No Taming This Shrew


She can be taught!

I went out for Mexican with some folks last night, educators all, and finally got the school system figured out. I've been so flummoxed by how No Child Left Behind works when the money seems to be coming from somewhere else. So I had a public school teacher and a private school teacher in my clutches and I made them teach me a thing or two.

Maybe you all already knew this -- if so, apologies. Maybe you can correct the parts that I remember hazily after the tasty margaritas. So: money for schools comes from property taxes in a city or county. The city or county council then allocates those funds to schools on whatever byzantine system they have devised. It is rarely demographic, seemingly. Largely those funds head towards the "middle managers," namely people who are "cluster directors" of fields like science or social studies. (Our table really enjoyed the title "cluster directors.") The classrooms get very little actual financial support.

While this trickle down is happening, the Department of Education and No Child Left Behind are providing less than 10% of the fiscal support for public schools. 10%. So they've (the feds) added to the burden of overworked teachers while necessitating a middle management ring to handle the bureaucracy, thereby guaranteeing that funds never get to the kids themselves. And of course, the schools must perform without money as well.

I've been trying to figure out why the public schools are so screwed up in this country for years, and this really cleared it up for me. Everything works to suck money away from the classroom. I think public school teachers should be paid more than corporate lawyers, for starters, but then I know myself that the funds need to head straight into that teacher's classroom budgets. Books and field trips and technology, o my!

So from the Department of Education on down, Education majors are sustaining themselves and their progeny, yes? We need more supervisors who have nothing to do with classrooms! Talk about those who cannot do, do what they can to mess up those who teach...

(Seriously, if I've messed up the math on this, I hope someone corrects me. I think I've got the gist here...)