Back to School

All of the grandkids are back in school, and, from everything I know, they are getting good educations. That’s good news, but the same can’t be said for all students. Let’s first talk about the costs.Total expenditures for public and secondary schools in the U.S. were $620 billion in 2012-2013, or $12,296 per public school student. About 90% of that cost was for school operations, 8% was on expenditures for property and maintenance, and the remainder was on school debt interest. The staggering fact is that the average school operation cost per student for twelve years of primary through secondary education is over $130,000. I’m guessing the only reason we don’t often hear about this is that the students don’t have to incur student debt to pay for it. The money is wrung out of taxpayers and the costs become invisible.

Are students becoming educated? I suppose the answer could be, “sometimes.” Almost two thirds of high school graduates in Colorado in 2014-2015 were judged to be academically ready to succeed in college level curriculum. Of course that’s one way of glossing over the fact that 35.4% would require remedial education before they could attend actual college classes. In case you’re counting, that’s an increase of a bit more than one percent compared to the previous year. I don’t recall any measure of education that indicates improvement. I do recall year after year of campaigns asking for more money to be spent. The campaigns often result in approval of increases in spending, but seldom show improvements in student performance. I wonder when we’re going to stop putting up with this?

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