"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

The 65% Solution: First Class Fakery

The New York Times has a nice piece on the 2006 divide-and-conquer strategy being pumped by the education privatizers. What they planned as their signature feint of the year appears exposed as the fraud that it is. Here a a couple of clips:
"This is an absolutely phony sound bite," said Anne L. Bryant, executive director of the National School Boards Association. "Schools have such a variety of needs, and they have very, very different spending habits. And there is no evidence that spending 65 percent of your budget on classroom spending will produce higher academic achievement."
. . . .

Several independent experts said there was little evidence that increasing the proportion of money spent on classroom activities improved student achievement. Standard & Poor's, the bond rating agency, said in a recent report: "Student performance does not noticeably or consistently increase at 65 percent or any other percentage spent on instruction."

James W. Guthrie, a professor of public policy and education at Vanderbilt University, dismissed the proposal as "hocus-pocus."

"This is well intended, but misguided," said Dr. Guthrie, who is president of the American Education Finance Association. "Actually, it would be harmful, because it would add to the overlay of regulatory apparatus with which districts have to comply. Why do we want to restrict what school people spend?"

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