Sunday night live

Posted: April 14, 2008 in Uncategorized

While chatting with our neighbors last night over at their house, the Ms. pulled out a letter from their school informing them that starting next year parents were going to have to pay a separate fee (there’s that word again) to ride the school bus. The price structure went as follows:

1st child: $360

2nd child: $300

3rd child: $240

They have 3 children.

We pay about $12k in property taxes per year.

I just found the article in our local newspaper. You can read all about it here.

If they are really serious about enforcing this foolishness, it will have an adverse effect because more parents will simply choose to take their own kids to school creating more road traffic in an already very congested area.

My bottom line is this: I just spent about 40 minutes or so reading the arguments of both sides on this issue where both of them are using data that only tells part of the story. What the parents know for certain is that $12k+ a year should be more than enough to cover a bus ride to school and back.

And finally this from the The Pacific Research Institute (PRI)

Calif. Report Card Shows Dismal Results

A February 15 report card from the Pacific Research Institute (PRI), a free-market think tank based in California, evaluated and graded 17 aspects of California’s K-12 education system, finding the state’s performance disastrously poor.

Among the factors evaluated are the state’s education accountability system, standards tests, graduation rates, coursework, and school finance system.

Although many people suspect the state’s public education system is not performing well, the reality is far worse than they imagine, according to the report. The state scored six Fs, five Ds, four Cs, one B, and just one A.

[…]

According to the report, increased funding has accompanied poor student performance:

* School Accountability System = F. It will take decades for many low-performing schools to raise performance to proficient levels on the state’s Academic Performance Index (API), and most low-performing schools are not subject to any accountability whatsoever.

* California Standards Test = F. Only about four in 10 students in grades two through 11 scored at or above the proficient level in English language arts and math in 2006.

* Finance System = F. Inflation-adjusted funding per pupil has increased 27 percent over the past decade, but too much money is being wasted on state programs that have yet to show success. Also, the state continues to create new education programs, most of which have no accountability mechanisms to prove their worth.

* Dropout and Graduation Rates = D-. About three in 10 California high school students entering ninth grade fail to graduate four years later, and more than four in 10 African-American and Hispanic students fail to graduate.

* Course Difficulty = D. Fewer students in California are taking difficult math and science courses compared to the national average and to other large states such as Texas. A large majority of students are not taking university preparatory courses.

* English Language Learners = D+. California has no methodologically sound way of comparing year-to-year student progress on the California English Language Development Test (CELDT), the state’s main instrument for determining the fluency of English Language Learners (ELLs). Also, because of perverse financial incentives, many school districts don’t reclassify ELLs as fluent when they meet CELDT proficiency standards. Significant numbers of ELL students are not reclassified for 10 years.

* Standards = A. California has one of the best sets of academic content standards in the nation. The problem is they are inconsistently implemented in the classroom. (more…)

Related:

State Report: African-Americans Lose Faith in Public Education

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Comments
  1. MIB says:

    Who is ‘we’?

  2. Duane says:

    Who is ‘we’?

    The people who live in our district which includes our neighbors and yours truly.

    Its funny you should ask this considering the fact you asked me to “enlighten US” in the last post.

    But I guess I am getting off topic.

  3. Wizz says:

    How do you propose the school district account for their rise in costs?.. A bake sale?.. Everyone who travels any amount of distance knows that with rising gas prices, and maintenance costs, the amount of money it takes to get around also rises. A LOT.. The difference between a fee and a tax in this case is that a fee only affects the person who uses the service. A tax would affect everybody in your neighborhood. So either your neighbor pays the $900 bucks or the neighborhood pays an extra .0001% (or whatever it actually is) increase in property tax… For some reason I get the feeling you would not be happy with a property tax increase either. Either way I can’t see how you can argue that costs are not rising. That same 12K from last year is not going to get you the same services this year. So pick your poison.

  4. Duane says:

    How do you propose the school district account for their rise in costs?.. A bake sale?

    Oh no, we have plenty of those along with all the other sale drives.

    The problem I have with this is that it is the result of very poor fiscal responsibility by the state. When the market was going well, property tax revenue was high and the school system got pretty much anything they requested from the state with no question. And what did they do with that money? They invested a good portion of it in administrative and other costs that do not directly affect the classroom. That “per-pupil” number I gave earlier does not give a true reflection of what actually gets to the classroom. That is not the taxpayer’s fault, that is an administrative error that parents are being asked to cover.

    The cost of living index does play a role as you indicated, but to make that the MAIN reason behind this decision is to assume that our state government is fiscally-responsible. But as PRI’s report concludes, this is far from the case.

  5. MIB says:

    I guess I have to break things down slowly.

    When you wrote, “We pay about $12K in property taxes per year”, were you speaking of your family, yours and your neighbor’s combined, an average per homeowner for the Corona district, or a cumulative sum?

  6. Duane says:

    Ooookay,

    I don’t see the reason why I would combine what I pay in property taxes with someone else in mentioning this issue.

    This is the average tax PER homeowner in our part of the district. We are probably in the mid-range for our area.

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