Mentioned in my last post that I had read this book. I have now put together my thoughts from his thoughts over at my book site. You can read it here. And expect some blogging at this site on the ideas mentioned therein.
I posted awhile back on my own mental math regarding public expenditures on education. It got a little discussion on Facebook when a friend posted it there. I have recently read Salman Khan’s new book (of Khan Academy fame) on education and he makes a very similar point, but with perhaps more specifics to it. I will post a whole group of posts about this book soon; this is just a teaser. I just don’t understand how so much “investment” can result in so poor a performance. Were it a private business, its doors would be closed.
“At roughly $10,000 per student per year, the average American school is spending $250,000-$300,000 per classroom of twenty-five to thirty students. Where is that money going? Arguably, most of it should be going to teachers; but that isn’t how it works. Teachers’ salaries are a relatively small part of the expenditure. If we generously put a teacher’s salary and benefits at $100,000 per year – teachers in most of the country make far less – and the cost of maintaining a 1,000-square-foot classroom at $30,000 per year (a figure comparable to leasing high-end office space), we still have $120,000-$170,000 for each classroom to be spent on “other stuff.” This other stuff includes things like well-paid administrators, security, guards, and well-manicured football fields – none of which have a direct role in students’ learning.” (p. 120)