Tag Archives: Schools

Has increased education spending in schools improved student performance in test scores?

When I want a raise, I work harder, but these teachers hold up signs
When I want a raise, I work harder, but lazy teachers quit working to hold signs

One of my friends has been having a debate with one of his former teachers about whether spending more money on government-run education improves tests scores. He tried posting some evidence, but she just dismissed that by claiming:

  1. If we hadn’t spent more money, then the student test scores would have gone down instead of staying the same.
  2. Most of the money that government spends on education goes to vouchers and private schools, not public schools
  3. Economists at prestigious think tanks like that Cato Institute, the Heritage Foundation, and the American Enterprise Institute cannot be trusted to accurately cite the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the National Center for Education Statistics because of the Koch Brothers
  4. You can’t compare the test scores of American students with the test scores of Asian students who outperform them, (for less government spending), because math is different in Asia compared to America

Let’s look at some data and see if her arguments are correct.

Does more spending mean higher student performance?

National Review reported on data collected in the National Assessment of Educational Progress, which spans all 50 states.

Look:

Comparing educational achievement with per-pupil spending among states also calls into question the value of increasing expenditures. While high-spending Massachusetts had the nation’s highest proficiency scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, low-spending Idaho did very well, too. South Dakota ranks 42nd in per-pupil expenditures but eighth in math performance and ninth in reading. The District of Columbia, meanwhile, with the nation’s highest per-pupil expenditures ($15,511 in 2007), scores dead last in achievement.

The student test scores are dead last, but National Review notes that “according to the National Center for Education Statistics, Washington, D.C. was spending an average of $27,460 per pupil in 2014, the most recent year for which data are available.” They are spending the most per-pupil, but their test scores are dead last.

CBS News reported on another recent study confirming this:

Decades of increased taxpayer spending per student in U.S. public schools has not improved student or school outcomes from that education, and a new study finds that throwing money at the system is simply not tied to academic improvements.

The study from the CATO Institute shows that American student performance has remained poor, and has actually declined in mathematics and verbal skills, despite per-student spending tripling nationwide over the same 40-year period.

“The takeaway from this study is that what we’ve done over the past 40 years hasn’t worked,” Andrew Coulson, director of the Center For Educational Freedom at the CATO Institute, told Watchdog.org. “The average performance change nationwide has declined 3 percent in mathematical and verbal skills. Moreover, there’s been no relationship, effectively, between spending and academic outcomes.”

The study, “State Education Trends: Academic Performance and Spending over the Past 40 Years,” analyzed how billions of increased taxpayer dollars, combined with the number of school employees nearly doubling since 1970, to produce stagnant or declining academic results.

“The performance of 17-year-olds has been essentially stagnant across all subjects despite a near tripling of the inflation-adjusted cost of putting a child through the K-12 system,” writes Coulson.

Where did the numbers come from? The Koch Brothers? No:

Data from the U.S. Department of Education incorporating public school costs, number of employees, student enrollment and SAT scores was analyzed to explore the disparity between increased spending and decreasing or stagnant academic results.

Well, at least government-run monopoly schools outperform private private schools, right? No:

[…][P]rivate schools, where students excel over public school peers, …manage to operate at budgets about 34 percent lower than taxpayer-funded schools, US Finance Post reports.

Public schools spend, on average, $11,000 per student, per year.

Coulson noted an Arizona study he conducted which showed that the average per-pupil spending at private schools was only about 66 percent of the cost of public schools.

A more recent state-specific study from 2016 found that this is still the case.

This problem gets even worse when you look at test scores from other countries, where even less is spent on education.

As the Washington Post reported at the end of 2016:

When it comes to math, U.S. high school students are falling further behind their international counterparts, according to results released Tuesday of an ongoing study that compares academic achievement in 73 countries. And the news is not much better in reading and science literacy, where U.S. high schoolers have not gained any ground and continue to trail students in a slew of developed countries around the globe.

In the latest Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) measuring math literacy in 2015, U.S. students ranked 40th in the world. The U.S. average math score of 470 represents the second decline in the past two assessments — down from 482 in 2012 and 488 in 2009. The U.S. score in 2015 was 23 points lower than the average of all of the nations taking part in the survey.

More money is being spent, but the scores are DECREASING.

Now, why is it that increased government spending in the public school monopoly doesn’t improve student performance? Well, one reason is that very little of the money makes it to the classroom.

Where does all the money go?

Let’s look at four places where the money spent on the government-run public school monopoly ends up.

Administration

First, a lot of it gets paid to administrations who implement politically correct programs designed to turn the impressionable young people into little secular socialists.

Here’s a helpful chart from the American Enterprise Institute:

Where does taxpayer money spent on the public school monopoly go?
Where does taxpayer money spent on the public school monopoly go?

I guess if a school wants to make things like Planned Parenthood sex education and LGBT indoctrination into priorities, then they would need more administrators.

Pensions

Second, education employees get enormous pensions, which are paid by taxpayers and negotiated by their unions. You would never see pensions this large in the private sector.

This is from the leftist Brookings Institute, from 2014:

This figure shows we now spend nearly $1,100 per student on retirement benefits. The average public school student teacher ratio is 16 to 1. So we are spending about $17,000 per year per teacher in pension contributions.

[…]The National Council on Teacher Quality writes,

In 2014 teacher pension systems had a total of a half trillion dollars in unfunded liabilities—a debt load that climbed more than $100 billion in just the last two years. Across the states, an average of 70 cents of every dollar contributed to state teacher pension systems goes toward paying off the ever-increasing pension debt, not to future teacher benefits (p. iii).

While we are spending a huge amount to fund teacher pensions, most of that spending doesn’t go to attracting the best teachers. It’s paying off past debts.

We can’t hire good teachers, because all the education spending of today is paying for the gold-plated pensions of yesterday.

That was 2014. The numbers are even worse today. Teachers contribute very, very little to their pensions, but the benefits are enormous compared to what the private sector taxpayers get in Social Security. (Which is going to be bankrupt by 2034, as reported by the far-left PBS)

Teacher training

Third, a lot of it is spent on teacher training, because apparently teaching multiplication, Shakespeare or geography changes every year, so the teachers need tens of thousands of dollars in annual training.

The Washington Post reports on a recent study:

A new study of 10,000 teachers found that professional development — the teacher workshops and training that cost taxpayers billions of dollars each year — is largely a waste.

The study released Tuesday by TNTP, a nonprofit organization, found no evidence that any particular approach or amount of professional development consistently helps teachers improve in the classroom.

[…]The school districts that participated in the study spent an average of $18,000 per teacher annually on professional development. Based on that figure, TNTP estimates that the 50 largest school districts spend an estimated $8 billion on teacher development annually. That is far larger than previous estimates.

And teachers spend a good deal of time in training, the study found. The 10,000 teachers surveyed were in training an average of 19 school days a year, or almost 10 percent of a typical school year, according to TNTP.

Maybe if more of the money spent on education were spent directly on hiring teachers, then we would see an improvement. Unfortunately, a lot of the money meant for teachers goes to the teacher unions. How do they spend that money?

Political Contributions

Finally, this is from OpenSecrets.org, concerning political contributions made in the most recent election cycle:

Top Political Contributors in 2016 election cycle
Top Political Contributors in 2016 election cycle

The two largest teacher unions came in at #9 and #11. Most of their donations go to Democrat Party. Democrats believe (against the evidence) that spending more money in the government-run public school monopoly will improve student performance on tests.

So, what’s the solution?

The solution is that we abolish the federal Department of Education, which has done nothing to improve the quality of education for students. We need to push the education of children back down to the state and local levels. We need to empower parents to choose the schools that work best for their children by giving parents vouchers. We need to increase tax-free education savings accounts to help parents with school expenses. We should also give free college tuition to homeschooled students who are admitted to STEM programs at any college or university. We can take the money from the pensions of the union administrators, after we abolish ever single public sector teacher union in the country, and seize all their assets and pensions. If that’s not enough money, then we can seize all the pensions of Department of Education employees – a just punishment for their failure to produce results while still taking taxpayer money.

Finally, we should allow people who already have private sector experience doing things like STEM to become teachers. Let’s face it: the departments that grant Education degrees have the lowest entrance requirements, and produce the least competent adults. People with years of private sector work experience teach better than people with Education degrees. Let’s open up teaching to people who have experience in the private sector doing software engineering, statistics, nursing, etc. and then we’ll have qualified teachers.

New study: girls have higher GPAs and earn more graduate degrees than boys

Do female-dominated schools discriminate against boys?
Do female-dominated schools discriminate against boys?

This is from the Washington Examiner.

It says:

Young women are taking more honors classes, getting better grades and have a higher overall GPA than their male peers, according to a report compiling SAT Test data.

The report, released by the College Board, looked at the test scores of college-bound seniors in 2016, and reviewed high school data demographics. Girls, it turns out, are doing much better in high school than boys. In a chart compiled by American Enterprise Scholar Mark Perry, it’s clear that girls are outperforming boys on nearly every level in high school.

[…]Don’t expect to hear calls for helping boys perform better in school. Activists have focused so heavily on girls for years now that boys have gotten the message that they no longer matter. It’s what Christina Hoff Sommers wrote about in her book “The War Against Boys” nearly two decades ago.

What Perry noted in the chart above isn’t new for this year, it’s been a trend since before Hoff Sommers’ book. Yet the focus is still on girls.

[…]More girls than boys are attending college and getting master’s and doctoral degrees.

The article notes that boys perform better on math SATs, which makes you wonder why they have lower GPAs. Most teachers and administrators in traditional schools are women. When those women administrators and teachers attend college, they learn that women have been held back by men and discriminated against. Then they get jobs in the education system teaching boys and girls. Could it be that when a teacher grades a boy, she grades a boy lower than a standardized test would? As a way of “making up” for the supposed discrimination against women?

Has anyone ever studied this to see if there is discrimination against boys in the schools?

The study is here (PDF), and Susan Walsh writes about the study on her blog.

Excerpt:

A new study of nearly 6,000 elementary school children has found that boys are discriminated against beginning in kindergarten. Christopher Cornwell, an economics professor at the University of Georgia, says that ”gender disparities in teacher grades start early and uniformly favor girls.”

Despite having higher scores on standardized tests, boys get lower grades than girls. Why? Because teachers are basing grades at least partly on classroom behavior, and the standards are very much geared to female norms.

[…]Here’s what the disparity looks like for kindergarten boys:

Std. Deviation Test Scores Grades
Reading -.017 -.27
Math +.02 -.15
Science +.035 -.14

(Note: Values are approx., gauged visually from study graphic.)

Another interesting finding was that boys who adhere to female norms on non-cognitive skills were not penalized. Effectively, the more female behavior was rewarded with a grade “bonus” for males.

The implications of this are obvious. Masculinity, even normal maleness, is being punished in schools from a very young age. Only the most female-acting boys are rewarded with a fair assessment.

What the study shows is that administrators and teachers don’t grade like standardized tests – they have other criteria that discriminate in favor of girls and against boys. And now we are seeing the effects of this attack on boys in college admissions and graduation rates – not to mention affirmative action for women employees in the workplace.

You can find out more about the war against boys in Christina Hoff Sommers’ book “The War Against Boys”. If you send your boy(s) to government-run schools, this is a must-read. Sommers is a Democrat, and a traditional equity feminism but unlike most school administrators and teachers, she does not believe that it is OK to discriminate against boys to keep them down.

Black education leaders fight NAACP for access to charter schools

Cato Institute graphs education spending against test scores
Cato Institute graphs education spending against test scores

This story is from the Daily Signal, by Kelsey Harkness.

Excerpt:

A group of 160 black education and community leaders from across the country are pushing back against an attempt by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People to halt all future charter school growth.

The coalition, organized by the Black Alliance for Educational Options and the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, sent a letter to NAACP board members on behalf of “700,000 black families choosing to send their children to charter public schools, and the tens of thousands more who are still on waiting lists.”

The letter came in response to a resolution drafted by the NAACP that calls for a “moratorium on the proliferation of privately managed charter schools,” arguing that charter schools have “weak oversight” and put schools in low-income communities “at great risk.”

Charter schools typically perform much better than public schools, because they have more autonomy from the unions.

Kelsey explains:

Charter schools are publicly funded schools that are required to follow state standards such as Common Core. They do not charge tuition but instead of being run by the government, charter schools are operated by private nonprofit or for-profit organizations.

Typically, local and state school boards are in charge of granting private or nonprofit organizations the ability to launch a new charter school. If charter schools do not meet strict achievement standards, the organization’s charter is revoked and given to a new organization to operate.

In exchange for that responsibility, charter schools generally have more autonomy over their daily operations, including hiring, firing, budgeting, and instruction decisions.

[…]The coalition also cited a study by the Center for Research on Education Outcomes at Stanford University:

According to the most thorough and respected study of charter school results, conducted by the Center for Research on Education Outcomes at Stanford University, black students learn more when they attend charter schools. Black students in charter schools gained the equivalent of 14 extra days of learning in reading and 14 extra days of learning in math per year compared with their black peers in traditional district schools. For low-income black students attending charter schools, the learning gains were even more dramatic—the equivalent of 29 extra learning days in reading and 36 extra learning days in math.

Why would anyone be against giving poor black children a good education? One thing is for sure: it’s always the Republicans and conservatives who are pushing for more school choice, and more accountability from schools to parents. It’s always the Democrats who want to shut down competition and force kids into failing public schools. Who are the real racists trying to keep blacks down? It’s not conservatives.

Why are boys struggling to succeed in school and to find jobs?

Although you might think that there are no reasons for boys underperforming in school and work, a little research shows that this is not the case.

The first reason boys are struggling is because of no-fault divorce. No-fault divorce allows either person in the marriage to end the marriage for any reason or for no reason at all. It was passed because radical feminists and trial lawyers pushed for it. Each special interest group stands to benefit from it in different ways. Feminists oppose the complementary nature of marriage, and trial lawyers just want to drain as much money as they can out of disintegrating families.

70% of divorces are initiated by women, and this is because women tend to emphasize their own subjective feelings of happiness over the objective commitment they make at the wedding. Women today are influenced by feminism to care more about their happiness than they do about loving and serving others, especially husbands and children. This is especially true of the ones who lack trustworthy male influences. The most unstable relationships are lesbian relationships, because there you have two happiness-seekers and no promise-keepers.

In addition, feminism causes women to lose the ability to evaluate men according to traditional male roles, making them vulnerable to predators who do not have the ability to commit to them self-sacrificially. Do you ever wonder why you see single mothers living with atheist men who deliver pizzas and playing video games at age 30? Why is that? Because feminism taught her that men are not better when they are chaste providers and protective mentors. According to feminism, men have no special role as protector, provider and moral/spiritual leader.  Many just pick the best-looking, most entertaining, least demanding, easiest to control man they can find. Someone who doesn’t lead her to behave morally, control her emotions, and put the needs of others above her own desires.

So what happens to boys when marriages can be dissolved so easily?

This article from the Centre for Economic Policy Research explains:

To assess the long-run effect of divorce, we analyse children’s human capital and demographic outcomes. First, we examine college attendance. In Austria, college attendance implies that this person graduated from a higher secondary school. Second, we check the labour market status (employed; unemployed; out-of-labour force) up to the age of 25 years. Third, we examine children’s own family formation behaviour (i.e. fertility and marriage). Finally, we investigate the probability of early mortality (below 25 years of age). Our results show that parental divorce – due to a high level of sexual integration in fathers’ workplaces — has a negative effect on children’s long-term outcomes. Our main findings for human capital outcomes are summarised in Figure 1…

Here’s Figure 1:

Figure 1
Figure 1 (click for larger image)

And Figure 3:  The effect of parental divorce on employment over time.

Figure 3
Figure 3

If you want boys to transition into marriage-minded men, you need to fight against no-fault divorce.

The War Against Boys

The other problem affected boys is also rooted in feminism. Feminism is deeply suspicious of male teachers and male administrators in the schools. As a result, schools tend to be dominated by female teachers and female administrators. Many of these women are feminists, and they seek to change the nature of education from something that is fair to boys and girls, to something that punishes boys and gives the advantage to girls. In addition, feminists in the education industry tend to oppose allowing boys to attend all-male schools, where boys perform at much higher levels.

This article in the left-leaning The Atlantic explains how the school system punishes boys and favors girls – from kindergarten to the workplace, where women receive affirmative action preferences.

Excerpt:

American boys across the ability spectrum are struggling in the nation’s schools, with teachers and administrators failing to engage their specific interests and needs. This neglect has ominous implications not only for the boy’s social and intellectual development but for the national economy, as policy analysts are just beginning to calculate.

[…]Women in the United States now earn 62 percent of associate’s degrees, 57 percent of bachelor’s degrees, 60 percent of master’s degrees, and 52 percent of doctorates.

Boys in all ethnic groups and social classes are far less likely than their sisters to feel connected to school, to earn good grades, or to have high academic aspirations. A recent working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research documents a remarkable trend among high-achieving students: In the 1980s, nearly the same number of top male and female high school students said they planned to pursue a postgraduate degree (13 percent of boys and 15 percent of girls). By the 2000s, 27 percent of girls expressed that ambition, compared with 16 percent of boys. During the same period, the gap between girls and boys earning mostly A’s nearly doubled—from three to five percentage points.

This gap in education engagement has dire economic consequences for boys. A 2011 Brookings Institution report quantifies the economic decline of the median male: For men ages 25 to 64 with no high school diploma, median annual earnings have declined 66 percent since 1969; for men with only a high school diploma, wages declined by 47 percent. Millions of male workers, say the Brookings authors, have been “unhitched from the engine of growth.”  The College Board delivered this disturbing message in a 2011 report about Hispanic and African-American boys and young adults: “Nearly half of young men of color age 15 to 24 who graduate from high school will end up unemployed, incarcerated or dead.” Working-class white boys are faring only slightly better. When economist Andrew Sum and his colleagues at the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University examined gender disparities in the Boston Public Schools, they found that for the class of 2007, among blacks and Hispanics, there were 186 females for every 100 males attending a four-year college or university. For white students: 153 females to every 100 males.

Note that radical feminists and socialists oppose solving this problem:

In the U.S., a powerful network of women’s groups works ceaselessly to protect and promote what it sees as female interest. But there is no counterpart working for boys—they are on their own.

[…]The reluctance to face up to the boy gap is evident at every level of government. In Washington, President Obama established a White House Council on Women and Girls shortly after taking office in 2009, declaring: “When our daughters don’t have the same education and career opportunities as our sons, that affects…our economy and our future as a nation.” On the other hand, the proposal for a Council for Boys and Men from a bi-partisan group of academics and political leaders has now been languishing in Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s office for two years.

Similarly, in Maine, the Portland Press Herald ran an alarming story about the educational deficits of boys—reporting that high school girls outnumber boys by almost a 2-1 ratio in top-10 senior rankings, that men earn about 38 percent of the bachelor’s degrees awarded by Maine’s public universities, and that boys both rich and poor had fallen seriously behind their sisters. But the director of Women’s Studies at the University of Southern Maine, Susan Feiner, expressed frustration over the sudden concern for boys. “It is kind of ironic that a couple of years into a disparity between male and female attendance in college it becomes ‘Oh my God, we really need to look at this. The world is going to end.’”

The rest of the Atlantic article explains how to solve this problem. And the proven solutions clearly show that the problem is not with boys, it’s with an education system that discriminates against boys, making it harder for them to learn the skills they need to find work.

So, the tendency of young men to stay home and play video games comes from discrimination against men in the education system, and no-fault divorce laws that allow spouses (mostly women) to divorce easily. It is women who need to do a better job of “womaning up” to attack no-fault divorce and discrimination against boys in school. But pro-male voices among women are few and far between. Women tend to go along with what makes them look good to others in the culture, and what gives them the most autonomy to pursue happiness (unless they are balanced out by strong men who lead them), and that means the most women tend to just ignore the root causes of male decline.  When I see single women overwhelmingly supporting the anti-male Democrat party, it just tells me that they are not serious about marriage. Whether they intend to or not, they are killing marriage with their political support for misandry.

It would be nice if we got some leadership from pastors in the churches on this issue. It would be if nice the pastors could challenge women to think about how their voting and advocacy of certain policies affect boys. Basically, if pastors could get women to think “and then what happens” to boys who experience no-fault divorce and anti-male schools. But most pastors are like women, and they put more emphasis on being liked based on what is valued in the secular culture. It’s easier for them to remain ignorant and bash men than to pick up a book on education or divorce and read it. If we have a crisis of masculinity, it began in the church, from the “men” behind the pulpit. They need to man up and challenge the feminism that is killing marriage.

Boys are falling further and further behind girls in UK public schools

Boys are enrolling in university at a much lower rate than girls
Boys are enrolling in university at a much lower rate than girls

This story is from the UK Telegraph.

Excerpt:

Each time UCAS releases statistics on equality of access to university in the UK, the gap between the entry rates for girls and boys gets a bit worse.

Just before Christmas, our 2015 End of Cycle Report revealed that young women in the UK are now 35pc more likely to go to university than young men, and 52pc more likely when both sexes are from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Today we publish data on the sex balance in specific degree courses, which shows that there are more women than men accepted to most subject areas.

This highly entrenched trend is not just a reflection of the preferences of young men and women when it comes to making decisions about their lives after school or college.  It is a direct consequence of years of lower educational achievement by boys, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, throughout primary and secondary education.

At the end of primary education (age 11), only 22pc of boys achieve Level 5 or better in reading, writing and maths compared to 27pc of girls.

By the age of 16, girls are over 20pc more likely to achieve five GCSEsincluding English and Maths at Grade C or better.

By age 18, only 47pc of students studying for pre-university level qualifications are boys. 30,000 more girls than boys are studying for A levels or other academic qualifications which best support progression to higher tariff universities. Some 5,000 more boys than girls are doing vocational qualifications, but girls are outperforming boys in both academic and vocational qualifications at this level.  The only exception seems to be that slightly more of the boys who are doing A levels get the very highest A* grades, and they still do rather better at maths than girls.

Degrees supporting traditionally male-dominated professions such as medicine, law and dentistry now all recruit more female students than male.  And move over James Herriot – 80pc of students accepted to veterinary medicine last year were female.

The UCAS figures today also show that there are more women than men across a range of subjects including, pathology and anatomy, biology, genetics, nursing, social work, and English. Two years ago women overtook men in Philosophy, and the same happened with history subjects in 2011. Given that there are more men than women in the population, to achieve equality, there would need to be around 5pc more men than women across the board.

Why is this happening? Well the author of the piece nails the cause of the problem:

So what is going wrong?  Does lower achievement for boys have anything to do with the 80pc female dominated state schools’ workforce, which includes 85pc female teachers in primary schools and 62pc in secondary?  Would boys respond and learn better with more male teachers and role models? 

[…]What about the curriculum and qualifications?  In all the heated debates about the primary curriculum, I don’t recall hearing anything about the different impacts on teaching and learning for girls and boys.  

If we were serious about fixing this, we would hire more male teachers and administrators in the schools. Boys do better studying material that is boy-friendly, and when the material is taught by male teachers. Boys tend to underperform in mixed-gender classrooms, too. But there is no effort in the schools to fix that, because men can never be victims – only women. No one in the education system wants to fix problems for boys. No one wants to speak up for boys for fear of being perceived as insufficiently feminist.

Are the UK schools doing anything to address these problems?

Of course not:

[…][A]lthough most schools will track the achievement of their boys and girls, there seems to be little focus on the gender gap in education policy.  A recent FOI request by the men’s human rights group, MRA-UK, asked the Department for Education if it recognized boys’ underachievement, what initiatives are in place, and how much is budgeted for them in 2015/16.  The response in July 2015 was “The Department does not fund any initiatives that just focus on addressing boys’ underachievement”.

My advice to young men is to hit the math and STEM hard, and understand that the odds are stacked against you. You have to take your education seriously, because if you don’t no one else will. You have to take your career seriously, because if you don’t no one else will. The system isn’t there to help boys. You’ll have to make your own way on your own strength, and the system is there to fight you all the way.