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Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Kudo's To Cohen

Kudo's go out today to Richard Cohen of the Washington Post, for his column "A Local Lesson That Democrats Fail".

His column concerns the debate the Democrats held in Washington DC last week, and their concern for education. Specifically he jabbed John Edwards for his comments on two school systems; one for the rich and one for the poor; reminding him that DC spends over $13,000 per year per student, who are largely poor.

For the third highest amount of money spent per student, one would think you'd get performance, since the vast majority of Democrats claim that more money is the solution. The problem is for that 13 grand a child you get one of the lowest performing school systems in the country, which leads the country only in administrative costs.

Cohen lays the blame for the "more money" mentality squarely where it belongs:
The litany of more and more when it comes to money often has little to do with what, in the military, are called facts on the ground: kids and parents. It does have a lot to do with teachers unions, which are strong supporters of the Democratic Party.

He even praises Barack Obama for vocalizing the fact, that too many who want more money ignore, parental involvement is as important as more money in getting students to achieve. I'll give Obama kudo's on that one too, it's something I've been screaming since I was a PTA President a dozen years ago; to the six parents who would show up for the meetings.

Our local high school system is a prime example, with an average teacher salary of about $65,000 and with nearly three times as many people in the school making over $90k per year as under $40K we should probably have some pretty good results. Instead, we have a school where students are generally in the bottom quartile of all test scorers in the state, and has been on the State "schools for improvement list" for the last 3 years.

Cohen lays it out correctly in his last paragrah:
Insofar as the Democratic presidential candidates talked about public school education and insofar as they mentioned the Supreme Court decision, they
largely mouthed Democratic orthodoxy. It must have sounded reassuring to
big-city education unions and politicians with a gift for exacerbating racial paranoia. But to the kid in the classroom, to a parent bucking the bureaucracy,
the rhetoric must have sounded as unreal as the hot air that comes from Baghdad's Green Zone -- a "surge" of money instead of men or, as we used to say,
throwing good money after bad.

The question is will any of the Democrats who read his column actually get it, and make a play for real education reform, or will they continue to do whatever the NEA tells them is the right thing to keep the money flowing? As he points out, more money hasn't fixed the DC schools, maybe a different idea is in order.

(If you live in Illinois the Champion Foundation and Chicago Sun Times make it easy to figure out what you are spending on education, and what you are getting)

Techorati Tags: Richard Cohen, Schools, Democrats, Education Reform, NEA, PTA, Zion Benton


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