday’s local paper regarding education. Very interesting. And it just shows to me, yet again, that big government bureaucracies are so ineffective.

The first article was just a little blurb from Parade (Sunday, October 28, 2007, page 10) entitled “Making a Profit Off Kids”. Not surprisingly, the school testing and testing services industry are making a bundle. Tutoring agencies, test prep courses, and the tests themselves are generating $2.3 billions a year and only five major companies control 90% of the statewide testing revenue. Schools across the country are increasing the number of tests administered to their students and parents are scrambling to get their kids the resources needed to pass these tests. All this activity and profit is a direct result of the No Child Left Behind Law. Schools are trying to fulfill the requirements of this law.

Isn’t it interesting how a few companies are able to profit from this law? And what is it actually benefiting any school or child? Hmmn…

Has anyone watched PBS? Did you notice how many of those children’s programs receive grants from No Child Left Behind? Why isn’t that money going straight to families? Or at the very least going to the schools? Hmmn…

The second article, from the Belleville News Democrat, Sunday, October 28, 2007, front page A1, “Educators seek passage of funding bill”. You guessed it. It’s about money again. The state of Illinois has budgeted a $600 million increase in state education funding (this coming from a state that is nearly bankrupt). Ah, but here’s the rub. They can’t give that money to the schools until they pass an implementation bill that tells the schools how to spend that money. HAHAHAHA. That’s right. The schools still don’t have the money. And as of this report the Illinois General Assembly has not passed the bill. Go figure.

So why do we continue to expect the government to make real changes in the education system? I can’t figure this out. From my experience the whole system is beyond fixing. Some people think that because they live in a good neighborhood they can send their kids to a good school. But those schools are still part of the same failing system.

I’ve been working on editing the state learning standards. Those standards outline exactly what schools are supposed to be covering in their curriculum. And yet, while going through those standards, I saw repeatedly topics that were not covered by my son’s school. How many parents know about this? Kids are passing, but they are still getting ripped off.

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