Saturday, January 14, 2006

Pushing The 65% Plan

The governor of Missouri is planning to submit to the voters of that state a plan mandating that 65% of every education dollar be spent in the classroom:

Blunt has asked Missouri lawmakers to send a measure to voters that, if approved, would require school districts to spend at least 65 percent of their budgets on “classroom instruction.” By the governor’s definition, that includes teacher salaries, textbooks, supplies, music and athletics but not principals, other administrators, school counselors, librarians, transportation, food or utilities.

Missouri’s average is 61 percent, so reaching 65 percent is a reasonable goal, says Blunt, a Republican.

Blunt isn’t alone. The proposal is being pushed in other states as a way to reduce bureaucracy while shuffling more money to education without tax increases.

“The voters love it,” said Tim Mooney, a Republican political consultant and architect of the proposal. “There is not a demographic subset in America where this doesn’t poll at least 3-1 (in favor).”

As one might expect, the governor's plan isn't favored by many in the Education Community.

One of the weaknesses that I see with the plan is that it does not take into account schools' need to retain essential staff such as nurses and counselors.

On the other hand, most would agree that the U.S. public education system is burdened by hordes of often redundant bureaucracies, each of which is very jealous of its "turf," and many of which don't seem to do whole lot to support students or teachers but do spend much of their time at conventions, workshops, conferences and other out-of-town travel.

My guess is that if the plan goes through, it will be those who actually do work with the students, (such as counselors and nurses) who'll lose their jobs, not the educrats who work in the offices.

The gravy train that is the educracy in many (but certainly not all) of this country's school districts will continue to whistle merrily down the tracks while the kids will likely (once again) be left standing on the platform in the station.
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