Earlier, in Ravitch: 1 – Gates and Duncan: 0, I commented on the ridiculousness of Arne Duncan pitching what he called “The New Normal: Doing More with Less” as his suggestion for how to handle the current crises in education, especially around education finance.
The insightful post below, by Bruce Baker, offers a compelling series of graphs showing education finance reality as opposed to education finance fear mongering which is omnipresent in the blogosphere and mainstream media these days, and echoed by our Secretary of Education. I find his Figure 5 most telling. Figure 5: Relationship Between State & Local Revenue per Pupil (for high poverty districts) & NAEP Mean Scale Scores
I hope the figures in this post catch the eye of someone like Ezra Klein, who apparently likes topics with charts and figures, so he comments positively about them so Alexander Russo, and other edubloggers pick up on it as well…one can only hope…that would give me faith that the blogging community truly is fair and balanced, or at least some of it…
The concluding paragraph from Mr. Baker’s post is below for those of you who simply wish to cut to the punch line. But do take time to look at the data in his post. It will help you defend against assertions that educational spending is skyrocketing, unrelated to student achievement, or other similar, nonsensical statements.
“The New Normal argument that we must cut back our bloated education budgets and increase class sizes and pupil to teacher ratios back to reasonable levels is, at best, based on the shallowest understanding of (hyper-aggregated & overstated) national “trends” in education spending and pupil to teacher ratios, coupled with complete obliviousness to the variations in effort and spending and pupil to teacher ratios that exist across states, and for that matter, the demographic trends in some states which make it appear as if education spending has spiraled out of control (Vermont). That is, if we assume that those pitching-tweeting-blogging The New Normal have even the first clue about trends in education spending, state school finance systems, and the quality of public schooling across states to begin with. Personally, I’m not sure they do. In fact, I’m increasingly convinced they don’t.”http://schoolfinance101.wordpress.com/2010/12/23/is-it-the-new-normal-or-the-new-stupid/