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Robert Rogers @choirdoc
, 13 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
“We just keep throwing more and more money at our public schools, and it doesn’t do any good.” I often hear folks expressing this sentiment, and it makes me wonder – how do we know how much it should cost to educate a child? #txed
I’m an early childhood literacy advocate in Texas. Our per-student funding for public school students is about $10,000 per year. New York invests the most in their students, over $20,000/yr, and there are a handful of states lower than Texas.…
If you read the article linked in the previous tweet, you saw that students in states with more generous education funding achieve better results. So, is $20,000 per year outlandish, or could that actually be how much it costs to provide an adequate education?
Since we have a free market of private schools in Texas, we have some evidence available regarding how much it costs to properly educate students, determined by the forces of capitalism (competition and choice).
The Southwestern Preparatory Conference (SPC) is a group of high-quality private schools scattered through Texas and Oklahoma. Virtually 100% their graduates are “college and career ready” – the outcome we want for all students.
“Kindergarten readiness” is known to be one of the most important predictors of ultimate success in school. Because the SPC schools are private and admission to them is prized, they can test prospective students, and only admit those who are ready.
Private schools are not required to take any students with special medical needs, or students who cannot speak English. Because tuition is high in these private schools, few of their students face the special challenges of living in poverty.
So, the SPC schools are tasked with educating the students whom one would expect to be the easiest (and least expensive) to educate: kinder-ready students from financially fortunate families with well-educated parents, who speak English, and have no special medical needs.
Despite these significant advantages, the current range of tuition costs at the schools in the SPC is $19,980-$28,975 per year (tuition amounts obtained from each school’s website).
So, $20K per student per year is not outlandish at all. In Texas, we are expecting our public schools to educate every student, many of whom have major obstacles, with 1/2 the resources the free market has determined is required to educate students who face no special challenges
I’m guessing we can’t make the jump from $10K to $20K overnight in Texas, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. If you have the chance, ask Ft. Worth ISD’s superintendent @KentPScribner how things would change if he had an extra $5K per student. I’d love to see his face.
dditionally, if you have a friend who leads a private school, ask what the budgetary impact would be if he or she were required to admit a student with special medical needs who requires a full time assistant. Also, ask about adding 10 students who can't speak English.
So, I will join those who say, “Money doesn’t matter”, once we actually double our school funding in Texas and yet fail to see improvement in student performance. Let’s do that experiment and watch what happens!
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