Sunday, February 1, 2015

"Why Government Money Can't Fix Poverty"

A mini-documentary about public schools in Camden, NJ — "the poorest small town in America," and also "one of the highest-spending [school] districts in the nation."

"A lack of resources is not our problem. I actually despise that argument. I think it's a scapegoat. 'We need more money. If we had more money, we could do this, or do this.' It's just a Band-Aid for the problem. Why not address the real issue, which is what's broken right in front of you?" — Bridget Cusato-Rosa, Principal of Freedom Prep Charter School

"Is money important? Yes, the teachers must be well-paid, or you can't recruit teachers to work in Camden or Jersey City or Elizabeth. But . . . you look at urban salaries and they're paid very, very well, as are the principals and superintendents. So, that's not a money issue. . . . And the proof of the pudding is: it hasn't changed because of the money." — Saul Cooperman, former New Jersey State Commissioner of Education


wildswan said...

The saddest part of the public school mess is realizing that all the kids now failing could learn if the schools were different.

Michael The Magnificent said...

No, the saddest part is, a whole culture has figured out how to game the system so they don't need jobs, and therefore have no value for an education.

Andy Johnson said...

Poor parents know that the door to success is opened with education and self discipline. Our school system is run by government employees who are focused on their careers.

They need more training, new ciricilums, new facilities, more staff to supervise, larger budgets, bigger facilities. All of those check marks on the resume mean higher wages. Higher wages mean more money each percentage annual pay raise. All of which add up to higher retirement pay. Children are irrelevant and possibly a situation that could jeopardize their future. Therefore, they avoid contact and involvement.

The union staff are having careers. The bureaucrats are having careers. Politicians need donations to be re-elected. Nothing will change. The corruption is too entrenched. Too many families depend on the safe jobs with guaranteed pay increases.

We face a revolution or other extreme event before this nationwide phenomena changes. If ever.

cubanbob said...

Government money can in large part solve the problem by not being available. No welfare for high school dropouts. No welfare for teenage pregnancies. No welfare for second child.
With the right incentives, the problem largely resolves itself.

Anonymous said...

Michael The Magnificent, correct, and further exacerbated by a system of teacher's unions and administrators that totally block change, supported by dumb parents that won't vote out the losers, for the reasons you state.

Rumpletweezer said...

Public schools are based on a faulty business model. You may think the students and parents are the customers, but they aren't. The teachers and administrators are the customers.

Unknown said...

I work at a college whose students are largely from poor urban areas (and some rural). So I see the results of failed inner-city schools.

And it's not the teachers that are the problem. And as much as I dislike public sector unions, it's not really them either.

It's a decades-old welfare state that, while not ending poverty, has made living in poverty just easy enough to get millions of people comfy in their spots. In so doing, it's sapped virtually all initiative and hard work from poor families (and helped destroy traditional, nuclear families), thus making education, which is the best ladder out of poverty, a pipe dream for most.

Anonymous said...

The solution is available. First Charter Schools which break the unions and then Vouchers direct to parents so they can choose what's best for their children. Both programs are working very well in New Orleans which is 90% Charters and where LA state vouchers (a growing program) are available even for middle class families. Orf course, using DOJ, the Unions are fighting to the death to kill the New Orleans and LA reforms. Spread the Word.