News: Funding, Construction and Patriotism

SCRG President Randy page editorializes in the Greenville News about the need to dramatically reform state funding of K-12 public education.

Rather than giving money to school districts via categories and programs, South Carolina should adopt one universal formula for all K-12 educational spending. A single weighted funding formula, specifically adjusted for the characteristics and situation of each child, offers built-in transparency and equity. It will free local educators to provide a more appropriate and responsive learning environment. This focused model of weighted per pupil allocation is commonly called “backpacking” or “smart funding…”

Professional educators and career politicians often speak of massive funding inequalities and system-wide underfunding. Few voters realize South Carolina already spends $200 more per student than neighboring Georgia, and $2,000 more than North Carolina. Also lost in the posturing is that fact that South Carolina’s lowest-income communities already receive state and federal funding almost twice that of wealthier neighborhoods.

A just system of education is one in which every child has equal access to the opportunities afforded by effective instruction. By focusing public support on the individual student, rather than bureaucratically dictated programs and categories, our state can move closer to realizing such a system.

FitsNews blogger exposes the widespread use of over-estimation and deception by bureaucrats looking to justify more spending on school construction projects.

…Architecturally, the current core capacity for Lexington-Richland Five’s schools is 21,200 students – which is well above the district’s current student population of 16,505. Additionally, the student population this year is actually less than it was last year – by about 70 students.

Yet for some reason, the district spent $1.3 million this year on 22 portable classrooms – 17 of which went to the Irmo cluster of schools, which actually lost about 300 students from last year’s enrollment. These portables, of course, are displayed prominently right out in the front of the school as a way to showcase the “pressing need” for additional facilities.

Hoover Institute Fellow Thomas Sowell laments the role of public educators in rewriting history for political purposes on ekodaily.com.

In France, after the First World War, the teachers’ unions launched a systematic purge of textbooks, in order to promote internationalism and pacifism. Books that depicted the courage and self-sacrifice of soldiers who had defended France against the German invaders were called “bellicose” books to be banished from the schools. Textbook publishers caved in to the power of the teachers’ unions, rather than lose a large market for their books. History books were sharply revised to conform to internationalism and pacifism. The once epic story of the French soldiers’ heroic defense against the German invaders at Verdun, despite the massive casualties suffered by the French, was now transformed into a story of horrible suffering by all soldiers at Verdun – French and German alike. In short, soldiers once depicted as national heroes were now depicted as victims – and just like victims in other nations’ armies.

…Most Americans today are unaware of how much our schools have followed in the footsteps of the French schools of the 1920s and 1930s, or how much our intellectuals have become citizens of the world instead of American patriots.Our media are busy verbally transforming American combat troops from heroes into victims, just as the French intelligentsia did – with the added twist of calling this “supporting the troops.”

Will that matter? Time will tell.

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