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Old 11-16-2006, 06:50 PM   #16
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Originally posted by yolland
Anyone know why it is that local property taxes account for such a large percentage of public school funds in the US? So far as I know, we are just about the only country that does it this way.
My response to this is very cynical -- so I hope others add their knowledge of these issues into the mix.
I think that using property taxes to fund public schools has been a way of maintining more local control over local schools -- a critical issue for many. It has also helped to maintain the status quo (sp?). People who can afford to live in "good" neighborhoods can afford to fund "good" schools -- that people who live in other neighborhoods cannot attend. While this may not have been the goal, it has had the result of maintaining many types of segregation -- including racial segregation and economic segregation -- in some areas to some extent. The result has often been that individuals who have the least resouces can only attend schools that have the least; and those who have the most resources get to attend schools that are better funded (more expensive properties and/or higher property taxes + more available funds).
If we think of all Americans as "created equal" -- it would seem to follow that educational opportunities and resources should be equally distributed, particularly for primary students. That's not the case.
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Old 11-16-2006, 07:11 PM   #17
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Originally posted by DILETTANTE
The result has often been that individuals who have the least resouces can only attend schools that have the least; and those who have the most resources get to attend schools that are better funded (more expensive properties and/or higher property taxes + more available funds).
This isn't necessarily true. The school where I teach is in a "well-off" area. We're one of the most cash-strapped schools in the district because we don't receive any direct federal funding. Other "poor" schools, in neighborhoods with rental units and motels as student residences, receive tens of thousands of dollars per year in federal funds.
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Old 11-16-2006, 07:17 PM   #18
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Here is a question which I hope doesn't come across as flippant because I am truly curious - how much does money matter in the efficient delivery of education?

If we look at scores in areas like math and science (little point to compare language scores with countries where English is not the mother tongue), the US ranks rather poorly. And in fact, is often below countries which are substantially poorer and whose students attend schools with less funding, worse facilities, teachers who are paid peanuts in comparison, etc. So is money the big problem here at the end of the day or are there deeper and more complicated issues that explain the score discrepancies?
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Old 11-16-2006, 07:24 PM   #19
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So is money the big problem here at the end of the day or are there deeper and more complicated issues that explain the score discrepancies?
Yes.

And no.

More money here would mean smaller class sizes (instead of my 35 in two grades), which would mean more effective instructional delivery.


Score discrepancies are more affected by parental participation than any politician wants to acknowledge. The parents who work with their kids on organizational skills, who read to and with their kids, who limit their kids' TV access, who monitor their kids' activities, who help with homework, are going to have kids who have a better chance to succeed.
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Old 11-16-2006, 07:26 PM   #20
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Yes. As I understand the programs -- at least in this area -- vouchers can -- and usually are-- used for private schools. It is probably not a coincidence that the most reasonably priced schools are often "faith-based" -- including Catholic schools.
Which is why many parochial schools aren't all that keen on vouchers. If they take public money, they have to admit the public. If they stay private, they can choose who they admit based on any criteria they set.

If they start having to admit the public, I think you'll see their rarified achievemant start to falter.
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Old 11-16-2006, 07:32 PM   #21
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Originally posted by martha
Score discrepancies are more affected by parental participation than any politician wants to acknowledge. The parents who work with their kids on organizational skills, who read to and with their kids, who limit their kids' TV access, who monitor their kids' activities, who help with homework, are going to have kids who have a better chance to succeed.
Yeah, that's why I suggested a link between that (i.e. parental influence) and the socioeconomic demographic of the school earlier.

So do the "poor" schools in your area have better facilities, then? and/or better academic reputations? Because if so, then your area is nothing like anywhere I've ever lived.

It seems like you'd need a lot more than "tens of thousands" to make up for having an impoverished tax base, though--the national average annual expenditure per student for public schools (regardless of funding source) is around $8500, I believe. I've no idea what the average would be in CA. Although--isn't CA one of those states where state funding actually accounts for a greater share than local?
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Old 11-16-2006, 07:52 PM   #22
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So do the "poor" schools in your area have better facilities, then? and/or better academic reputations? Because if so, then your area is nothing like anywhere I've ever lived.
No. They do terribly on the tests that determine everything; mostly because the tests are given in English and most of the students aren't yet fluent in English. My school is second from the top in our district; our EL population can be counted on one hand. The poorer schools have better computer labs than we have, but not better test scores.



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Originally posted by yolland
I've no idea what the average would be in CA. Although--isn't CA one of those states where state funding actually accounts for a greater share than local?
I don't know the answer to this. I do know that CA is low on the list of per student funding, but I don't know where we are now. One of my state's problems was/is good old Proposition 13, which cut property tax revenue by bazillions of dollars, which in turn has affected school funding here for decades. I can't say too much though; one of the reasons we can afford to live in our house is the low property tax base we inherited from Steve's dad.
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Old 11-16-2006, 08:39 PM   #23
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As to the issue of using government money for a private school, welll, on the one hand, that's already happening for some special education students, where the public schools can't meet their needs.

Interesting. Around here, it's dead opposite. While the Christian high school scores better than ALL of the schools (public and private) on the tests designed to prove that public schools can score as well, the special ed programs are very small and are desperate for funding. Most kids with specialized needs are recommended to the public schools, since they get plenty of money from the gov't whereas we get none. Also, public school teachers and aids make 2-3 times as much. Some of my high school teachers were qualified to be college professors, but only make 24K/yr. There are private donors, but they like their money to go towards big projects, like The Richard and Helen de Vos Center for Arts and Worship (aka The CAW, the highschool's new auditorium and dance studio).


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On the other side, most private schools do have some scholarship students -- so, one way to view the voucher is that it's the money that would have been spent to educate the student in public school, that can move with the student as a voucher to be spent on tuition at a private school.
Hmm....none of the private schools here have any sort of scholarship. Some of the churches help their members, depending on the church you belong to and/or your need. So, it's still really not fair to say "the money that would have been spent...." because on one side, the government is giving a handout and on the other side, parents are taking on second and third mortgages and working overtime because the government assumes they are "rich" enough to pay the eight grand on their own.

Personally, I don't think any parent should feel they have no choice than to send their kids to a private school. That's how mine felt. They would've been happy sending us to the public schools and saving religion for the home and church, but the public schools here are terrible academically and have become downright dangerous.

I think the main problem is that many parents just don't care. It's not my place to judge or make assumptions about why they don't care, but handing someone a piece of paper worth 9k so their kid can go to a good school is not a great way of getting them involved and invested in their child's education.
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Old 11-16-2006, 10:10 PM   #24
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[ Most kids with specialized needs are recommended to the public schools, since they get plenty of money from the gov't whereas we get none. ]


I may have worded this poorly. I think that students in private schools are eligible for at least some special education services -- but in practice, I have no idea how this works. What I was referring to was parents who establish that the school system cannot meet their child's educational needs, may end up getting public funds to pay for their child's education in a private school setting. An example of this would be a student with severe physical or emotional handicaps who needs a very specialized setting.



.[ So, it's still really not fair to say "the money that would have been spent...." because on one side, the government is giving a handout and on the other side, parents are taking on second and third mortgages and working overtime because the government assumes they are "rich" enough to pay the eight grand on their own.


Personally, I don't think any parent should feel they have no choice than to send their kids to a private school. That's how mine felt. They would've been happy sending us to the public schools and saving religion for the home and church, but the public schools here are terrible academically and have become downright dangerous.

I think the main problem is that many parents just don't care. It's not my place to judge or make assumptions about why they don't care, but handing someone a piece of paper worth 9k so their kid can go to a good school is not a great way of getting them involved and invested in their child's education. [/B][/QUOTE]


I'm not sure how to address a lot of what you've said. Every child has access to a free public school education. The option(s) available may not be ones that a parent wants -- but the options are there. So if a parent chooses a private school option for their child -- this is a choice. And I would assume that the parents making this choice have decided that it's worth the sacrifices that they make.
I'm not sure what you mean by your assumption that "many parents just don't care". Who are you talking about -- and what are you basing this on? I wouldn't assume that a parent who lacks property to mortgage, or transportation to get a student to an out of zone school doesn't "care" -- or doesn't have the same concerns about violence or class size, or educational philosopy that a parent with more resources to access a wider array of options might have.
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Old 11-16-2006, 10:14 PM   #25
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Sorry I messed up the "quoted" bits from Liesje's post. If it's unclear, let me know, and I"ll try to untangle it.
The second paragraph is my response to Liesje's comments in the first one. And the last paragraph is my response to the bracketed bits -- quotes -- that preceed it. Again, sorry. I'm kinda new at this.....
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Old 11-16-2006, 11:23 PM   #26
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Originally posted by DILETTANTE
I may have worded this poorly. I think that students in private schools are eligible for at least some special education services -- but in practice, I have no idea how this works. What I was referring to was parents who establish that the school system cannot meet their child's educational needs, may end up getting public funds to pay for their child's education in a private school setting. An example of this would be a student with severe physical or emotional handicaps who needs a very specialized setting.
I don't have any problem with children who have special needs getting extra funds or preferential treatment. Like I said, at least where I live, the public schools system has access to WAY more money and resources, so extra funding for these kids isn't even necessary since the public school is already free The private school's special ed program isn't nearly as good, so no public school kid would want or need funding to get into the private school's program.

Quote:
Every child has access to a free public school education. The option(s) available may not be ones that a parent wants -- but the options are there. So if a parent chooses a private school option for their child -- this is a choice. And I would assume that the parents making this choice have decided that it's worth the sacrifices that they make.
Of course every child does, but the point is that what many kids do have access to pretty much sucks. If I had gone to the public high school, I would've been forced to attend a HUGE over crowded school where the passing rate is 50% and that's even WITH the insanely easy grading scale. This school has had many, many instances of violence on- and off-campus. Just last month a kid pulled out a gun at school. It's gotten to the point where education is not even the main issue, it's safety. I don't think parents should have to choose between public and private education based on safety.

If kids are going to be forced into which schools the government allows them to attend, there should be more than one choice.
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Old 11-17-2006, 01:12 AM   #27
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Originally posted by Liesje


If kids are going to be forced into which schools the government allows them to attend, there should be more than one choice.


There's also charter schools in some areas. Still publicly funded but freed of some of the regulations and bureaucracy endemic to our public school system. And held accountable for their results...what a concept.
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Old 11-17-2006, 01:19 AM   #28
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There's also charter schools in some areas. Still publicly funded but freed of some of the regulations and bureaucracy endemic to our public school system. And held accountable for their results...what a concept.
Not all charter schools are successful. Many are, of course, but there are more than a few with some serious issues.
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Old 11-17-2006, 01:23 AM   #29
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Originally posted by DILETTANTE
I think that students in private schools are eligible for at least some special education services -- but in practice, I have no idea how this works. What I was referring to was parents who establish that the school system cannot meet their child's educational needs, may end up getting public funds to pay for their child's education in a private school setting. An example of this would be a student with severe physical or emotional handicaps who needs a very specialized setting.
Federal law requires the local education agency (LEA) to provide special education services for anyone who needs them from ages 3 to 21. If a private school is unable to meet the needs of these students, the LEA must provide the services. On the other hand, some kids have needs that cannot be met in a public school setting. Federal law requires that the LEA contract with a private school that can meet those needs. This comes out of the public school district's funds. Of course, the federal government requires it, but doesn't fund it, no matter what the cost.
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Old 11-17-2006, 01:36 AM   #30
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Not all charter schools are successful. Many are, of course, but there are more than a few with some serious issues.
No doubt. The same can be said of any enterprise I suppose. If they aren't fulfilling the intentions of their charter then they should be closed.
Besides providing choice, I think what I like most about charter schools is their ability to fire inept teachers. All but impossible in public schools is it not?
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