The DeHavilland Blog

Friday, August 22, 2008

A different world

Over the past forty years, we've seen a tremendous increase in school funding. According to the USDE, the growth in per-pupil spending, in real dollars, increased from $3400 in 1965 to $8997 in 2002:

The latest figures (not adjusted to 2002 real dollars like the numbers above): median per-pupil spending of $10,173 in FY2006.

I've shown the chart before, but it's worth re-posting to make the point that in all likelihood, the days of large annual increases in per-pupil funding have come to and end. We've all seen what's happening to school funding in the short term due to lower tax revenues (particularly property taxes) and higher costs for fuel, food, and healthcare.

And we all know what's coming down the pike in terms of medicare and social security obligations:

Given that, it continues to surprise me that those in the education industry haven't been more vocal about community/school partnerships. There's certainly been a great cry for increased funding, and the folks in the education foundation world have been asked to greatly increase their efforts. But where's the cry for a collaborative approach to tackling the problem? There's a great opportunity for relieving the resource pressures placed on schools, and great potential for improved outcomes.

So when do we admit we're in a different world and respond accordingly?


  • Thank you for raising the issue about community/school partnerships. I am struggling right now with our city's school district believing it has the power to do unwarranted random student searches. I asked the person in charge of discipline in the school what is being done to involve the community. His says nothing continues once it starts. Yet the challenges for the schools are community issues and disbutes have moved into the schools -- look at the senseless killing in Knoxville.

    The other concern I have is the parents are extremely apathetic and seeing nothing wrong with unwarranted searches, locker searches by drug sniffing dogs, metal detectors or what ever. Geez...I guess public education has truly done its job -- making non thinking people out of its graduates and students -- can anyone say sheeple?

    On funding -- I still believe there is waste in the system. Fix that, fix the discipline, stop following the last unsuccessful fad, teach the kids well and then the money will come -- they just won't need as much.

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