Increased spending, common good bargaining, community schools, and transitional kindergarten will not improve student learning.
The results of a Gallup poll released earlier this month show that just 28% of Americans have “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in K-12 public schools. The number for Republicans is particularly damning: Just 14% of GOPers view education in a positive light.
Confidence in higher education has also taken a hit, with just 36% of those polled saying they have “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in higher education, down from 48% in 2018 and 57% in 2015.
Additionally, there is little hope on the horizon that things will change for the better. This month, NWEA, a student assessment organization, released a new report which reveals that students progressed more slowly in reading and math during the 2022–23 school year than in pre-pandemic years. In other words, during the past school year, most students fell further behind.
The money-grubbing educrats and unionistas can’t blame lack of funding as an excuse. The feds have poured $190 billion into education to make amends for the Covid-related school shutdowns. But a 10-month examination by The 74 reveals that, while some school districts have used the monies properly, some haven’t used the money yet, while others have “pumped millions of dollars into classroom additions, upgrading athletic fields and other expenditures unrelated to the pandemic.”
Some districts invested funds in silly things like “fidget cubes” and aromatherapy supplies. Worse, many districts involved themselves in shady business deals. In San Joaquin County, CA, a state district attorney launched a criminal probe into the Stockton Unified School District for spending “roughly $7 million on ultraviolet air purifiers from a company linked to a former mayor with a history of legal trouble. A state audit pointed to the board’s decision to approve the contract even though district staff gave the proposal a low rating. Less than half of the 2,200 filters purchased were installed, and the rest are stored in a warehouse.”
And the situation is about to get worse. As Linda Jacobson reports in The 74, the funds are going to run out in about a year when the drunken sailor-type spending ends. Marguerite Roza, director of Georgetown University’s Edunomics Lab, explains, “Deficits will creep up quickly and really destabilize a district. In the end, the students will suffer if districts wait too long to rein in their spending.”
And the abuse of the taxpayer doesn’t stop there. At the end of 2022, the National Center of Educational Statistics released data which revealed that while student enrollment in public schools is down 2.6% from the 2018-2019 academic year, the teaching profession was up 1.1%.
Common Good Demands
If all this wasn’t bad enough, the teachers unions are making things even worse by stepping up their “common good” demands when negotiating with a school district. As a concept, “bargaining for the common good” was cooked up in 2014 by leaders from public sector unions and community organizations at a national conference held at Georgetown University. The meeting’s priorities included “using the bargaining process as a way to challenge the relationships between government and the private sector; working with community allies to create new, shared goals that help advance both worker and citizen power; and recognizing militancy and collective action will likely be necessary if workers and citizens are to reduce inequality and strengthen democracy.”